Novo Airao

The first boat trip up the Rio Negro is planned for this Friday, setting off at 05:30 on the 110km run up the left bank. We’re doing this a) because I want to do it, b) because we’d like to visit a jungle lodge there, and c) because apparently there’s a floating restaurant up there where they’ve managed to train some of the river dolphin to eat from your hand and where you can swim with them. Of course this isn’t organised along your typical European standards – it’s a case of you buy some fish, jump in the river and hope for the best. If you drown/get eaten alive etc., well that’s your problem. I like it.

So anyway, we’ll set off at the crack of dawn and cross the widest single stretch of the Negro (9.8km) right at the mouth of our little River Taruma. Then we’ll tootle up the left bank, skimming over the deepest part of the Negro at something like 150ft, until we get to the narrowest part of the Negro, which is always a bit bumpy (naturally). Here we make a dash for the start of the Anavilhanas Archipelago – the largest freshwater archipelago in the world, and a nature reserve – and pass along its left-hand-most islands. At this stage we’ll also be keeping an eye out along the way for any interesting jungle camping terrain (as requested by some of our more adventurous future guests, Dawn). After passing three small tributaries and various settlements, we should finally reach Novo Airao around 09:30 or thereabouts. Following a visit to the jungle lodge, lunch and a swim with the dolphins, we’ll head back, maybe taking a little time out to admire some of the Anavilhanas, and with luck we’ll be back around sunset.

Pics to follow, and if we have any, um, difficult or “interesting” moments, I must get them on camera for Hilary, who complained that all she ever sees are the nice, picturesque parts of the journey. So don’t blame me if the next caption is something like “this is us being eaten by piranha. Naice is in the foreground and to the left you can just see part of my lower leg.”
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