Narrative - Page Two
After breakfast, we had the opportunity to visit a local village,
where we observed the lifestyle of the Amazon
Riberenos.   
We shopped for some of the locally hand-made articles which
the vendors lay out on blankets on the ground.  The money
they derive from this source aids them in the purchase of the
needed staples which they cannot grow or produce themselves.  
We returned at midday to
La Esmeralda for lunch and a
welcome rest.  In the afternoon we arrived at the Rio
Yanayacu.  This river's name literally means "black water" and
that is a perfect description.  The change from the placid Rio
Pucate was surprising.  The Yanayacu flows swiftly, with many
sharp bends and with higher banks.  The wildlife continued to
be abundant.
It was not unusual to see whole troops of Squirrel Monkeys or
Saddle-Backed Tamarins scampering through the trees along
the water's edge.  Our sharp-eyed guides spotted difficult-to-see
animals such as the Three-Toed Sloth and many of the more
elusive jungle birds as we floated quietly along the river.  We
saw many Blue-and-Yellow Macaws as they swarmed and
screeched overhead.  There were the unusual Sun Grebes
swimming around in sheltered coves, and we could see some
King Vultures soaring high in the sky.  That evening, as we
were returning to the ship, our small-boat foray took us to a
blackwater lake, which provided us with great opportunities to
observe the endangered Pink Amazon River Dolphins.  As we
were literally surrounded by these dolphins, the birds also put
on a show as flocks of parrots and herons returned to their
nightly roosts.  We were back aboard the ship for dinner and,
later, there was a nocturnal outing to look for such
darkness-loving animals as the Caiman and the Capybara
.
Day Five - Wednesday, March 29
During the night, our river craft moved up the Rio Maranon to
a location just above the town of San Regis.  It was
immediately evident that there was a major change in the
habitat.  Here, high bluffs lined the river and the forest was
much taller.  We had entered a region characterized by
terra
firma
, that is -- land high enough above the river to escape
inundation even at the highest water levels.  Our day there was
spent walking in primeval rainforest.  We were in the midst of
classic "Amazon Jungle," with a multi-layered canopy, giant
trees, massive lianas and lush epiphytes.  Our guides pointed
out characteristic plants, like strangler figs, heliconia,
bromeliads and orchids.  We also enjoyed seeing the large
variety of small animals of the forest not visible from passing
boats; clear-winged butterflies, leaf-cutter ants, poison-dart
frogs and a great many more.  Additionally, we saw great
flocks of the truly incredible birds of that great forest;
manakins, antbirds, woodcreepers and flycatchers.  We were
told that the most diverse bird fauna in the world is found in
this type of tropical rainforest, and it was certainly easy to see
that.  In the afternoon, we set out for the Pacaya-Samiria
National Reserve.  Our late-afternoon excursion to the Reserve
provided a fitting climax to a most interesting and most
enjoyable day.
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