Adventures in the Amazon: Dolphins at the Confluence

The Amazon is a river of epic proportions. It stretches 4345 miles in length, making it the second longest in the world behind the Nile, but it is by far the largest in terms of volume, pushing more water than the next ten rivers combined. During the high water season, the Amazon can reach 25 miles in width at certain points, and more than 100 feet in depth as well. The Amazon is formed by the confluence of the Ucayalli and Marañon Rivers, which come together in the heart of the Peruvian rainforest. I traveled to that point, to see the headwaters of the Amazon for myself, and in the process, I had one of the most amazing experiences of the entire trip.

Early one morning, just before dawn, we set out from La Turmalina in one of the skiffs once agian. Our destination was the conflunce and before long we were cutting the engines and drifting in the exact spot where the Ucayalli and Manañon met. All around us the Amazon was being formed, as the two smaller tributaries came together to form the mightiest river on the planet.

The stillness of the morning was broken by a large splash not far from the boat. Another soon followed, and before long we were all watching the surface of the river intently, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever it was that was causing the splashes. We were rewarded by some spectacular views of the freshwater river dolphins that are known to swim the entire length of the Amazon.

There are two species of dolphins that inhabit the river, a smaller gray variety, not unlike the traditional saltwater dolphins that we all know, and a larger pink dolphin which is unique to the Amazon. Both were on display that morning although the pink variety were a bit more shy, perferring to mostly stay beneath the surface. As is typical with the species, we generally only caught a glimpse of their torso as they would briefly break the surface.

In contrast, the grey, bottlenosed species was down right social. They regularly leapt from the water all around our boat, giving us ample opportunties to watch these beautiful and intelligent creatures. For twenty minutes we sat there, while the dolphins played, and while we had other places to go that morning, none of us was in a hurry to move along.

I can honestly say that watching those dolphins that morning is amongst my favorite travel memories of all time. It was a beautiful setting, with the sun coming up over the rainforest, and the most iconic river in the world flowing around me. It was a real highlight of the trip, and an experience that I can attempt to share with you in the video below. This is footage that I shot, and later edited together, to give everyone an idea of what it was like there that morning. Enjoy.


Next: Jungle Trekking

Read more Adventures in the Amazon posts HERE.