Expedition to the Amazon Black Lagoon: Page 3

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Expedition Photography Adventure to the Black Lagoon:

Alto Madre de Dios River

During the rain season the Madre de Dios River and its tributaries swell beyond established banks, twisting and turning through the Amazon lowlands. As the rains decrease the river waters subside leaving horse-shoe shaped lakes landlocked from the main river. Many of these lakes then evolve as mature lake ecosystems, remaining isolated from the rushing river waters. In December 1999 rain in the mountains feeding the lowland areas was exceedingly heavy. Narrow channels of water opened from the Madre de Dios River to long ago isolated lakes, allowing canoe access to areas otherwise extremely difficult to venture through.

Bon Bon sent word: an unexplored lagoon was now accessible because of the high river waters. Not just any lake formed by the shifting rivers, but one that shamans spoke about from their readings of the "vision writings".

"Dav, I have found what you look for. Come at once. Bon Bon."

Before the "at once" hit my brain I was down the stairs and halfway across the plaza. Next stop: Daniel Blanco, explorer, scientist and the man that could get me to the jungle fast.

truck The trek would involve driving 4-wheel over the mountains for a day, stopping for the night at the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge in the Selva Sur Cloud Forest. Here in the world's largest private Cloud Forest Reserve roams the endangered Spectacle Bear. Peru's national bird, the Cock-of-the-Rock, dances. Wild monkeys lurk from the forest trees.

Then down the mountain slopes to the lowland river, the Alto Madre de Dios. The roads end and riverboats freight supplies and tourists to the restricted Tourist Zone of Manu. Another day's journey to the jungle town of Boca Manu, a half dozen buildings in a port well know for the construction of wooden riverboats and the gateway for tourists visiting the Tourist Zone to the northwest Manu River. Here our travels depart the norm, for still another days trek takes us eastward far down the Madre de Dios River to the mouth of the Blanco River. And then south on the Blanco toward the Amarakaeri Indian Reserve.

Here on the banks of a narrow bend in the river Bon Bon waits at the Manu BioStation. But it was not just Bon Bon I was thinking about. I could feel, I could hear…I was six years old in a dark movie theater…an unseen orchestra setting the mood…the wind stopped blowing…the river became still
...the only thing missing was the smell of popcorn.

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