Virtuoso Life - July/August 2017 - 35
PERSON OF INTEREST
Jean-Michel Cousteau first saw the Amazon in
1982, entering its Brazilian delta on Calypso with his
famous father and family, and cruising to Iquitos,
Peru, where they left the ship and traced the river to
its source on the slopes of Mount Mismi. Next year,
Cousteau will return to join select four-, five-, and
eight-day Aqua Expeditions sailings from Iquitos
to lead talks and excursions, offer videography tips,
and screen documentaries on some of the same
stretches he filmed with his own children in Return
to the Amazon, decades after his first trip.
THE BIGGEST IMPRESSION FROM YOUR INITIAL AMAZON
EXPEDITION: I'm an ocean guy, and I was amazed
to see dolphins and turtles all the way to Iquitos. I
scuba dived when the water was clear enough, and
of course there were all kinds of freshwater fish and
some very, very big snakes. These creatures could
see me, but they never had any intention of touching me. I felt much more comfortable than when
above water or walking in the jungle.
VERY, VERY BIG SNAKES, PSHH. WHAT ABOUT PIRANHAS?
Those little fish just swim away. Being underwater
was a great privilege. I hope we will be able to snorkel in a few places.
WHY SHOULD TRAVELERS CRUISE THE AMAZON?
To connect with the environment and understand
what's going on. The Amazon represents 20
percent of the planet's fresh water flowing into the
ocean - we need to protect this water system to
THOUGHTS ON RETURNING: It's great to visit a place I
have been many times and share with passengers
the information that we were able to collect and see
how things have changed - to share what's different, what we are learning, and how we can behave
to make sure that from cultural and environmental
points of view, we preserve diversity, which is synonymous with stability.
RIVER WILDLIFE THAT MOST FILLS YOU WITH JOY: I love
the pink river dolphin - it's unique to the Amazon.
They have the ability to swim in rain forests during and after the rains. Other dolphins would get
trapped, but pink dolphins can disconnect their
bone structures to swim around a tree. It takes a bit
of luck to see them - they're not waiting for you to
show up - but I know they're there.
Cousteau joins sailings on the 32-passenger Aria
Amazon February 9 through 16 and October 5
through 12, 2018; from $4,350. He'll cruise the
Mekong River with Aqua on select 2017 and 2018
departures as well.
J U LY | AU G U ST 2 0 17