Boat trip from Manaus to Belem

Trip Start May 10, 2009
1
11
48
Trip End Nov 02, 2009


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Brazil  , State of Para,
Saturday, May 30, 2009

In a desperate bid to curb the 'trend' of excessive eating and after having been warned to avoid the food served on board, we armed ourselves with water, tinned viennas, tuna, rolls and fruit and were escorted to our boat in rather ridiculous heat we were pitting furiously on arrival...much to the amusement of the (MANY) locals on board.

We had been really looking forward to this 4 day trip of relaxing and reclining in our newly acquired hammocks, swinging lazily to the ebb and flow of the mighty Amazon river. Our dreams of 'swinging' (in the intended sense) were quickly dashed as we stepped on board and noticed that the only gaps visible were the ones between our teeth. Right. One ice cold beer later and all was right with the world again. We quickly got into the vibe, accepted our circumstances and very soon began to love it!!

Settling in next to our new German mate, Alex, to one side and an ever present mammary gland, constantly exposed to feed her (very cute and chubby) 3 month old baby , on the other. So, we were the meat and cheese in a very unusual sandwich. Upon further investigation we found showers/toilets, although someone had clearly beaten us to it and made extensive use of the primitive facilities. Having our fown food and no risk of gyppos was comforting. Angela's shower time decreased from about 18 to 3 minutes instantaneously. (See girls, it's possible.) Sorry no pics of the bogs, the camera clung to the railings of the boat refusing to go anywhere near the offending area.

So, what did we do for the next 4 days? Nothing. Nada. Fokoli. Zip. Zero. Niks. Bugger-all. It... was... awesome. It gave us the perfect opportunity to appreciate where we have been and all we have seen so far and reflect on a great start to our adventure. Also it was much needed downtime after a packed 3 weeks. And also gave our stomachs a chance to shrink with eating normal sized portions for a while.

By lunchtime on day 2 the ice was broken and we were all one big happy family. Locals rattling off in Portuguese and probably thinking we were dumb mutes seeing as all we could reply with was shrugs and 'no entiendo' (I dont understand). To which they speak louder and louder but not slower or in English! Then they started taking pictures of us, sometimes while we were not looking and then took great joy in showing us later on! By the 3rd night they gave us nuts (Brazil nuts). Talk about feeling like monkeys in a zoo as two of 5 gringos on the boat, the only blonde ones... We were quite the staring point to say the least. Even a little girl took about 2 days to approach us and then poke our skin when we weren't looking!

There are not many things in life that are hard to describe, but the sheer vastness of the Amazon river is one of those things. To sail for 1500km, 24 hours a day for 4 days and consistenly see the shore on one side about 2km away gives you some idea of how big this stream is.

Half way through the trip we stop in Santarem for some offloading and reloading of supplies. This was a nice opportunity to stretch the legs and take a walk around the town. Also got some great views of the meeting of the waters. This is an unbelieveable phenomenon where the white water rivers from the south meet the black water rivers from the north but the waters dont mix for kilometers on end! Really cool to see.

On the last day when the river becomes a little narrower you can see the little huts on the shore. The families from the huts send the kids out in canoes to either try and sell stuff to the passengers on the boat (by lasso-ing the boat and climbing on board!) or just to get close enough in the hope that the passengers would throw them some goodies. You feel terrible thorwing stuff becuase you cant give them all and they all look like they could use a good meal.
After breakfast (a boat issued bread roll and coffee) we could see Belem approaching! JEEPERS! it looks like a New York skyline! We disembarked at about 8am and were seriously sad to say goodbye to the good ship Clivia (which sounds more like an STD than a boat but anyway...)

Next adventure: Belem City!
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
N/M Clivia (boat)

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: