Monday, July 13, 2015

Amazon Adventures - Day 7 - Juruá River Downstream

Early Saturday morning, June 27th,  we left the dear people in the community of Luzeiro for our trip back to Cruzeiro do Sul. Sr. Antonio had a canoe with a more powerful motor and said he could take us back in less than 2 hours. That sounded so much better than the 5 hours it took to get there.

The canoe is for 5 passengers and we had 6, plus a bottle for butane gas so were riding pretty low in the water! There was no covering on this canoe. Stephen was in the very front, then Pr. Antonio, then yours truly. Pr. Francisco and his son shared the last bench and the boatman stood up. Stephen and I were the only 2 who were "coward" enough (or wise enough) to wear life jackets!

This river trip was the most exciting thing of the entire trip! I wish that each of you could experience something like this!  I tried to recapture the sights; sounds; smells and feelings so that you can experience it vicariously! The lush green of the jungle combined with the celestial blue of the sky, the puffy white clouds and the coffee and creamer coloured water made a lovely picture! The return trip took 1 hour and 50 minutes.

SIGHTS
* Murky coffee and creamer coloured water.
* Brilliant green jungle regrowth.
* Signs of recent water receding:
    Skeletal remains of once majestic trees scattered
    along the banks;
    Deep erosion sulks and ditches cut into the muddy
    banks and the tan, sandy beaches.
* Ladies pounding clothes on rocks with sticks to get
    the dirt out and then rising them in the coffee coloured water.
* A very large water turtle swimming along side the canoe.
* Both kinds of Amazon River Dolphins (reddish-pink finned and eggplant purple finned) giving
   natural acrobatic shows.
* Scanty plantations of bananas, watermelon, squash and manioc as the ribeirinhos try to eek out a
   living.
* Hundreds of fishermen in canoes using drag and cast nets to bring in hauls of small fish.
* Many small communities along the river banks, a couple with their own Catholic church. All
   houses made of wood and on stilts.
* Flocks of ugly, black vultures feeding on the rotten fish discarded by the fishermen.
* Floating gas stations complete with convenience stores!
* Dozens of dime sized white welts on my legs, each with a tiny drop of blood in the centre from
   the bites of minuscule gnats.






SOUNDS
* The loud throbbing of the boat motor which drowned out
   most other sounds.
* Rushing sound of the water as it hit the front of the canoe.
* The rack-rack-rack-rack-rack sound of the rabetas (small
   motors with long poles and small propellers) on passing
   canoes.
* Occasional "yelling" of boat partners to be heard above
   the throbs of the motor.
SMELLS
* Musky smell of foliage rotting along the banks.
* The fishy smell of the water.
* Diesel fuel and gasoline fumes from the boat motors.
* The "farm" smell of my new straw hat as it heats in the hot
   sun.
* The smell of sunscreen and insect repellant mixed with
   perspiration.




FEELINGS
* The hot sun scorching down on my skin.
* Mud oozing through my toes in the bottom of
   the canoe as water sloshes over the sides when
   somebody wiggles and through tiny cracks in
   the wooden bottom.
* A constant delicious breeze from the high
   speed of the boat.
* A river water mist spraying ones face and
   body.

I hope that you enjoyed your "trip" down a river in the Amazon! My next post will be "THE DOGFISH STORY". You don't want to miss it!


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