WWF's Marsea Nelson accompanied a recent Amazon Voyage in the heart of Peru. She spoke with WWF Travel about the experience:
WWF Travel: What was your favorite animal sighting?
Marsea Nelson: My favorite sightings were scarlet macaws and toucans. Seeing those brightly colored birds flying in the forest canopy was surreal. I don’t consider myself a birder, but I was really awed by them. Oh! And I loved watching the sloths moving down from the trees. And the pink river dolphins swimming right next to our skiff. I guess I can’t pick just one favorite!
What surprised you most about the Amazon?
MN: Before I went on the trip, I was curious about the humidity, but once I got there I didn’t think it was too bad at all. I think summers in Washington, D.C., are worse! So that was a pleasant surprise.
MN: When we met people who lived along the Amazon, our guides could, of course, translate for us, but I enjoyed trying to communicate on my own. I know some Spanish and everyone was very patient and encouraging.
MN: We stayed on a teak riverboat, which really added to the experience. It’s funny how quickly it felt like home and how everyone on the boat felt like family. In the evenings before dinner some of the crew would play music and sing on the open air deck. Some of the passengers would join in, singing and dancing.
MN: Before I went I already knew that the Amazon was an important place to conserve. It hosts an incredible diversity of wildlife, is important in regulating earth’s temperature, produces about 20 percent of earth’s oxygen. I knew all that. But once I actually went there its importance took on a whole new meaning for me. It became personal.