Traversing Peru from West to East: The Chesapeake Semester team has gone from the desert coast at Punta San Juan by bus to the Upper Andes in Cusco by plane, to the Cloud Forests of Machu Picchu by train and foot. Now they arrive by plane and boat to the Amazonian jungles of Tambopata National Reserve for a three night stay.
Gold mining is one of the major economic activities in the Amazon. This catamaran is a make shift house boat and mining device pumping water and sediment up from the bottom of the river, filtering out the sediment and particles of gold and then discharging the water out the back. This process may utilize mercury to help separate the particles of gold. The mercury is then discharged into the river polluting the water and poisoning the diverse habitat. It takes about 5 grams of mercury to produce 1 gram of gold.