Looking for Lily Pads in the Amazon

Cruising on the skiffs in the Amazon. Photo by Ricardo.

This morning as we took our morning ride along the Amazon, I shot a lot of videos. We saw so many of the beautiful white birds in flight. The color contrast of the white birds against the green foliage and black water was striking. Sometimes we were slow as we enjoyed the images of the shoreline reflected in the glass-like water, and other times if felt like our skiffs were racing along the river.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Birds in flight over the Amazon River
Photo ©Jean Janssen. Our tour director Carlos bought a fish from a local fisherman who was out in his canoe that morning.
Photo by Ricardo.

Our tour director Carlos (not to be confused with our bartender Carlos) was riding in our skiff today. We stopped a local fisherman to see what he had caught this morning and Carlos bought a rather remarkable fish that he intended to take to the chef. Then it was back to our primary mission of finding the lily pads. They are disappearing in the Amazon

Photo ©Jean Janssen. One of our skiffs made a stop at the Ranger Station to let them know we were in this area of the reserve.
Photo ©Jean Janssen. Huge water lilies in the Amazon Rainforest.

Like the other life along the Amazon, the lily pads play an important role. “The Amazon Rainforest is most famed for its exceptional biodiversity, with over half of the world’s estimated ten million animal, plant and insect species calling it home. The rainforest is also the largest pair of lungs on the planet and provides approximately 20% of the world’s oxygen.” Rainforest cruises.com

Photo ©Jean Janssen. The underside of a Amazon water lily.

The lily pad can grow to up to 8-10 feet in diameter, depending on the variety, and can be incredibly strong (holding up to 65 lbs.). They have a lip around the edge creating a bowl like effect to protect things from falling off the edge. Perhaps even more interesting that the surface of the lily pad, is the underside where the defensive mechanisms protect it from fish that want to eat it. There are also stalks that extend deep into the water.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. It might look wide, but the uneven board over the anaconda was a little treacherous
Photo ©Jean Janssen. Bridge to the toilet. A western style toilet is a rather find in the Amazon Rainforest.

We are going to be out quite a while this morning, so we made a stop at an outpost with a western style toilet not usually found in the rainforest. It didn’t actually flush; you poured water into from the barrel next to it. Unfortunately to reach the toilet, you had to cross a narrow plank and go out across a bridge.

Billy and Julio rescued an anaconda caught in fishing line. You can see the gashes where the line cut into the snake. Photo by Ricardo.
Photo ©Jean Janssen. They released the anaconda back into the river.

While we were at the stop, the workers told our naturalists about an anaconda that was tangled in fishing line behind the structure. Julio and Billy went to check it out. The snake had deep gashes in it, cut by the fishing line. Our heroes got it free from the line and released it back into the water while we watched. Both said that the injury was not too bad and that the anaconda would recover.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Making ceviche on the skiff.
Ready for lunch on the Amazon. Photo by Ricardo

Making a turn onto another tributary, we spotted our chef. Our boats were then tied together for lunch on the river. We started with the chef making fresh ceviche with the fish that Carlos had bought that morning. It was followed by drinks and lunch wrapped in a palm leaf.

Photo by Ricardo
Photo ©Jean Janssen. Lunch on the Amazon River
Photo ©Jean Janssen. Lunch on the Amazon River with the local beer.

We had a full afternoon on the river. We found more monkeys at play to enjoy, rode down the river as beautiful birds flew overhead, saw lizards and new interesting foliage, and just enjoyed the serenity of the Amazon Rainforest.

Photo by Ricardo
Photo by Ricardo
Photo by Ricardo

We got back to the ship late afternoon and took a break before our evening celebration. We only have one full day left to explore the river. We had asked the cruise director earlier in the week when there was going to be dancing and tonight she delivered. After our evening lecture, we all went out back on the third deck to the hot tub lounge area where there was a food and beverage setup.

Photo ©Jean Janssen Party set up at the hot tub lounge on the Amazon Aria.

Our cabin stewards performed on traditional instruments including the pan flutes I associate with Peru. Ricardo joined along on the box drum. The rest of our crew danced behind the buffet table. They used to hire experienced staff and then try to train them for entertainment. It is now done the other way around. In this case they hired fabulous musicians and taught them how to be cabin stewards. It showed; they were fabulous entertainers.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Music, drinks, food, and dancing at the hot tub lounge on the Amazon Aria.

Wendy swayed to the music, but I got a lot of the girls up and we made the most of the evening. We had a great dance party before going down to dinner. I sweated the entire time through dinner. Totally worth it.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Sunset on the Amazon

About travelbynatasha

I am a retired attorney who loves to travel. Several years ago I began working on a Century Club membership achieved by traveling to 100 "foreign" countries. Today, at 49 years of age the count is at 82. Many were visited on land based trips. Some were cruise ports. Some were dive sites. Most have been fascinating.
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