Manaus and the Amazon Jungle
Trip Start May 02, 2008
5Trip End May 26, 2008
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We got up early headed out to Encontro das Aguas (Meeting of the Waters), where the Rio Negro (dark) meets the Rio Solimoes (light). We opted for the 'romantic' option and took a boat to where the waters meet, but do not mix. A rather strange sight, which inspired the famous design of the seafront path of Copacabana. The waters were also a noticeably different temperature, the Rio Negro being the warmer of the two.
Another early morning - 6am start to catch the minibus to the bus terminal, and on to a small settlement along the river, where we went by speedboat an hour up river to our 'ecocamp'. We were joined by two Dutch girls who stayed in Lizzie´s dorm in Manaus
After dinner and a few drinks (Brazilian wine is awful, Lizzie's birthday and we didn't even polish off a bottle) we headed back out on the river to search for alligators. Leo's motor was broken so another guide was driving, who had consumed half a bottle of rum and was in no fit state. Within 200m, and full acceleration, the boat was taking a nosedive (baring in mind it is pitch black) and even Leo looked like he had soiled himself. We re-arranged ourselves and continued at a slower speed close to the bank of the river shining torches looking for red dots, alligator eyes. We spotted a few and the guides went wading but they got away, until eventually we found and caught one. Well, Leo did. After this we returned to camp and went to bed - first birthday not spent on the lash in how many years?
Woken at 6am once again and paddled close to camp to watch sunrise and dolphins - pink, black and grey. Back for breakfast then dressed in jungle attire (including whistles) ready for out adventure. We went on an informational walk in the jungles, saw many plants (surprisingly) that were used in traditional medicine / crafts etc. Further into the jungle trees were rustly and there were cries from monkeys, which Leo replied to as we closed in on them. Up in the trees there were loads on the move. We saw two species - Cappucino and Bush Tail Monkeys. We also saw lots of birds including Toucans, as well as butterflies, one which was the size of my head. After four hours in the jungle we returned to camp for lunch and a short sleep in the hammocks.
In the afternoon we packed our over-night bags and set off on a boat to an abandoned settlement along the river and started along a disused road, once used to reach rubber plantations but now overgrown. We turned off the road and walked deep into the jungle, taking two hours to reach camp (consisting of a few logs as seats) just uphill from a stream. We set up hammocks from tree to tree and Leo started a fire, just before dark