Keep on rollin'

Day 10: Old black water, keep on rollin’

I awoke at 6:58am after about 9.5 hours in a real bed. There’s a hammock right outside our room, to where we thought Eric might be banished, but that proved unnecessary. All 3 of us are refreshed and ready to attack the breakfast buffet. I enjoyed scrambled eggs with tomatoes and chives, a variety of cheeses, and coffee.

Lobby aka common room
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

Dining room

Breakfast buffet
photo credit: Maurice Ribble
This place is essentially a Myst game
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

While awaiting the muster for our all-day Rio Negro cruise, I caught up on yesterday’s blogging. Then onto the “big” boat, which is about the same size as the Com te Isaac, maybe a few feet wider and longer. At least it seems bigger, since the entire upstairs is an open deck, without an enclosed cabin in the front half like Isaac.

photo credit: Maurice Ribble

Fancier wheelhouse

We headed upstream first, past Nova Airão, the western-most town on the Amazon (Rio Negro tributary) reachable by car from Manaus.

Guide with map of national park

For the 2nd half of the morning we got on the small boat, same as the one we were on last night, to travel back downstream through narrower channels amidst the many islands of the Rio Negro archipelago.

Headed through the channels
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

Loner bird 1

Loner bird 2

Loner bird 3

Toucans prefer twos

Party of 5 Macaws

When the guide asked if we wanted to swim, Eric literally jumped at the opportunity. He was in the water before the boat even came to a halt. He set off the man overboard alarm. We all had a good laugh.

Man overboard

Bombs away!

Natural habitat

Eventually we reached Base I, the only remaining inhabited residence in the National Park, staffed by 2 rangers. As recently as 2 years ago there were 16 rangers spread over 4 bases, tasked with protecting the Amazon from hunters, anglers, and tree harvesters. Due to government corruption, not only has Brazil cut its funding such that only two rangers remain, and their hours/salaries each cut in half, also the international donations from countries like Norway have been diverted into Brazilian officials’ pockets. (This is all according to our guide, but I have no reason to doubt it.)

Ranger Eric

All your base are belong to us

Rangers making their lunches

And then there was one...

After signing Base I’s guest book, we got back in the little boat and motored back to the big boat where tables were set elaborately, and lunch was waiting. Delicious fish, rice, steak for those who like it, fruits and mousse for dessert, and extra nice coffee.

Hey, no laughing!
photo credit: Maurice Ribble
Beautiful boat lunch
photo credit: Maurice Ribble
As long as Eric doesn't fall asleep in any more hammocks...
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

After we returned from the big boat ride, Eric, Moe and I played a card game called Citadels. It was fun, but Moe won. So we’ll need a rematch.

After dinner we did a night hike. Long pants, gators, and headlamps. We saw a pretty rad tarantula, a few leaches, and leaf cutter ants.

Sheriff Hopper


The best part was when we all shut off our lights and had to make our way the last stretch of the hike through the jungle in the dark. Fun times. 😬

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