From the journal of Henri de Büren
“The songs and melancholy cries of the Indians mix well with the sounds that abounded in the Amazon night. It is quite an amazing effect. During the day, we hardly see any animals on the river banks or in the trees, and rarely do we hear any animal sounds. At night on the other hand, the cries, hoots, and singing never ceases. You hear roars of tigers, hisses of serpents, croaking of frogs, and the calls of birds. Sounds of turtles and otters entering the water, river dolphins coming up for air or thousands of fish moving just beneath the surface. The singing of so many birds,…some with very melodious voices. Add to this the lush vegetation that surrounds the river reaching into the waters below. A full moon that leaves a long trail of light on the water’s surface that is so clear and still it is like glass. This same light also filters through the tall trees to cast long shadows on the copper colored bodies of our oarsmen. Imagine all of this and you could almost be in my Amazon canoe with me.”
If you enjoy this passage you will want to read more from the explorer and naturalist, Henri de Büren’s journal, The Grand Tour; found in a Swiss attic and translated by his great great grandson, Jean François de Buren, who is Retracing The Steps Of Henri de Büren.
The Grand Tour, Loreto Peru, October 3rd, 1853
Bill Grimes here, recording and making history, from Iquitos in Loreto Peru, in this modern version of a journal, the Captain’s Blog, October 2011, 158 years later.
While reading the beautiful prose, I was struck that they hardly saw any animals in 1853. The most common complaint those of us running tours and cruises in Loreto hear is that “We expected to see more animals.”
This is Henri de Büren’s recorded route in Peru as written in his journal, from Lima to Caballococha. Parts of Henri’s route are retraced every year by modern day adventurers, including Marmelita and I; from Lima to Trujillo to Cajamarca to Chachapoyas to Moyobamba to Lamas to Tarapoto to Yurimaguas to Laguna to Nauta to Iquitos, curious that he backtracked to Pucalpa, then Pevas to Caballococha.
You will find other interesting articles about the history of Iquitos, Loreto, and the upper Amazon of Peru by clicking these links;