Exploring a new continent

Travel time: March - June 2010  |  by Dominik Weber

7 - 10 April Amazon River Boat trip

In Santa Rosa, there were two boats that day. Both had three decks (one for cargo and two for passengers), one was slightly larger, after a short negotiation both had the same fare, but one was more open, so I chose that one. You had to chose where you want to hang your hammock: either on the lower deck, with is more closed, or the top deck which is open and covered with plastic over night (since it gets pretty chilly there during the night). You can choose between loud and close to the TV (lower deck, front), warmer but even louder because of the nearness to the engine (lower deck, back), quiet but chilly (upper deck, front) or louder (upper deck, back). Since I wanted to see a lot and I am not talking about TV, I decided for a place on the upper deck near the front. Initially, I was alone on the upper deck, but during the trip the number of people will change - the lower deck was rather cramped.
Apart from the first night, we got three meals per day. Most of the time chicken - which was fresh. I don't know if it got slaughter on deck, but I saw them being plucked in the morning. So we had fried chicken with rice and soup in the evening (two chicken feet were swimming in it) . Breakfast was somekind of cacao with rice. Actually, all of it was pretty good. And it was served by a guy who always said Allemaña when he saw me.
I enjoyed the tour very much. We had some rain, but it was so beautiful seeing the landscape, the stars in the night, the clouds and the sun during the day, the forest on the right and on the left. And most important, it was very relaxing to be away from all hazzle and buzz.

One more thing: the size of the river is enorm! And once we were in a little village, you see that the Amazon is very important for everybody there: it is there to wash the cloth, to brush the teath, to be drunk, a source of fishing and of course, a "street".
From time to time, even in the middle of the night, we stopped suddently since there was a village where we got some new cargo. Sometimes just an old fridge, laid on its back and filled with fish and ice. But it never took long, there were about 6 guys just for handling the cargo.
Why exact, I haven't figured out, but I think it was an engine failure, in any case, we took a second ship on top of ours, so this two-ship-train was slowly going up stream. I am not sure if this was the reason that we took 3 nights and 4 days to make these about 400km (instead of 3d/2n), but I arrived one day later than expected. I had no problem with that at all, there was no flight waiting for me this time!
I am not telling the story that one day a tree log got stuck in the propeller and the guys were jumping and diving in the brown river to get it off. It only took them 5 minutes to remove it, but almost two hours to get off the sand bank on which we got stranded in the meantime.
After 4 days, you will know everybody on board. Since my Spanish is still very basic, I could only speak with one person. He was from Brazil and could speak some Spanish and some English. Well, enough for a small conversation. No, I won't say that he was going to Peru in order to buy kokain and to bring it back to Brazil and I won't tell that he will get $150 per kilo for the transport, but I will tell you (in the next chapter) that he was very helpful when we arrived in Iquitos at 6 am in the morning.

I decided to take the right boat, the Aquiles

I decided to take the right boat, the Aquiles

The first officer at the steering wheel. Beside the wheel, there was one stick for machine forward/backwards and one for the speed. That's it. And during the night, they relied on their eye vision and one strong hand lamp...

The first officer at the steering wheel. Beside the wheel, there was one stick for machine forward/backwards and one for the speed. That's it. And during the night, they relied on their eye vision and one strong hand lamp...

The swim vestes were securely stored.

The swim vestes were securely stored.

My view for most of the day. When I didn't sleep

My view for most of the day. When I didn't sleep

The load: a fridge with fresh fish covered with a blue plastic and platanos.

The load: a fridge with fresh fish covered with a blue plastic and platanos.

"Alemañia"!

"Alemañia"!

At every stop, we were greeted by the entire village.

At every stop, we were greeted by the entire village.

Only one of the beautiful sunsets during the journey.

Only one of the beautiful sunsets during the journey.

The log (about 10m long) that got stuck in the propeller.

The log (about 10m long) that got stuck in the propeller.

The crowd that welcomed us in Iquitos.

The crowd that welcomed us in Iquitos.

© Dominik Weber, 2010
You are here : Overview The Americas Peru 7 - 10 April Amazon River Boat trip
The trip
 
Description:
After working for too long without a real break, I decided to go on a long planned backpack trip. After changing the departure date and the destination several times, I decided to go to South America. Starting in Colombia, then Peru and finishing in Bolivia. At least, this was the plan but once on tour, you never know what to expect. This report is for all people asking how I am doing, but also for those who are thinking about doing something similar. I hope I can inspire them.
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 19, 2010
Duration: 13 weeks
End of journey: Jun 15, 2010
Travelled countries: Colombia
Peru
Bolivia
The Author
 
Dominik Weber is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 11 years.
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