March 23, 2007

Amazon River Dolphins
Rio Amazonas, Brazil

A new surprise every morning.

I stirred from sleep, and found some of those awake watching the crew, the others watching the water. I sleepily sauntered aft, and discovered that we were at dock, and the majority of the rear cargo hold had already been emptied by a group of strong arms.

I walked over to the port railing of the Rodrigues Alves V and stood there for a moment, taking in the sunrise over the river. Then, out of the corner of my eye, a splash—and a fin! Shark, my mind instantly screamed.

Half a moment later the dorsal fin had vanished, and I had come to my senses—it hadn't been a shark, it was a dolphin! Seconds later, about two dozen meters away, another pair of fins broke the surface and dipped back under. A trio of them, catching fish.

What on Earth are dolphins doing in the Amazon River, I mumbled to myself, rushing back to unlock my backpack and retrieve my camera. Obviously they're eating fish, but to see them here was quite the surprise.

I instantly thought of Pipa, and how seeing the dolphins had been the bait for so many tourists and travelers (myself included), and scoffed at the town again, as here in the most unexpected and enjoyable of places was I seeing them.

I have no maps that support the detail needed to figure out where we were at, but there's an island the size of Switzerland in the middle of the mouth of the mighty river, and I think we might be close to where the two main arteries wrapping around the mass of land intersect.

I know that dolphins are friend to swimmers, divers, and surfers, but watching the brown, opaque water break suddenly with a splash of activity (coupled with a dorsal fin) is a rather jarring sight. I was happy that it wasn't me being hunted.

The gray dolphins continued to swim and eat by our boat for another hour or two—still feasting as we departed. My Brazilian dolphin experience, found in the Amazon. Who would have guessed.

Comments:

gcrokzzzzz

September 6th, 2008

Hey Craig…loving your blog. I'm actually Brazilian but I live in USA. You've seen more of my country than I have haha. Those are called Boto's. There's a whole legend about them. KEEP YOUR WOMEN AWAY!!! ;)

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