During the wet season the water rises some 20 or more feet around Iquitos, but last year was freakish, and in March the water kept on rising and rising, flooding all the lower ground of Iquitos except for those houses built on balsa rafts. (Making matters worse, last year also brought Iquitos a dengue fever epidemic.) One of our ship guides, Victor, told us how the floodwaters were so extensive a swimming anaconda grabbed a 9-year-old girl in her own flooded house. Fortunately her screams caught the attention of her father who paddled to the house in his canoe and, with a blow of his machete, cut off the snake's head. This flood was in weird contrast to the equally freakish drought of the year before. Climate change, our guides felt, was affecting water levels, the amounts and timing of the rain, and was bringing increasingly high temperatures.