PERU
2003


"Amazon Snake Mystery"

Andoas to Alianza Cristiana, Loreto

The 14 hour river journey from Andoas to Alianza Cristiana, with a detour to Alianza Topal.
click to enlarge
The 14 hour river journey down the Rio Pastaza and up the Rio Huasaga in relation to the Rio Marañón to the south.
click to enlarge

We left Plus Petroleum in a wooden river boat with a multicoloured tarpaulin roof at 08:00.

Instead of heading south and downstream towards our destination, we went a short distance north and upstream, to the village of Alianza Topal to collect the shaman, Don Lorenzo, who was to be an integral part of the film.

Our transport from Andoas to Alianza Cristiana.
Alianza Topal,
an Achuar indian village and
home of shaman Don Lorenzo.

 

With the old man on board we turned south and started the long journey downstream to the confluence of the Rios Pastaza and Huasaga.

Down the Rio Pastaza.

It was to be a long journeyand we all spent it in different ways. Lutz and I spotted wildlife along the riverbanks, Mark and Terry got some travelling footage for the film, and others simply relaxed.

Mark and Terry filming water-spray on the bows, for travelling 'cut-away' sequences.
Location manager Deborah relaxes in the sun.

Shortly before the confluence we stopped on a sand-bank midstream, to rearrange the baggage in the boat for the upstream journey on the Rio Huasaga.

From the confluence we then travelled upstream for several hours, a straight line distance of probably only 25kms but a much longer distance following the winding river.

At a point on a left-hand bend, we turned to the right and passing through a narrow channel entered a large lake system known as Laguna Anatico. Crossing the lake we came, in almost total darkness, to a large village on on the banks a host of people. It was 22:00 and the river journey had taken us 14hours.

Amongst this large group of Achuar indians was a taller figure who hailed us in English. It was Director Jon Stephens but it felt like Mr/Colonel Kurtz in Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now.

We had arrived at Alianza Cristiana, one of the largest Achuar indian settlements in the region. This was to be our base for the duration of filming although we would make forays out to other locations within two-hours boat journey ie. Union Antoniete, Anatico, Panna Cocha, Cocha Puego and Capahaui Poza.