The Boat Trip

It was a good-sized boat, about 40 feet long, with inboard motor. It carried all provisions—a guide, a captain, a cozinheiro (chef), and a deck hand—plus a couple of canoes for the hunting. We went directly down the Amazon passing the curious water swirls where the Rio Negro with its huge current of black water met the Rio Amazonas with its reddish brown water. Each river gets its coloration from the trees upstream which are always emitting their creosote-like sap into the rivers. We passed a chain of islands and turned into a large tributary, staying always near the shore out of the main current so we could make better time. Then we took a smaller tributary and that is where the scenery became incredibly beautiful. The narrow river was canopied by the overhanging trees and vines. In the late afternoon, the slow moving water appeared as a perfect mirror. Looking down, there was jungle reflected in the water; looking up, there were golden patches of light where the sun filtered through the jungle canopy. This river gradually expanded into a huge lake surrounded by jungle—no trace of civilization, certainly no tourists here and, curiously, no natives. The natives seem to have located their sparse settlements mostly right near the Amazon.


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