Pink Dolphins and Jungle Adventure on an Amazon Delfin II Cruise

Sometimes it's not just where we travel, but who we travel with that makes all the difference.

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Our spacious cabin aboard the Delfin II Cruise in the Amazon. Flickr/Scott Ableman
Our spacious cabin aboard the Delfin II Cruise in the Amazon. Flickr/Scott Ableman

Amazon Delfin II Cruise

But our 5-day, 4-night Amazon Delfin II Cruise is the highlight of our trip. The boat sits at the headwaters of two rivers, the Ucayali and the Marañón. Meals are an upscale sampling of Peruvian-style food often accompanied by live Peruvian music.

With only 30 passengers and a friendly crew, everyone on the Delfin II soon becomes family. Days are filled with swimming, hiking, kayaking and bird watching. Daily lectures include ecology, indigenous foods and towel topiary.

Our spacious cabin is quickly filled with Gail’s clothes. No room even for my towel.

She puts on makeup which melts into sweat during our undulating rainforest walk in the Pacaya Samira National Reserve. A giant kapok tree spreads its roots like a ballerina’s tutu. Birds provide a jungle symphony.

Our guide, Juan Luis, picks up a giant tarantula. Yuck! I hate those hairy things. He finds a poisonous, vermilion-colored great back frog. Locals use their venom for blow gun ammunition. In the bush is a red-tail boa and an anaconda. These creatures make Gail and me anxious to go back to the Delfin II.

We board 10-person skiffs for bird watching in a creek. The water is like glass. Squawking parrots and squirrel monkeys jumping in the trees break the peaceful silence.

A tarantula on the jungle walk. Photo by Roberta Sotonoff
A tarantula on the jungle walk. Photo by Roberta Sotonoff

“The Amazon is like a spider,” says Juan Luis. “It has many legs or tributaries.”

Pink dolphins appear near the swimmers at one of the “spider legs,” Rio Yanayacu. Later, we kayakers search for them. Gail has never kayaked.

Her instruction consists of, “This is the paddle. If you want to go left, paddle right and vice versa.”

Off we go. Suddenly it starts to rain — not a drizzle but a huge downpour. The rain is overbearing. We no longer care about pink dolphins. I put my paddle perpendicular so someone will rescue us.

Amazon River Dolphins (aka Pink Dolphins) can grow to eight feet long. Flickr/Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith
Amazon River Dolphins (aka Pink Dolphins) can grow to eight feet long. Flickr/Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith

Gail skips the visit with Carola, a woman shaman. Through an interpreter, Carola explains her potions made from trees, and plants. Treatment consists of her medicine, singing, praying and shaking leaves over patients. Often, she takes a hallucinogen to get a vision of the cure. Some patients drink the hallucinogen to cure themselves.

Moving from person to person, Carola prays and puts powder in our hands. She blows it away with cigarette smoke. I get power, smoke and spit.

Even more unique than Carola are the huge Victorian lily pods which grow on the flood plains. Measuring approximately six feet wide, they must be on steroids.

Our day is topped off with a visit to a native village, Puerto Miguel. Kids jump off trees into the water. Wooly monkeys and three-toed sloths are their pets. A table is laden with local foods like grub worms for tastings. We pass.

Our Peru trip has flown by. Each day is interesting and exciting. As we pack to leave, Gail fills my suitcase with her clothes.

We fly to Lima and have time to do a tour. Gail, still ill, heads for the airport hotel’s bathroom. Twenty minutes later, I go looking for her. She is taking pictures with her new friends, Peru’s soccer team.

Traveling with the right friend makes the journey unforgettable.

If You Go To Peru

Delfin Amazon Cruises: www.delfinamazoncruises.com

For all land attractions, I would recommend Coltur: www.culturperu.com

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