Chasing pink dolphins and eating piranha

Swimming in the Amazon.

We swam with pink dolphins this morning. Well to be completely honest, that’s a bit like going to a concert and saying that you danced with the star: more accurately, we swam in the same place as pink dolphins, there wasn’t much Flipper-like interaction.

Motoring downriver we saw vultures, hawks and a range of butterflies. Already we’re becoming blasé about the more common birds and butterflies – there are just so many of them about. But there are still new things to see aplenty. We saw hawks close up and even catching prey; we saw bats asleep on tree trunks; a huge flock of storks; a woodpecker. And of course the dolphins.

The dolphins live in a deep pool frequented by lots of fish. Because the water is muddy-brown you can only see them when the come up for air – which means most of the photographs turned out mostly to be of  a hint of curved back or the ripples left behind. The boys and I went in for a swim with the dolphins – I must admit I was just about as thrilled to be able to say that I’d swum in the Amazon as to have been with the dolphins.

Making our way back up river, we came across some locals harvesting watermelons from a small farm. We pulled in and bought some. We ate the watermelon for lunch together with piranha caught by one of our fellow guests.

Soccer with the locals. Peru won.

In the afternoon we visited a local village. It was interesting to see how the people really live – a mixture of traditional and modern, but definitely weighted towards the traditional. The houses are largely open to the elements, built on stilts to get above the floods that raise the river level by 12m for four months of the year. There is an elementary school and high school in the village. The elementary school does not have so many kids at the higher levels because they still marry very young here and don’t go to school once they have kids of their own. There is a small clinic, but it is tiny, dilapidated and little used – in stark contrast to the huge house which serves as home and shop for the shaman and herb-woman.

Our game of soccer with the local kids had them winning by a country mile – but, hey, they had the home team advantage!

4 thoughts on “Chasing pink dolphins and eating piranha

    1. No. In fact Jennifer thought I should have titled the post swimming with pirhana. Turns out they are not as bad as their 1950s film reputation suggests – at least as long as you are not bleeding.

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