The Amazon conjures up images of huge rivers, amazing rainforest, weird animals & brightly coloured birds, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

I have recently returned from a 7-night voyage along the Rio Negro which flows into the Amazon at Manaus, our starting point. Manaus is a big city in the heart of the forest and the port is a hubbub of boats all departing up different rivers and tributaries to various destinations. I travelled aboard the comfortable 18 passenger Tucano with a crew of 9 including 3 naturalist guides.

We spent our days exploring the biodiversity of various eco-systems within this region. In May the floodwaters are very high and the rivers are huge. Paddling amongst the tops of huge trees is a very bizarre feeling and an excellent way to get close to birdlife. Toucans, macaws & parrots screeched as they flew overhead, the vultures & caracaras simply looked down on us rather scornfully. During our voyage, we saw various species of monkey including the noisy Howlers who trumpet in the as the dawn chorus. By night the frogs were in full song as we paddled silently under the darkness of night with a single spotlight searching for caiman, boas and the rather lovely giant bamboo rat. During the afternoons we were generally repositioning for our next foray and frequently saw both Grey & Pink Dolphins surfacing and Sloths sitting motionlessly in their trees. In some places we stopped at tiny villages where the people live by subsistence fishing and farming of manioc their staple diet. This was a full-on up early in the morning and active trip with 4 canoe trips & walks most days to make the most of the 8 days we had.

It really is a jungle out there so get out and explore it……

Thanks for reading

Sue Grimwood, Russian Arctic

Author: Sue Grimwood