Up the Amazon
In 2007 and twice in 2011, Michael and Sue worked as lecturers for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and Voyages of Discovery on wonderful cruises up the fascinating River Amazon as far as Manaus.
The images below therefore represent just a tiny taster of what we saw during our trips. There were few opportunities to penetrate into real primary rainforest, but instead the cruises presented a dramatic overview of the river and the rainforest around it, upstream as far as Manaus and the Rio Negro. Publishers seeking Amazon images should contact Michael here to check what he has available.
Note that this website only allows us to display extremely low resolution images; all the photographs displayed are available either as 35mm transparencies or as high-quality digital images with a minimum size of 2GB.
All images copyright Michael Scott
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IN AMAZON WATERS
Travelling on a cruise ship like the "Black Prince" is certainly an impressive way to see the Amazon. It gives a sense of its sheer scale, and its beauty. There was rather more (admittedly secondary) forest along the riverbanks than Michael had expected.
In the outer reaches of the river, groups of these gulls followed the ship, feeding on fish and other material stirred up by the wake. This one is just developing its full breeding plumage in January.
Although there were signs of felling, large areas of forest along the riverbanks still looked relatively intact and full of life, as here on the shores of Lake Maica near Santarem.
One of the advantages of being on board ship is that its lights attracted many insects out of the forest. Michael and Sue did a round of the decks with passengers every night and morning to see what was about, like this magnificent Atlas-type moth (right).
MOTH ATTRACTED ONTO SHIP
RIVERBOAT, CURUA UNA
Large cruise ships cannot penetrate far up the Amazon tributaries, but at several ports passengers had the opportunity to join riverboats like this one, which provided much closer views of the river's wildlife.
Birds-of-prey were surprisingly common along the riverbanks, like this savanna hawk, which prefers to hunt over open swamp lands.
RED or CASHEW PIRANHA
Of the 3,000 or so fish species in the Amazon, visitors most want to see piranhas, so fishing for them is a highlight on many boat trips. This species is said to be the most ferocious of the piranhas, but, despite its strong jaws and razor-sharp teeth, it feeds mainly on fish, seeds and fruit.
ARIAU JUNGLE LODGE
The highlight of the cruise for Michael and Sue, and for many of the passengers, was the 36 hours spent at Ariau Jungle Lodge, up the Rio Negro from Manaus. Here we were surrounded by the sounds on wildlife, in the heart of the jungle, and with close views of many species.
Another 'obligatory' event on any Amazon visit is a night-time foray to catch caiman. They are dazzled by torchlight, then collected by hand. A light tap on the nose is said to hypnotise them, while the visitors get a closer look, but the animals are always released unharmed immediately afterwards.
The owl-like potoo was one of the highlights at Ariau, sitting by dead of night on top of a flagpole. It usually perches by day high in a treetop, perfectly camouflaged by its shape and colour against the tree's bark.
COMMON SQUIRREL MONKEY
The squirrel monkeys at Ariau were so tame that many of the passnegers thought they were pets, but these are wild animals. Sometimes the much larger howler monkeys come into the Lodge area; then the squirrel monkeys disappear back into the forest for a week or more, until the howlers depart.
BOTO (PINK RIVER DOLPHIN)
Another animal that many visitors wanted to see was the so-called pink river dolphin, known locally as the boto. In fact, they are quite common around harbours and in river tributaries, as here at Alter de Chao, although they are easily confused with the gray dolphin which is also common in the Amazon (and can be pink!).
Page Last Updated - 31/03/2012