It was a good-sized
boat, about 40 feet long, with inboard motor. It carried all provisionsa
guide, a captain, a cozinheiro (chef), and a deck handplus 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
jungleno 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.