• Joanne Klepal

The Amazon: Journey Along the River

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

If you missed the previous Amazon segments, click these links: 

The following morning the four of us, [Armando, Wagner, Marden and myself], say goodbye to Angamos.  We take to the river in a peca peca boat, full of our supplies and basic necessities Armando is taking to Buen Peru, which will become our hub while in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.
Our peca peca loaded with supplies & without four of us in it!



Again my heart in jumping out of my body, this is even more exciting, we are on the river! If the remoteness of it all hadn’t hit me yesterday, it was sure to knock me out today!

Today’s journey down the river was expected to take about eight hours. Yes, eight hours, on a peca peca with no cover from the sun or elements with the sound of the small motor, probably the size of a very small lawn mower, buzzing all the way.


In awe, not only of the isolation, the wildlife but also the reinforcement of how small we are as humans in the magnificent place called earth, let alone the universe.

Hector had already forewarned me that the water levels were very low. I hadn’t really appreciated the impact of this to our journey and travel time.


Our original plan was to hike approximately two days to another river and make our way back to Iquitos at the end of our journey. This was adjusted to instead, make our way back to Angamos via peca peca and fly to Iquitos. Whoopee, I get to conserve my calories; I think Marden was much happier with this option!


Second, throughout the entire river journey, Armando and Wagner had to maneuver around the constant flow of fallen trees and ensure we didn’t get stranded on a dirt bank.


view from peca along river; notice the obstacles and low water levels


What do I know, it’s just my first time in the jungle, surely it must be easier when the river is lower as you can ‘see’ all the obstacles.


(Armando on the lookout for obstacles, returning to Angamos)



As I found out, the journey to Buen Peru took more than eight hours, but, after days/nights of gushing rainfall, the journey back was faster and much closer to eight hours when the river is higher. We barley encountered obstacles.



Along the river, we saw lots on birds, monkeys, alligators, pink dolphins, and the Lupuna tree.

Lupuna tree, view from river


Lupuna tree base


The Lupuna tree is one of the giant trees of the Amazon. It has a legend where a native woman insulted the tree by urinating on it.


After arriving back at her village she found herself sick and sought out a local shaman who advised she needed to go back and ask for forgiveness.


Moral of the story, the rainforest and the Lupuna tree deserves respect.   Click here for more detail on the story of Lupuna tree.



Lupuna Tree bottom to top


Did I say ‘pink’ dolphins? Coming from Florida, I easily visualize dolphins in the ocean, but the rivers of the Amazon, I’d never imagined. Pink, I’d never heard of or seen pink dolphins, how neat!


I wasn’t fast enough to catch spectacular videos of these lovely mammals, so here are a couple of links and a native legend if you want to see and learn more, click here  Here’s a short clip of the dolphins I did catch:



one of the few we passed travelling to Buen Peru


one of the few we passed travelling to Buen Peru


Along the entire route to Buen Peru I may have seen five or six small communities along the river banks and at best we may have passed a total of 8 – 10 other pecas along the river.
Not much help if we were to get stuck !

Lo and behold the motor gave out twice along the way. Wagner had to take the time to pull it all apart, clean it and get it back up and running again, there’s no AAA or RAC here.


About three quarters along the journey we came to a sticky spot where the river was so low, there was absolutely no way through the water. Somebody must have been looking out for us because, in the opposite direction, along comes a small government boat.


Of course, they were in the same predicament as us. So the more the merrier, with the extra muscle power, they were able to lift the peca over dirt bank to get us moving again.


OK, so we’re on the move again, we’ve generally been in luck as so far we’ve had little rain. We’re doing good, or are we? The journey is taking longer than planned and the night is starting to close in fast.


Not a good place to be on the river, in the pitch dark with so many obstacles in the water. Well, along the last stretch, the skies opened and dumped their waters upon us. Yes, the river needs water but does it have to be now?!


Poncho or no poncho, by the time we arrived in Buen Peru we were soaked. Of course Armando and Wagner have no more on than their soaking t-shirts and shorts in the freezing cold rain.


Armando and his family unloaded the peca and climbed the steep slippery bank up to Armando’s home, where we camp out. Camp out literally, after we dried off, Marden pulled out two tents and popped them out in the middle of Armando’s home!



See more photos and videos below


Happy journeys,

Joanne

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Click here to continue this Amazon journey and learn about Buen Peru, a remote community along the river.

Roberto climbing the base of Lupuna tree

Lupuna tree base

Wagner guiding peca along river


Armando navigating the front of peca

one of the few we passed travelling to Buen Peru

resting my back (side) as we travel along the river

Video #1: journey down the river


Video #2: journey down the river


#peru #amazon #rainforest #river #buenperu #angamos #pinkdolphin #luguna

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