Ah yes…our expedition…well, it had just rained on us while we cooked our delicious lunch of, er, coffee. Or maybe we had something more substantial. At any rate, whatever it was was obviously very memorable. Fortunately the rain duly passed, and as we refurled our rain covers and headed out into the lake again, a boat with a few people in it whizzed past us and headed off down our original path. Hmm. We figured there was some chance they might know something we didn’t (lots of scope there, then), and since we had no other obvious alternatives other than waiting around for night to fall, we turned and followed.
It was now getting on a bit in the day – our little 35km detour having taken almost exactly 4 hours – so we wasted little time on following our course. There was a reasonable prospect of us reaching the (unplanned) staging post of the town of Anamã. The river now was a light brown in colour (they call it “white” water here, to distinguish it from the black water of the Negro), which was clear evidence of the ingress of the powerful and rising River Solimões, and I for one did not relish the prospect of camping out on white water on our first night, with its attendant mozzies and other biting things.
So apart from stopping to look more closely at a few spots where the river was just beginning to burst its banks and flood the surrounding farmland, we fairly sped our way southwest along the meandering channel.
We duly arrived at Anamã at 17.30 – just in time to find somewhere to moor the boat and try to locate a hotel of some description.
The former was taken care of by the owner of a floating store next to the official port building, and the latter by a small wood-built hotel which offered all mod-cons – including air conditioning, an internet connection (in spite of the fact that there were no phones in the town and no mobile phone coverage), and clean sheets. Happy days. Having sorted all this lot out, retrieved our stuff from the boat and had a shower, we headed off in search of beer and food.
In the end, we reflected while sipping beer at a small bar on the riverside, it had been a successful conclusion to day one: distance covered 278km, time taken 11hrs 40mins. Not quite the average rate of progress originally budgeted(!), but we were within an easy 40km of our original destination, Anori; everything was working as it should (exceeding expectations, even); we hadn’t had to sleep out on white water; we had been fed, were pleasantly drunk, were enjoying eachother’s company, and were looking forward eagerly to the next part of the journey.