Art Director Charlie Boyd shares his favorite memories and photos from his recent Amazon Voyage.
Having recently traveled again to the Amazon, the wonderful people and experiences are still fresh in my mind. I’ve worked for International Expeditions for over 12 years, daily creating materials for our Amazon River cruises . I was very much looking forward to experiencing the Amazon aboard our new riverboat first hand with my wife Pam. It was a little surreal for me at first… meeting the talented guides and crew that I already “knew” from pictures, seeing the beautiful new La Estrella Amazonica, and anticipating the daily activities and wildlife sightings. Soon, I got caught in the daily rhythms of the river and this voyage.
A few standout moments:
Our guides: Escorted by Expedition Leder Angel Cardenas and expert local naturalists Johnny Balarezo and Usiel Vasquez, we traveled over 600 miles on this mighty river. Along the way we spotted seven primate species, 125 bird species, fish, reptiles and amphibians, and met many of the friendly people who live along the Amazon River. Every day was different but equally exciting.
Pink dolphins: As our excursion boats entered the mouth of the Pacaya River, we noticed that there were pink river dolphins everywhere. The water was moving quickly and they were taking advantage of the “open buffet” of fish moving with the swift current. We were able to watch them for about 30 minutes, and take plenty of photos.
School visit: We stopped in the village of Nueva York for an un-announced visit. Everyone was so happy to see us. It was lunch time and many people came out of the houses to greet us as we walked through the village. A couple invited us in to see what they were cooking. Their fresh fish, cooked over an open fire, looked delicious. We visited the school, and delivered some supplies that IE guests had brought along to Peru. The kids were so full of energy and curiosity — and excitement for the soccer balls, pencils and books we’d brought. The grand prizes were backpacks — one for a boy, and one for a girl. After correctly answering some history and math questions a boy and a girl were each given a new backpack.
My private balcony: A favorite part of the wonderful new La Estrella Amazonica was the private balcony. I spent a lot of time during our daily siesta sitting out there, watching “earth’s greatest wilderness" pass by. Early June was beautiful time to be to be in the Amazon. The water was on it’s way down after the high season and the dark, rich soils were exposed on the riverbank. Planted rice crops were starting to sprout and I saw many birds feeding amongst them… black-necked stilts and large-billed terns, with colorful yellow-headed and oriole blackbirds feeding in the tall grass behind them. Seeing the passing scenery, wildlife and ever-changing cloud formations from my private balcony was something I looked forward to every day.
We made so many friends along the way — from the fishermen we met each day, to the extraordinary crew and amazing band, to the IE guests that we shared our days with. This part of the Amazon is a magical place, and our expedition was truly the “greatest voyage in natural history.” This great experience lived up to, and surpassed every expectation I had… when do we go back?