Celebrating the New Year with the Monkeys in Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve

by Captain Bill

Celebrating the New Year with the Monkeys in Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve

We were happy to be going back to Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve for the first time since 97,580 hectares in an area on both sides of the Tahuayo River was added to the reserve.

Imagine celebrating the New Year in the Amazon rainforest with the monkeys protected by Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve. We did not have fireworks or music, but our guests and crew shared a delicious meal and a champaign toast to our good fortune to be in this wonderful area.

Some of us drank wine, others beer; few of us lasted till the official beginning of the New Year, least of all me. We are Dawn on the Amazon, not Midnight on the Amazon.

However, after many other New Years are forgotten, we will remember the transition from 2007 to 2008 with pleasure. I think you would have enjoyed our New Year celebration. It was pleasantly unique.

Dawn on the Amazon, insideTamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve

We spent four days cruising inside the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve. Some of the highlights for me were;

  • Our new friends Gary and Jonathan, a father and son who wanted to, “Absorb as much of the Amazon Rainforest as possible…”
  • Lots of Pink Dolphins stayed close to our boat for a couple of hours with a few smaller Gray Dolphins jumping along with us.
  • A flock of over a hundred Sand-Colored Nighthawks flew off their day roost and circled around our boat.
  • We saw groups of Squirrel Monkeys and Saki Monkeys, but the best monkey sighting for me was a troup of Black-chested Mustached Tamarins.
  • Special bird sightings were a pair of White-tailed Trogons, a Plum-throated Cotinga, a flock of Scarlet Tanagers, a Greater Poto, pairs of Black-collared hawks with their immature offspring, Ladder-tailed Nightjars, and several White-eared Jacamars.
  • My crew saw a Common Mussurana of uncommon size. They are heavy bodied, powerful constrictor snakes. This one may have been seven feet long.

I believe Dawn on the Amazon III is the largest boat that can enter the Rio Blanco section of Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve and arrive at the remote village of San Pedro. We lowered our radio antenna and lightning rod to pass under the canopy.

Dawn on the Amazon in Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve

The observation deck became our own private canopy walkway. The rainforest brushed both sides and the top of the boat at the same time, making navigation very tricky because of the hairpin curves and logs sticking out of the river. Occasionally my crew had to machete our way through some obstacles.

We discovered it is not good to visit San Pedro on New Years Eve to observe how river people live in remote pueblos. San Pedro was nearly deserted. We found only four people left behind to guard the village while everyone else had been invited to celebrate the New Year several miles away at the village of Chino.

It gets dark fast here at 6:18 pm. We tied up in the evening around 6:15 to the sound of an eagle calling from a tree above our carved eagle figurehead on the bow of the boat. We could see the real eagle’s silhouette outlined from its perch with the lighter sky behind it. The eagle called a dozen times until it settled in with the last call of the night at 6:25. It fluffed its feathers a couple of times, and I imagine the eagle was content with a full belly. The monkeys are not protected from eagles.

The next morning the eagle first called out at 5:21. It called 10 times while it was still too dark to see more than the silhouette. The last eagle call was at 5:27 but I did not see it fly away.

At 5:48 I heard a bird of prey and at first thought the eagle had returned, but it was a much smaller silhouette and as it became light enough to use the binoculars we discovered a Slate-colored Hawk had taken the eagle’s place on a nearby branch.

At 6:18 a chorus of Duski Titi Monkeys chimed in with a ruckus in stereo from both sides of the boat, drowning out the songs of the early birds. They whooped and hollered for several minutes. Later we heard Pygmy Marmosets, the smallest monkeys in the world, but did not see the cute little rascals.

The most interesting animals in the jungle must be the humans. After we finished breakfast, an old man with two teeth paddled his canoe up to our boat in the middle of Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve. I saw he had a stick fishing pole and looked friendly so I asked, “Buenos Dias señor, mucho pescado?”

The old man smiled his two tooth smile and replied, “No, muchos limones.”

The old man was from the village of Diamante, several kilometers upstream from San Pedro. Somehow, by jungle gossip, he heard there was a tourist boat at San Pedro. He picked his lemons, 300 of them, and set out to catch the tourist boat.

Selling lemons to Dawn on the Amazon, Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve

The old man was disappointed not to find us at San Pedro but he kept paddling until he found us, two days after he left his home. We wondered how much farther he was willing to paddle to catch us. He wanted to sell his lemons for S/5 for one hundred. We already had a hundred lemons, but what are you going to do knowing how hard he paddled to get to us? We bought another 100 lemons. I had our cook fix the old man an egg sandwich. Marmelita gave him some cake, and found out his wife had a bad fever, so she sent some medicine. We took some photos, and when he paddled off everyone was happy.

With lunch we had a large pitcher of fresh squeezed, frosty, iced lemonade that tasted even better than usual to me. It would have tasted better than usual to you to.

Celebrating the New Year with the Monkeys in Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve

To learn how you can join Dawn on the Amazon for an expedition to Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve visit Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises.

Are you interested in learning more about Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve? Follow these links to read more…

Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, Iquitos Peru

In Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve With Friends

An Amazon Cruise to Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Gary Achenbach January 9, 2008 at 4:47 pm

My son, Jonathan, and I spent 4 days and 3 nights on “Dawn on the Amazon” with Bill, Marmeleta and the crew. We prefer smaller groups and doing our own thing over large-group scheduled tours; we certainly got all we hoped for.

They literally took us to the end of the line (i.e. river) to get up close to nature. Waking to the noise of birds and monkeys just outside the windows was a real treat. We saw more birds, animals and reptiles than I could count. The pink dolphins may be endangered, but we saw a lot of them on many occasions. Our beautiful photos capture part but not all of the experience.

Although we got to remote locations, I can’t say we were roughing it at all. The accommodations on the boat were very nice. The variety of local foods was outstanding. And the entire crew was most friendly and helpful. Celebrating New Year’s was special, even though I retired well before mid-night.

I can highly recommend working with Bill to put together your own Amazon adventure.

Gary Achenbach

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