Day 284 – Amazon Jungle Day 1

Day 284 – Amazon Jungle Day 1       06/01/11       Mileage: o

Today was day one of a two day trip into the Amazon Jungle and it began when our car picked us up to take us down to the docks where we would catch the first of 3 boats.

The fish in the lower right are piranha!

The first boat took us across to the south bank of the Amazon River. Along the way we crossed the “Meeting of the Waters” which is where the black water of the Rio Negro and muddy brown water of the Rio Solimões come together and run parallel for a few miles before mixing together.

Here is a shot from a plane which is much more clear….

Next was a 40 minute van ride to catch boat number two which would take us to the outfitter base camp on a small tributary of the Amazon.

L to R: John, Ian and our guide Antonio

At the base camp we had nice lunch and were entertained by a small monkey that had us all laughing.

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Piranha…it’s whats for lunch…

After letting lunch settle for a bit we packed boat number three….a motorized canoe…which would take us deeper yet into the jungle.

Machette…check, tarp shelter….check, bug spray…check…….crapload of beer…..check!

In addition to John, Ian and myself, we were joined by a lovely couple from the UK and a young guy from Holland.

Our guides name was Antonio whom we had met the day before while booking the trip. He grew up in the mountains of southern Guyana and speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and two local Indian dialects…amazing. So with the boat packed we headed deeper into the jungle.

After cruising along a small river we entered the flooded forest while Antonio pointed things out to us along the way…including several large spiders which were kind of hard to miss!

Just in case you missed it…that is one big spider!

Once back in more open water we came upon a pod of river dolphins that were all around the canoe…amazing.

Continuing on we headed back into another flooded forest, this time to do some piranha fishing!

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OK, so they are not very big, but I guess if you were surrounded by 500 of them all taking a bite out of you, you might be in some trouble! Did I mention that our wooden canoe had a leak and we had to continually bail it out…yep. So after amateur angler hour was over, we went out in search of a place to setup camp for the night. We went deeper into the bush down a small stream, then a smaller stream until Antonio found a suitable site which we began clearing by hand and with machetes.

We then helped him construct our shelter which we made from several cut tree trunks and blue tarp.

 Next we hung the hammocks under the shelter and covered them with the all important mosquito net….as we are square in the middle of the malaria zone.

After camp was set we got back into the canoe and went to a native’s house where we had dinner and some great conversation.

With our bellies full it was back to the canoe, but before heading back to camp Antonio took us looking for caiman…the Amazon’s answer to an alligator! They can apparently grow up to 15 feet….much larger than the canoe, so lucky for us the one he caught was just a 7-9 month old little guy.

 Those who wanted to hold him got their chance, but then it was time to let him go before his little chirps for help were answered by mommy! Once back in camp we built a fire and had some nice ice cold beers before retiring to our hammocks….now this is the life…..

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Day 283 – Manaus, Brazil

Day 283 – Manaus, Brazil       05/31/11       Mileage: 0

This morning we pulled the bikes off the boat which was a piece of cake because we were tied to a floating pier the exact same height as the boat cargo deck….sweet.

Bikes and bananas were the only thing left on the cargo deck in the morning…

We found a place to stash them for a few hours while we walked around Manaus to get the lay of the land and find a place to stay.

First order of business….some breakfast at a street food stand….

We also rand some errands which included a stop in the pharmacy where we had a funny exchange with the gals behind the counter.

When you are trying to describe to someone that you have a bad case of the shits in a foreign language, laughter is going to be the inevitable result!

John taking the prescribed remedy…

The two very helpful pharmacists…

This guy had a, ummm, unique seat cover on his bike.

After settling on a private room in the Manaus hostel, we went back to collect the bikes and relocate them to a French School across the street from the hostel that was kind enough to let us leave the bikes in their gated parking lot.

Nos motos à l’Ecole de français, oui

That night we had a low key street stand dinner and all caught up on our email and wifi. Tomorrow we’re off on a two day jungle excursion which should be a great experience!

Day 282 – Amazon Riverboat Day 7

Day 282 – Amazon Riverboat Day 7         05/30/11       Mileage: 0

Today I did more writing and enjoyed the passing scenery on what would be the last day out on the Amazon River. Though certainly very far from posh, it’s been a relaxing and memorable boat trip.

John and I talked to this guy who worked on the boat and he was a total crack-up! All he could talk about was banging chicks and although I know almost no Portuguese, some words come across loud and clear!   😉

Yet another stunning sunset over the Amazon River….

We pulled into Manaus late in the evening and were allowed to stay one more night on the boat.

Although late at night, the dock in Manaus was a frenzy of activity….

Tomorrow we’ll have to get the bikes off the boat, find someplace to stay in Manaus and hopefully have a look around town.