Despite boasting an incredibly rich freshwater ecosystem, the mighty Amazon river is widely considered an outrageous destination for diving.
Admittedly the underwater visibility is pathetic and there is a range of intimidating locals lurking under the surface, but this mysterious region presents a unique and memorable experience for those who are willing to give this remote destination a chance.
Welcome to the jungle
Of all the species inhabiting these murky waters, the green anaconda is perhaps the most daunting.
The heaviest snake in the world, these graceful swimmers are a powerful presence gliding through the murky depths. Another member of the reptile family, the prehistoric black caiman, is an equally imposing sight lurking on the muddy banks.
These devastating predators can attack with overwhelming force, their dark bodies hidden beneath the cloudy river.
Aggressive bull sharks, toothy piranhas, and electric eels compliment this rather potent cocktail of panic-inducing predators.
The fascinating pink river dolphin is comfortably the most intelligent creature in this diverse marine environment.
An ugly, distant relative of the ocean variety, these aquatic geniuses are born with a dull, grey appearance. As they grow older this thin outer layer becomes more transparent, the distinctive pink color is created by blood cells peeking through the skin.
Curious and playful, these precious creatures are happy to interact with anyone brave enough to enter their diverse habitat.
More awesome wildlife
The endangered giant otter is another shining example of the incredible diversity this river has to offer.
This agile creature has evolved to accommodate an amphibious lifestyle. Webbed feet and a wing-shaped tail make the giant otter an exceptionally fast swimmer. With measurements resembling a fully grown human male, these ambitious hunters will target the full spectrum of local wildlife, everything from a small anaconda to a thirsty jaguar.
If you monitor the surface of the river for long enough, you may be fortunate to witness another prime example of adaption.
The aptly named Jesus lizard possesses a signature party trick, when required it can use its wide feet to bolt across the surface of the water at an impressive speed.
A coral reef in the Amazon?
The mystery of this fascinating region continues to defy scientists around the world.
Since the late seventies, there have been rumors surrounding the existence of coral below the sediment stained mouth of the Amazon river.
These suspicions were confirmed in late 2016 when an astonished group of oceanographers utilized a small submarine to confirm the existence of a substantial reef, believed to be among the largest in the world. Developing in a unique environment deep below the widest river mouth on earth, the Amazonian coral reef system has managed to survive in a particularly unlikely location.
Are you ready for the experience?
The opportunity to dive in this remote region is a genuinely rare experience. The Amazon provides an incredibly unpredictable environment waiting to be discovered. It is certainly true that the diving conditions here are not favorable, the logistics of reaching the Amazon are challenging, as are the conditions below the surface.
But for those who seek something truly adventurous and memorable, the effort is well worth the reward.
Header image credits: Denis Doukhan