Day 17 (or thereabouts) – Manaus – the Amazonian Experience
Once more up at dawn – but no sunrise as it was too cloudy – the sun came out later to try to scorch us! Not a lot of insects on board this morning – a few large moths, grasshoppers and beetles. They all seem to die – I think they spray the boat with something!
Throughout our time in the Amazon vultures have been constantly circling overhead. I finally figured out that they are waiting for one of us to die! I hope they are not psychic!
Today we are going to have an Amazonian Experience. We were out early, heading off to a nature reserve to walk through jungle and paddle away on a canoe through small waterways.
We prepared ourselves with enough insect repellent to drive the whole mosquito population out of the vicinity of Manaus and enough sun cream to prevent a single beam of UV getting through. The resultant gooey mess was probably repugnant to piranhas, jaguars, anacondas and caiman – which is probably why we do not get to see many of them.
We sailed away and passed floating petrol stations, container ports and a lot of industry.
That was the bridge that goes to nowhere!
Then, we saw the phenomenon of the separate waters at the confluence of the Rio Negra and Amazon rivers – the clear black water of the Rio Negra flows alongside the brown silty waters of the Amazon river and they do not mix. There is a line of demarcation. Quite weird.
Then off into the nature reserve past stilted houses and floating houses, people fishing, or paddling canoes or zooming about in motorised canoes. There was even a stilted church!
The walk through the jungle was on a walkway that led to a lake with huge water lily pads and a single caiman lurking. There’s always something wanting to eat you!
There was a troupe of capuchin monkeys and a number of water birds – egrets, storks and red wading birds – and one fabulous looking raptor. We could hear parrots and other birds screeching and calling but could not see much.
We did see those fabulous huge trees with buttresses, lots of tangled exposed roots, lianas and strangler figs though.
The canoe ride wended through narrow water forests and ponds as well as bigger waterways.
Great to be back in the rainforest! It didn’t smell as much of rotten wood and sodden decaying leaves as I remembered.
It was very pleasant on the water with the breeze blowing on the face. Then our boat broke and we had to transfer boats midstream – risking dropping into the water to be eaten alive by piranhas, stung to death by stingrays, electrocuted by electric eels, gobbled up by caiman, or simply drowned – intrepid or what? (Mind you – all this deadly stuff lurking around did not seem to stop the local kids. All over the place they are jumping into the river and swimming about, oblivious to death!)
One interesting note. Throughout our whole time in Brazil we haven’t seen a single mosquito! So glad we didn’t take the antimalarial tablets! (Did I speak too soon?? I’m feeling rather hot!!)
Off to out next port of call – Parintins!