Happy Birthday, Steph!
We actually docked in Manaus at 8PM yesterday, even though we weren’t scheduled to arrive until 8 AM today. We were only about 50 miles upriver, and the captain left his anchorage about 30 minutes ahead of time, then steamed full speed for Manaus. Apparently, we were just about out of fresh water. Although we on a large fresh water river, there is so much silt that the ship’s system can’t handle it. So he loaded fresh water at every port, but with the heat and nearly a full passenger load, it wasn’t enough.
This morning, for our tour, we boarded a river boat and cruised out to the “Meeting of the Waters” where the Rio S and the Rio Negro meet. Because the two rivers are very different – the Negro is acidic, the S is alkaline; the S flows very fast, at 9 knots while the Negro much slower, at only 3 knots; and and the density and temperature vary also. The two rivers flow next to each other for 10-30 miles, depending on the season, the Negro getting narrower and narrower until finally the two have mixed together as the Amazon.
Then we crossed to the other side of the Rio Negro, and into a channel leading into Lake Januarie. There, we transferred to the canoes, and continued to the lake. We got out of the canoes there, and walked along a boardwalk to see the giant water lilies. These can grow to a size of 2 meters. Each plant can have up to about 10 of these giant leaves, but only one flower. The flower starts out white, then darkens slowly to a deep purple before it dies. There is a bird that makes it’s nest on these lilies, and they’re a favorite place for alligators to hide. We did see one alligator, it made a quick appearance under the viewing platform just as we left to go back to the canoes.
We saw a pink dolphin on the way back, but again, they break water very quickly, they’re gone before it’s possible to get a picture.
Back on the ship, we watched the busy pier as we ate lunch poolside. Some of these boats will head down river to Santarem and Belem, and others will head upriver to Peru – a journey of 9 days.
getting out of the canoe.jpg