Sunday, August 8, 1999
"There are two main things here, the river goes up and the river goes down" said Lilia as we sat on the boat deck talking about all that had taken place in the last twenty-four hours. "Everything revolves around that and patience is the life-lesson in this place."
It has been almost a day and a half since we left the United States and we have already learned this lesson well. Finally, we find ourselves on the Delfin, our floating home and dolphin research center for the next week.
We forget who said, "Getting there is half the adventure," but they were right. We have certainly had quite an adventure getting here. When we arrived in Lima after an all-night flight, we found out that our bags did not make the plane in Costa Rica. The word from the airline is that the bags will probably not arrive before Wednesday. This afternoon we had a swap meet. We all donated the extra items which we brought in our carryon, and took what we needed from the cache. A spirit of community is already forming.
Later in the afternoon while the boat was being loaded with supplies by the crew, we went into the city of Iquitos to shop for things we need on the boat until our bags arrive. We bought socks, hats, underwear and flip flops to wear on the boat. Some of us had to buy a tee shirt or two and shorts.
Just getting onto the boat was exciting. We had to climb down this very long flight of rickety stairs and then cross over two other boats to get to ours. We were amazed by the loads the men were carrying on their backs up and down the stairs to get the boats loaded and unloaded.
The other half of our adventure had to do with bringing all our equipment into Peru. Somehow our paperwork never arrived at Lima customs. It took us until 4:00 a.m. this morning to get the satellite phone through customs. It was a very long night.
This evening our researcher Tamara and our guide Beder talked to us about "life on the boat" and things we need to know for this next week. For instance, while all our drinking water is treated, the water that we will bathe with is pumped directly from the river, so we were warned not to brush our teeth with it.
Tamara then demonstrated some of the tools we will be using to collect our data. Tomorrow we will get the rest of the "lesson." The boat doesn't stop moving even at night unless there is too much fog. The movement gives us a breeze and the insects are not so bad. By 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning we expect to see dolphins along side our boat!