Into The Heart Of Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve

by Captain Bill

Into the heart of Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve with Dawn on the Amazon.

A guest post by Jim King

David King fishing in the Nanay River with Dawn on the Amazon I in the background

David King fishing in the Nanay River with Dawn on the Amazon I in the background

My goal for this trip was to take our nineteen year old son David out of his comfort zone, to see something different and to shake that teenager view that nothing in the world can be that important as to require a sense of urgency.  So we paid a reasonable sum to take a tour with “Dawn on the Amazon,” a tour guiding company with a boat based in Iquitos, Peru.  We were assured that we would see many interesting birds, monkeys and snakes in the jungle as we traveled up the Nanay River into the heart of the Allpahuayo Mishana Reserve.  I assumed that with the amount of binoculars along the handrails that the things we would see wanted to keep their distance from humans.  I also noticed two live chickens in a cage at the back of the boat near the motor that I suspected would be prepared for one of our dinners by Filamena our cook.

Jim King, waking up on Dawn on the Amazon 1

Jim King, waking up on Dawn on the Amazon 1

I woke up at 5:30AM after our first night sleeping on the boat and glanced up at Edson’s hammock and saw that he was still asleep.  Not wanting to wake the boat captain and start the day off on the wrong foot, I thought I would just get up quietly and enjoy the sounds of the early morning birds and monkeys.  I looked over to where the binoculars were, next to the First-Aid box and then I saw it.  It was huge!  The main part of the body was supported by the top of the First-Aid box.  From about 8 feet away the head looked to be about the size of a tennis ball.  In a voice a little louder than a whisper I said, “David, there is a snake on the boat, get up, get your camera.”  I told David later that I had never in my life seen him get awake and be upright at my instructions before so rapidly.  He said it was the sense of urgency in my voice that did it.  Soon, Joan, my wife was up too and we began discussing with Richard, our guide what our next moves should be.  The snake was about 8 foot long and we soon learned that it was an Amazon Bushmaster, not a friendly snake and it looked like it was quite content using the side of our boat to plan its next move.  There were various discussions that ensued and it took quite some time to translate from English to Spanish and back again as to how we were going to get this jungle creature off the boat.  Throwing water at it, dangling a live chicken on a string in front of it were all turned down.  It was decided that it would be best if we all vacate the boat and leave the snake on it.  We would get into the canoes we were towing alongside and paddle out into the river a safe distance from the “Dawn on the Amazon” while Fidencio, our local guide from Mishanna would deal with the snake.

Amazon Bushmaster on board Dawn on the Amazon 1

Amazon Bushmaster on board Dawn on the Amazon 1

This is great I thought.  How is it that we live on a boat to go into the jungle to look at snakes and then one of the most dangerous snakes comes into our boat and now here we are on canoes wondering how this is all going to end.  From our vantage point in the river it looked like this snake was not interested in leaving our boat.  Why should it?  It had a dry place to rest and sun itself and two live chickens nearby.

David King, "out of his comfort zone", sharing a liana vine with a hairy tarantala and spiders, suspended above the flooded jungle

David King, "out of his comfort zone", sharing a liana vine with a hairy tarantala and spiders, suspended above the flooded jungle

When Fidencio pulled out a long stick with three sharp prongs on it and Filomena started making a lasso out of piece of rope David said, “I feel bad for the snake because this doesn’t look like it will end well for him.” After one quick thrust at the neck and a quick lasso the snake was bleeding and writhing in the water beside the boat and we were told it was safe to get back in it.  We were told later at Fidencio’s village that if we would have brought the snake back alive it would have been worth $600 in Iquitos to some collector.  I’m not sure how that could have happened.  I would rather that jungle creatures live in their natural habitat, having some of them in mine is just a little too close.

Richard the guide, Filo the cook, and snake lassoer, Joan, David, and Jim King, and Edson Marino, the boat pilot. All together, they made a good team

Richard the guide, Filo the cook, and snake lassoer, Joan, David, and Jim King, and Edson Marino, the boat pilot. All together, they made a good team

Into the heart of Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve with Dawn on the Amazon.

A guest post by Jim King

Click on these links to learn more about our cruises into Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve;

Into The Heart Of Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve, Part Two;

Allpahuayo Mishana, It Aint Disneyland!;

Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve Revisited;

The Real Live Dawn on the Amazon Cruises Into Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve;

Why Does The Sloth Swim Across The River?;

The Bats Of Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve, And How They Could Benefit You;

Bird Watching Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve;

Expedition Through Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve;

{ 5 comments }

1 Matt Grimes June 3, 2010 at 6:06 am

That sounds like an exciting adventure, and it had a happy ending.

2 Dottie Bonnett June 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm

How come we didn’t get a bushmaster on board?

3 Leo Jones June 4, 2010 at 10:51 am

really nice post, jim. well written.

4 Richard June 4, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Yeah was a really nice adventure having a tour around Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve,
and a nice family good meals, beautiful Night

5 Captain Bill June 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm

I want to congratulate my crew for taking decisive action. Nothing is more important than the safety of our guests. I regret that the snake was killed, but in the heat of the moment who can say what might have happened. Blogging is a public invitation for arm chair coaching, second guessing, criticism and back stabbing. I accept that as part of human nature. Some of us might have handled the removal of the Amazon Bushmaster differently, but we were not on that boat at that time with that snake. The consequences are purely hypothetical and can not be known. We do know that the consequences of my crews action protected the safety of our guests. End of subject!

Captain Bill Grimes

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