Captain's Blog Contents

These are some of the things we
saw and did while fishing for
peacock bass on the Nanay River. I
wish I could show you the pink
river dolphins, the strangler fig, the
red spotted green discus, the big
fish that got away.   
An observant, quiet person will have
rich interaction with nature during the
course of every day in the upper
Amazon region of Loreto, Peru. I
fished with two friends in my
thatched-roof, wooden riverboat,
Dawn on the Amazon, less than one
day’s travel from Iquitos. We
Bill heard the fish splash in the flooded jungle.
He positioned the small dugout canoe and
made a gentle backhand cast under branches
and around tree trunks. The lure fell short but
was close. He reeled the slack out of the line
and concentrated on the lure floating in the
small opening. He had been in this situation
many times, and smiled thinking how unfair it
was that the fish had the advantage. He
twitched the rod tip making the lure wiggle.
He saw the water swirl and felt the shock as
the fish set the hook. He lost control so fast,
Dawn on the Amazon III motored
up the Nanay River for three days
and two nights to observe and
photograph the 6th annual Great
Amazon River Raft Race. We
spent the first night at the village
of Nina Rumi. Before the roosters
To be truthful, I must say that I did
not catch this catfish. The gentleman
pictured is Luzmildos, and he caught
the fish with the gear he is holding,
from the back of my boat, while it
was tied a few hundred yards
downstream from the confluence of
the Nanay and the Amazon Rivers,
over the channel.  He had a larger
one to the top of the water before it
got away.   
One day, not long ago, I sat at the
round table in front of the Yellow
Rose, drinking a cold Iquiteña with
my good friend, Ryan, talking
about the many beautiful orchids
and epiphytes we have observed in
the rainforest near Iquitos, Peru.
Ryan nodded his head. He glanced
over his shoulder, leaned toward
Muerto (Death by Mosquitos)
Where I am, in the relative dryness under the thatched roof by the
wheel, are a million mosquitoes, buzzing about their good fortune of
shelter and food.  I’m doing my best to put mind over matter, to kind
of hum at a frequency sympathetic to theirs and confuse them enough
to stop the frenzy.  I’ve always tried to make a point of ignoring them
and going about my business.  It is not working.   
Want to get up close and personal
with the creatures that live in the
rainforest? Only have three or four
days to be face to face with
wildlife? Then take a trip with Dawn
on the Amazon, up the Amazon
River from Iquitos to visit the
Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Community Reserve, a chunk of untouched jungle
only five hours travel from our home port.   
Face to Face with Wildlife in a
Peruvian Rainforest
In Search of an Orchid
As Big As a Dinner Plate
me, and said in a low voice, “My spies, which are wrong ninety percent
of the time, tell me that a new species of orchid has been discovered
near Moyobamba the size of a dinner plate.”
“Sounds more like the size of a pile of horse manure to me.”   
The Great Amazon River
Raft Race
crowed, the sounds of machetes echoed through the fog as the teams
streamlined the balsa logs they chose for their rafts. These rafts were
not so much built as engineered. The race did not start until 11:00 a.m.
and most teams were still testing and modifying their rafts at 10:45. I
circulated among them like a man studying horses before placing his
bet and took an interest in 4 rafts that I perceived as being the most
Another Day on the Amazon
explored a labyrinth of small rivers and cochas, between 3 and 4
degrees south of the equator, without seeing another human being.
We caught fish every day except the day that is the subject of this
Edson with peacock bass
it was a second before he understood the reel had broken and the fish
was stripping off line. He tried to grab the last of the line, but it
burned his hand and was gone.   
Peacock Bass Fishing
The Old Man and the River
The Pacaya River is one of my
favorite places. The stream
winds tranquilly through several
distinct ecosystems on the
south side of a huge wild,
wetlands called the Pacaya
Samiria National Reserve
(PSNR). PSNR has been
protected since 1940, and the  
only sign I can recognize that it was ever disturbed by man are scars on
the trunks of a few ancient rubber trees, from the rubber boom era of
the late 1800’s. If you want to experience what the upper Amazon
rainforest and watershed was like when Alfred Wallace and Charles
Darwin explored the Amazon Basin and independently arrived at their
theory of natural selection, the Pacaya River is probably the best place
to visit.   
The Pacaya River
Visiting Francisco Grippa
in Pevas
Dawn on the Amazon is in
Pevas, the oldest Peruvian
Jesuit settlement on the
Amazon River. We are
visiting the art studio and
gallery of our friend Francisco
Grippa. Regrettably he is
traveling but his people have
graciously invited us to tour his studio and gallery and to enjoy the view
from the observation tower.   
mosquito gif
Our unique adventure in PSNR is not
about seeing the seven species of
monkeys, or the hundred species of
birds, nor several dozen pink dolphins,
or the iguanas, caimans, capybara, or
sloth. We expect to observe them
when we enter the reserve.  Our
adventure is with the most
interesting, and dangerous primate of
all, Homo sapiens.   
Apprehending Paiche Poachers In
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
The Harpy Eagle
This is a baby harpy eagle, the
largest bird of prey. We had the
opportunity to hold and
photograph this bird while
visiting a village 200 miles from
civilization. A hen, with feathers
colored remarkably the same as
the harpy, was raising it as its
chick. A native boy fed it slivers
of raw fish several times a day. While visiting villages during our travels
we frequently see domestic hens raising young forest birds or even
brooding the eggs.   
We have a new Captain's Blog that takes the place of this old blog.  
It's at  Read through these entries,
then click the link and check out the new blog.
This link will take you to our on-line photo album to see pictures from some of our past cruises.
fishing from Dawn on the Amazon I
Bill with peacock bass
Dawn on the Amazon I (a prototype)
Luzmildos with catfish
Los Bikingos balsa raft at the Great River Amazon Raft Race
An orchid as big as a dinner plate
Pink dolphins in the Pacaya River
Hummingbird painting by Francisco Grippa
Paiche poachers in Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
Harpy eagle
baby Marmoset (lion monkey)