Here are a few pics of our recent visit to Naice’s parents house on the other side of the river. This was the first time we had tyaken our own boat, and although the total distance was 71km, it took us 3.5 hours to get there after a short-cut we took turned out to be blocked by floating grass (capim), and we had to paddle the boat through the igapo (flooded forest): it’s all very well in a dug-out canoe with a wee motor you can haul inboard, but with a 6m aluminium boat with a 50hp 4-stroke stuck on the end of it it’s a not-to-be-repeated ordeal involving cuts, bruises, extremely painful red ant bites (they don’t call them fire ants for nothing) and profuse and profound cursing and sweating. On the way back…we got stuck again, this time in the middle of another floating grass blockage we couldn’t avoid, but fortunately a young guy came past in a dugout and pulled us free. We avoided the same route we’d used on the outward leg and further problems were avoided. It still took us 3.5 hours, although knowing the way (and without getting stuck) I reckon we could do it in 2.5.
Anyway, once on the Rio Solimoes, and all the way through to the Rio Negro, the water was as calm as you like, and during the 10km crossing of the Solimoes, it was like being on a lake. Marvellous.
The next planned trip will be to the small town of Novo Airao, on the west bank of the Rio Negro, about 110km upstream of Manaus. There to find lunch and swim with the dolphins. I’m hoping we can do this before the end of July.
The pictures show a few of the igarapes we passed through, a couple with Naice. The others show journey’s end (Casa da Silva), and Naice’s parents and brother Romulo inspecting the boat.