Tuesday, March 12
Val was up early this morning to get our first look at the Amazon and the shoreline. I soon followed and we spent most of the morning on our balcony watching our journey up the river.
|The area of our cruise up the amazon is circled in red. We would end up almost 2/3 of the way across Brazil when we reached our final port of Manaus.|
We knew the Amazon was a large river, but now that we are actually sailing up it, its size boggles the mind. The Amazon is second only to the Nile is length, but has the largest volume of any river in the world. Its 4,000 mile length is the equivalent of the distance between New York and Rome. It starts only 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean, high in the Andes of Peru, making its way to the Atlantic Ocean through Peru and Brazil. The Amazon Basin covers 2.7 million square miles. The amount of water it discharges is ten times that of the Mississippi and its fresh water dilutes the ocean 100 miles out to sea. There is an extensive lowland area bordering the Amazon that floods every year, with the river rising from 30 to 40 feet during the rainy season. We couldn't tell when we entered the Amazon yesterday afternoon, because the width of the mouth of the river is 37 miles wide and you couldn't see either side.
This was only our first day on the river, but we were already in awe. The river seems to be several channels with large and small islands dividing them. We traveled relatively close to the shoreline at times so we got a good view. The jungle comes right down to the water and forms a wall so you can’t see any further than the shoreline. There were occasional dwellings, but mostly it was nothing but jungle. We did see a few small boats and at one point, a boat went by pulling a barge, but otherwise it seemed we had the river to ourselves. I did go up on deck to get a better view of both side of the river and found that it varied from quite wide to surprisingly narrow (probably because we were passing through a channel between islands). As the day wore on we seemed to be very close to shore in some places, but it probably wasn’t as close as it looked.
|The Amazon was very wide, but we passed through many narrow channels between the numerous islands.|
|The Amazon carries tremendous amounts of silt so the water is mostly brown.|
|We spent most of the day on our balcony enjoying our first day on the Amazon.|
|There are very few roads along the Amazon so most travel is done in small boats.|
|We spotted quite a few isolated homes along the river. You can see the residents in the water and the window watching our ship go by.|
|Although almost all commerce takes place by boat, this was one of the few barges we saw today.|
The temperature out on our balcony wasn’t too bad, but we could feel the ever present humidity. When I went up on the deck and the sun was shining it felt very hot, but today was mostly cloudy and it looks like we might be heading into rain. What a surprise, rain in the jungle on the Amazon.
We were getting hungry so we left our vantage point on our balcony and headed up to the Lido for lunch. Today is the final round of the slot tournament and after lunch we headed down to the casino to try one more time to qualify for the finals. As expected, Val had been bumped from the leaderboard so she and I both tried again, but fell woefully short.
After failing to qualify for the slot tournament finals, we stayed in the casino for a little while and then headed back to our room. We spent some more time out on the balcony watching the jungle slide past us, but soon the humidity got to us and we went back inside to enjoy the cool of the air conditioning. There was a lecture this afternoon that we wanted to attend, but as it got near time to get ready for dinner, we realized we had completely forgotten about it. It didn’t really matter as we had an enjoyable afternoon on our balcony.
Roy was back at trivia tonight, but said Garbriella had been quarantined to her room. She had a fever and respiratory infection so they didn’t want her out and about on the ship. Roy said her fever was gone and she hoped to be released from quarantine tomorrow. After dinner, it was back to the casino where Val continued her winning ways and me, my losing ways. We got bad news earlier in the evening from the captain who said he had erred in setting the clocks back last night and so we had to give it back tonight which means an hour less sleep. The captain giveth and the captain taketh away.
When we returned to our room after the casino we went right to bed as we have a tour tomorrow and have to be off the ship by 8:30. Since we will lose an hours sleep tonight, we thought it wise to get to be early. Tomorrow we will be in Santarem, the first of six straight port days on the Amazon.