As we rounded a sharp bend in the Huallaga River, I heard the familiar sound of howler monkeys and the sharp cry of a scarlet macaw. We had been paddling down the Huallaga for two and a half days. We passed dozens of small villages and family farms. Fishermen plucked piranhas from their nets, and families tended gardens full of bananas, yucca, corn, rice, and other rainforest crops. We have been in the rainforest for days, but when I heard howler monkeys, I knew we had left the large towns behind. We had entered the wilderness.
It sure feels good to have a chance to stretch our arms out and paddle our canoes!
Since being on the river, the way that we get electricity to power our computers has changed. In Yurimaguas, we could just plug our computers into an outlet in our hotel. Since leaving Yurimaguas, we must produce our own power. Most of the towns that we have passed through don’t have electricity. We can make our own power by either using solar panels or a gasoline powered generator. So far we have had plenty of sun, so we have charged a battery with solar panels while we paddle. Then, in the evenings, we can charge our computers off of this battery.
We have passed by many houses like this on the river. They are made entirely of resources that come from the rainforest.
While the dolphins search the waters for fish, the macaws, and howler monkeys are climbing through the canopy in search of fruits to eat. Howler monkeys are arboreal, which means they spend most of their time in the trees.
Every paddle stroke takes us deeper into the rainforest, and we expect to see more and more animals with each passing day. Today during our lunch break, a curious dolphin swam under our canoes. Our canoes were rafted together, so we could talk while we munched on rice and lentils. All of the sudden we saw bubbles coming up all around our canoes, and we realized that a dolphin was right under our canoe!
Most of our paddling so far has been on the open river. However, on Saturday, we took this shortcut, or sacarita, to Lagunas.