Imagine a boat full of tourist cruising up and down the Amazon River in the dark looking for snakes and caiman. It sounds like the plot of a bad horror movie doesn’t it? You know the one where the giant anaconda tips over the boat and eats all the tourists.
I can tell you that it was nothing like that. It was however one of my favorite experiences during a week long cruise on the Amazon River in Peru. During the week we spent a lot of time in small boats know as Skiffs looking for wildlife up and down the river. Only once did we do it at night so we could find the animals that were not active during the day.
The skiff ride this time took us about an hour away from our home ship up the Pacaya River, which is a tributary of the Amazon river. The destination for the ride was a large lake located on the river.
The ride to the lake was done at full speed and we did not spend much time looking for our usual photo prey; monkeys, birds and sloths. We did have one extended stop to check out some amazing giant lily pads. These lily pads were located in the middle of river plants and we had to pull the skiffs about 50 feet into the plants to see them. Our guides seemed to know exactly where to find them because there was no way we could spot them from the boat.
After the stop for the lily pads we headed towards the lake. Once at the lake we watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen while drinking ginger tea and eating snacks.
After the sunset it was time to search for some animals. We again pulled into some dense river plants and our guides instructed us to take out our flashlights and start looking for snakes, caiman and frogs. It did not take our guide long to spot the first small frog. The frog was only the beginning though.
The next thing you know our guide was hanging off the front of the boat trying to grab something in the water. He then stands up with a small caiman in his hand. I have no idea how he caught it but I was glad the mother was not around to see what was going on. The caiman was shown around the boat and the required photos were taken before it was placed back in the water.
The only other creature that was found was a small snake. Definitely not something that was going to attack the boat.
We were all satisfied with the animals that we had found and it was time to head back to the main ship. The ride back was in the dark with only moonlight and the occasional use of the spotlight to guide us. The guides really knew this river well to navigate us out of it at full speed in the dark. After about an hour we arrived back at the ship to find it was decorated in colorful lights for Christmas. We all enjoyed our Italian themed Christmas Eve dinner which include the piranha that we had caught that morning.
Would you like to take a boat ride at night on the Amazon River?