By Fiaz Yamin
Excitement filled the air as the Tourism Guyana Team last November 2019 embarked on a tour up the serene Mahaica River all the way to St. Cuthberts Mission.
The Team left Georgetown bright and early at 6:00am and drove up to Mahaica stopping for a delectable creole breakfast from Sunny and Sweetie in Mon-Repos along the way. After having our bellies filled and satisfied, we arrived at Mahaica.
We met our boat operators Raj and David and were briefed on the safety protocols and exciting places and creatures to look out for along the trip. We locked eyes on the boat that was going to traverse the river and we were immediately excited; it was an awesome looking 10-seater speedboat. After taking our places in the boat we travelled along the river for what was to become an unforgettable experience.
Within 10 minutes of our journey right on the edge of the river amongst the green flora there it was, we locked eyes on a mighty Canjie Pheasant, the National Bird of Guyana. Seeing one up close was a sight to remember. Our boat driver Raj expertly navigated through the scenic river and stopped at a location which looked as though we were heading into dense jungle. Raj and David explained that in the jungle there is a trail and clearing which is used by the Amerindians living in the area as a rest stop and camping ground. After a short walk around on the trail we then made our way further along the river and after about 2 hours we came upon the Village of St. Cuthberts Mission, locally known as Pakuri Village in the Native Amerindian Language.
We met the lovely Village Toshao (Leader). Who took us for a brief walk around the Village to get a glimpse of the native Amerindian way of life. Upon getting back to the river where the boat was docked, the river was inviting so the entire Tourism Guyana Team went for a quick dip in the clean dark waters. We were reluctant to leave but after some persuasion from Raj we left for the return journey.
The river was so serene as we made our way through and we were amazed at the lush green vegetation along the banks. Raj stopped at a clearing in the river and David expertly casted his fishing rod, the river they said is home to very large Peacock Bass (Lukanani). We were out of luck on this day as no fish took the bait so we left.
The afternoon breeze was so calming as we travelled along and the sun was dipping there it was high up in the trees, we saw a huge bright red ball. We made our way slowly to inspect and there he was a huge Red Howler Monkey looking straight down on us. What an unforgettable sight that was. We were treated to many sightings the river had to offer as the sun was setting, we saw River Otters, many more Canjie Pheasants and other amazing bird species which would be the dream of any bird watcher.
After all the excitement of the creature sightings we made our way back to the dock of and were greeted by the most amazing sunset against the river, that truly was a sight to behold. What an awesome way to end an unforgettable day.