In the Amazon
From my early years chasing frogs, salamanders, and turtles (usually easier to catch up with),
to sitting on the tail of an alligator, the natural world has been captivating. Before I hit
my teens I read about the tropical forest in a book about the voyage of the Kon-Tiki,
which definitely whetted my interest in South America. A huge map left by a former resident
in a house I lived in as a boy also helped. The map covered almost an entire wall, and I
would move my bed around so the Amazon or African rain forest areas were just above me.
Sloth at Work
Later, these interests and explorations were turned toward books including Rain Forest
Secrets, Animal Tracks, Ant Cities, A Tree Is Growing, and more. Not long ago, I visited
the Amazon where I could hear the roars of howler monkeys that I had written about recently
in Animals Talk. The booming calls of howlers echoed morning and evening through the forest,
punctuated with the chattering beat of cicadas and bird song solos.
I started onto the river near the dynamic "Meeting of the Waters" where the light-colored,
sediment-filled Amazon meets the dark, tannin colored water of the Rio Negro. The two currents
flow in distinct color bands next to each other for miles before the waters mix to become the
even wider Amazon downstream. Nearby, the rich waters help keep the forest growing. Caimans
pop their eyes above the surface as they float pretending they are logs, the odd snake swims
across, alarmed iguanas do high dives from the trees, splashing loudly into the water to
swimming escapes from any perceived enemies, sloths hang out peacefully in the branches
above munching on leaves. Both gray and pink dolphins leap and dive, birds, piranhas,
angelfish and many more ride the currents. All in all, plenty to find in the Amazon
if you are interested.
Meeting of the Waters