Hardly slept last night through excitement and anticipation of the journey ahead of us today. Information about our river trip was gradually becoming clearer and clearer. It was going to take us up to 30 hours heading east on the Amazon to the Municipality Maues (apologies for the lack of accents etc.), where our destination was the Vila (village) Nova on the Lago (lake) do Marau. We had to have a special permit to access the village reservation, which is usually impossible to get, however, our group had connections with the chief or the Pastor of the village, both highly positioned individuals within the community. Very, very few outsiders have visited this particular village and it’s people and so we are both privileged and a little apprehensive about being the first. Even the local members of the team haven’t been this far down the river.
The morning started as always in the lobby of the hotel. Cases packed and ready to go, we headed down to the port/dock. It was pouring down – not a good day to be on the river! We walked in a line down the walkway to our boat (and home for the next week), ‘The Castelo Guedes IV’, and carefully navigated the 6″ wide, wet, gangplank up to the deck. It seemed like an eternity until we left port, and we all sat around staring through the rain pouring off the boats roof. Finally, the engines started up and we were off.
Next up was to sort out the sleeping arrangements. Hammock time! As we staked our bedrooms out the empty top deck gradually filled up with the amazing colors of the different hammock materials. We all tested them out – hard to get onto but really comfortable once you’re up and in them. This was interrupted for a wonderful lunch of spaghetti bolognese and water melon – not going to starve on this trip 🙂
At an earlier point in the journey we saw first hand the incredible phenomena tha it s the ‘parting of the waters. This is where the two tributaries come together – the Rio Negro and the Salimoes – one black, muddy and the other yellow and sandy, but due to ph levels (I think?) or a chemical thing that is best left to scientists, the two don’t merge and you are left with this amazing line down the middle of the river – wild!
We all tried to take brief siestas but it was tough with such a lot passing us by on the shorelines. I ended up reading for a while, and adjusting constantly until I was comfortable in my cocoon! We also found time to assemble some donation bags for the kids in the village consisting of candy, toys and crayons Plus some paper plane folding.
As if the day couldn’t get any better, the sun had come out and a pot of coffee was out for us. The team finally found time to have their devotions which gave me chance to sit and reflect for this post. Just a shame, I can write the posts everyday, but their upload won’t happen until I’m back in the land of wifi.
Finally for today, it gets dark around 6:30 here in the Amazon, so it will be fun to see who has the coolest flashlight