The Amazonian Boat That Rocked

Trip Start Nov 28, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Amazonas,
Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ahoy me heartys!!Captain Brad and Captain Jon here with our trusty German and Aussies friends and its time to begin our boat trip deep into the loins of the Amazon River aboard our trusty vessel 'the Itaberaba I'. First off we were surprised at how big the boat was. From the horror stories that we had been told we half expected the boat to look like a slave trading vessel with no toilet or showers, hammocks to be piled three atop each other and at night time there would be nightly raids from river boats who would steal all our luggage and rape the women and children. This was not to be, as we got up nice and early and made our way down to the docks to secure top notch hammock positions, we found the ship was floating (i.e first sign of seaworthiness), didn't look like a slave trading vessel on initial inspection and served beer and hamburgers on the top deck. Win, Win, Win. 

Everyone seeemed pretty happy with their hammock setups, bar me of course. The day previous we browsed through the local market at a wide range of shapes, styles and  coloured hammocks. Hammock shopping is definitely an art...unfortunately i have not mastered that art form yet. After setting up my hammock and doing the first trial lay down the distinct pinging noise of cotton strands snapping under load could be heard. Before i busted my coccyx i got out to find that my hammock had not lasted more than five minutes on the boat journey. Fail, Fail, Fail.

As the sun was setting over the Amazon that afternoon we got a little taste of the serenity that was to come in the next three days aboard the boat. It was amazing and i will let the pictures tell the story. After the sun set over the Amazon water and day faded into night the serenity was broken as we soon realised that we really had nothing else to do. Tobi and Lukas had many suggestions and all of them involved cards....and of course drinking, which seeing as it was our first night on the river,and we were free from the clutches of crazy Gustav, we set to with great enthusiasm and determination. I will fast forward over the coming few hours suffice to say that it got it a little crazy and was pretty much typical of the coming three nights and four days to come. 

Here are a few tantalizing extracts that survived the alcohol induced short term memory loss suffered by all crew members. Dancing recklessly up on the top deck under the moonlight, Tobi and myself thought that it would be even better to be naked on the top deck dancing in the we did, Jono enticed some impressionable young aussie chicas (or the other way around,not sure) to drink in the lifeboats that were above the captains cabin, three hours later they were unceremoniously kicked off, Lukas doing a nudie run around the circumference of the ship.....and refusing to duck when going past the captains window because I quote 'I am German, I do not get on my knees when i am naked', making a swing out of my defunct hammock, playing drinking games with some Haitain's that were losing on purpose so they could drink our alcohol, Jono and myself toilet papering Laura into her hammock when she had a few too many, missing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the first two days because we were partying up on the top deck and had no idea what was going on below.

Now for those that have alcoholics anonymouns on speed dial, please put down the phone, drinking and making a general nuisance of ourselves only took up about the 70% of our time. The rest of our trip we made friends with some of the local families that were in hammocks beside us and we befriended Nico, who was about 10 years old and was working on the ship. Nico would hang out with us on most days, playing games on the iPhones, taking pictures with us and even showed us the ultimate secret..where the crew members had their giant coffee dispenser. Win!!!

After three nights and four days of sleeping in hammocks, and now with a slightly deformed spine, we arrived in Manaus our final destination and the start of the Amazon proper. Manaus is the place where the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimoes meet in a spectacular natural phenomenom to form the Rio Amazonas and is called the meeting of Waters. The Rio Negro appears like a great expanse of Coca Cola with the Rio Solimoes looking significantly more brown and muddy. Due to differences in speed, salinity and temperature the rivers don't actually mix for quite a distance and the distinct separation is quite dramatic to see.
Also before i forget we decided to play a few games on the boat, which were decided on the night before we embarked which we could not have done without Athena's help :) Check out the photo for some boat rocking games to stave off the boredom on your next Amazonian river expedition.
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Brad's oldies on

Noticed you had some good reading matter on board

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