Day 2, October 4, 2011
A big chunk of international paddling expeditions is just getting to paddle. We are into day three of the trip, and we have yet to test out our boards.
Two plane flights from Lima and we arrived to Puerto Maldonado, a small town in the southeast part of Peru in the state of Madre de Dios, where the main commerce in town is gold mining and fishing.
Upon arrival, we headed straight to the mouth of the Tambopata River that goes from the snowy peaks above Machu Picchu and eventually feeds into the Amazon via Bolivia and Brazil.
To get to our lodge, we took a 40-foot wooden canoe about four hours south,seeing all sorts of creatures along the way.
Along the side of the river were a giant colony of capybaras – the worlds largest rodent. Think of a rat the size of your dog and that’s what they look like.
We stayed the night at a place called refugio Amazonas — an eco friendly lodge where we took a variety of side hikes to see macaws, toucans and a whole array of poisonous spiders.
Mariko, Chase and I have spent a good chunk of our time just packing and unpacking. Knowing what gear to bring to the middle of the rainforest has been trickier than training for a river expedition. We are all pretty geeked out on gear.
So far, having inflatable iSUPs have been amazing. No one has asked us what we are doing and the boards fit seamlessly on the boats. Mariko and I have waterproof backpacks from Dakine, and between the three of us, we have Teva and Keen hiking boots, Teva watershoes, a slew of Goal Zero solar panels and a variety of mosquito proof gear from Patagonia, Smartwool and REI to test out.
Tomorrow we camp, then we paddle for two days straight.
Photos by Chase Olivieri