Brazil:  Amazon and Salvador da Bahia, July 2009
In Search of the Pink Dolphin, Juma Lake
Page 3 of 17


A closer look at a hacked-open Brazil nut pod. Stuffed inside each pod is 12-25 Brazil nuts, each in its own shell.

The nuts are high in oil, and will burn like a small candle if lit.  In addition to eating, the nuts are used for cooking oil, lamps, soap, and livestock feed.  We ate some, which were of course delicious.

We ate a rather enormous fish for lunch, a sort of freshwater bass.  It was delicious, as were all the meals at the Dolphin Lodge, tasty and satisfying after a morning walk through the jungle.

A couple of hours after lunch, we set out by canoe to try and capture a glimpse of the rare and elusive pink dolphin at Juma Lake.

We stopped briefly along the riverbanks to say hello to Mo's neighbors, who were building a new church.


A turkey vulture.

Along the way to try and see the pink dolphin, Mo frequently turned off the motor.  "Look!  There!"  We would see howler monkeys, capuchins, birds.  He'd hack through part of the growth, and we'd glide through the waters to try and catch glimpses of iguanas, sloths, or monkeys.

Still venturing towards Juma Lake, at the convergence of two small rivers, Mo suddenly killed the motor again.  "Shhhhh....right there...."  He pointed towards a small wake, a disturbance in the water ahead.  "There is a pink dolphin there." 

We waited silently, drifting near the banks, excited at the prospect of seeing such a rare species of dolphin.

Suddenly, to the side of us, a pink dolphin surfaced unexpectedly.  I whirled to snap a photo.  It was the only time we saw a pink dolphin, so although the photo wasn't spectacular, I felt lucky to have seen it at all, much less photographed it.

The pink dolphin, or boto rosa, is a rare freshwater species of dolphin that lives in the Amazon rivers. A traditional Amazon River myth holds that at night, the pink dolphin, called an encantado, shapeshifts into a handsome young man who seduces and impregnates girls, then morphs back into a dolphin, returning to the river.  True story, or some guy's particularly creative explanation for knocking up someone's daughter?

Jungle life with satellite TV.

Some quick-moving monkeys, possibly squirrel monkeys, take to the tree tops, the tops of the trees thrashing about as they eluded us. 

We entered a lagoon, the water like a mirror, and saw a horned screamer taking flight.

The kapok (capoc) tree, looking like an odd Amazonian Christmas tree.  It's also known as the Java cotton tree, with its many seed pods containing a fluffy yellowish fiber that is buoyant and resistant to water.  It can be used for many purposes, including mattresses, pillows, or insulation. The seeds produce an oil used locally in soap and that can be used as fertilizer.

Reaching Lake Juma without seeing any more pink dolphins, we stopped in at the Juma store to drink some Fanta and get out of the sun.

Mo at the Juma Lake store.

Hanging out at the Juma Lake store.

A dragonfly.

The beautiful Rio Mamori in the distance.

Brazil:  Amazon and Salvador da Bahia, July 2009
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EXTRA:  Lisa's Photos and Videos of the Amazon

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