Day Twenty Seven & Eight (30th Sept & 1st Oct) – The Amazon Jungle

4 10 2010

Two day Amazon Trip

Right, quite a lot happened on our two day Amazon trip. Firstly we should explain how we booked the trip. We could have walked into the travel agency on the main plaza in Alter do Chao and booked a trip for about R$250 per day per person i.e. R$1000. Instead we chose to take a bit of a punt and go on a two day trip into the Amazon offered by a guy on the street for R$200 for the both of us. A Hippy French couple decided to join us on our punt, thus making the group four.

Our journey began with a two and a half hour boat trip up the Rio Tapajos to Maguari where we disembarked and visited a small family run natural rubber farm and workshop. I normally never buy rubbish from places like this, but the money went straight to the community and we felt we were contributing to something or whatever. So we bought a few gifts made from rubber that I guess we’ll have to offload on some poor saps at some point; actually, the next people we meet will be Sarah, Winston and Calum at Christmas – ‘Two birds, one stone’ springs to mind…  😉

After this our one-man tour company and skipper ran us aground on a sand bank on route further up river to lunch! After a bit of a walk in the blazing sun we made it to our destination for a late lunch and where we would be staying the night. This was Jamaraqua, a tiny river side village/community. We were staying with a family in the village who served us really nice local home cooked food. Our accommodation was very basic; it was a two story wooden beach house. Imagine a kid’s club house or tree house and you’ll be close.

We couldn’t see any Caymans in the creek as it was too dry. So instead we spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach before hitting the local pub-come-shop-come pool hall for a few beers and pool with the locals. A power cut ended all that shortly after 9pm so back for dinner at our host family.

Sleep was interesting. It was so hot and the humidity was insane throughout the night. Neither of us got any sleep till gone 2am, and what we did get was interrupted with one of us saying ‘what the hell was that..!?’ We had two bats, a few spiders, ants, moths and other flying things in our room.

Morning couldn’t have come sooner and after an early breakfast we began our trek into the Amazon forest. I was really hoping it would be Ray Mears taking us into the forest, but instead we got an equally competent local indigenous lady, who was very nice and friendly.

The destination of our exhausting five hour trek was to a “very tall “ tree. However, only three days ago Jen and I had seen a taller one in Belem. I didn’t know how to say this to the guide in Portuguese; so I just smiled, nodded, gave her a thumbs up and said ‘muy bien’ which isn’t even Portuguese… What a waste of time that all was…

It was a fantastic trek with an abundance of fauna and flora; however we didn’t get to see any mammals or enough birds. The constant and varied sounds of the jungle were the highlight.

Later in the day we went for a swim to cool down before heading back to the boat and downstream to Alter do Chao. We had what I thought to be too little fuel to make the journey and it seemed far too late to make it back before dark. Darkness descended upon us sooner into the journey than any of us had hoped for, and we were left travelling down the river in almost complete darkness. Our skipper-come-tour-guide-come-idiot didn’t equip his vessel with any lights so we only had my head torch with which to navigate the Rio Tapajos (a massive river and tributary of the Rio Amazon). It was frickin’ ridiculous – for the most part we could see nothing out the left side of the boat; the river is so wide you can’t really see the other bank. Out of the right side occasionally a few lights from houses on the river bank, which if I’m to be honest were on occasions probably further away than I could swim. So, I would shine the light from the head torch ahead of us and the skipper would steer us into the near complete darkness – what could possibly go wrong?

After about an hour of this, we were forced to stop for fuel – I ruddy told you… Long story short we made it, we had a great trip, saved a bundle of cash on the unofficial trip, and have a story to tell and yeah, we made it, did I say that already?!?




2 responses

4 10 2010

What a coincidence – we’ve bought you both rubber gifts for christmas too! Sounds like you guys are having a pretty adventurous time! We can arrange some bats and spiders for you when you come and stay with us if you’d like:-)

17 10 2010

A lovely warm comfy bed and three square meals a day will do fine thanks… 😉

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