Friday, April 3, 2009

The Brasilian Amazon, part 4: The River

We saw two species of dolphins while on the Amazon, the pink (called boto rosa in Brazil) and grey (Tucuxi) dolphins. The Tucuxi dolphin pictured above lives in large social groups and is therefore slightly easier to photograph. We did not have any luck photographing the more solitary pink dolphins but you can watch somebody else's short video on youtube below. Twenty years ago the boto rosa was considered one of the least endangered dolphin species in the world but unfortunately increased industrialization in the Amazon basin has encrouched on its habitat and it is now considered one of the most endangered species of dolphins.

On our first night on the Amazon we ran into a large storm. Our boat got stuck in a giant whirlpool and spun around. As we were lying in our cabin getting ready to go to sleep, water started pouring through the slots in our door like a mini waterfall. Josh laughed as Laura frantically picked up all the bags from the floor. When Josh finally got up and opened the door to go and see what was going on, the wind was blowing rain at a ninety degree angle. He found most of the other passengers were wearing their lifejackets and as he approached them a man ran up to him and gestured to put a lifejacket on.

A few months earlier over 150 people died when their lancha tipped over just outside of Manaus (hence the strict navy inspection in part 1) and it was apparent that this was on the minds of the people onboard. The next day one of the crew members told our friend that this was the most dangerous situation the boat has gotten into in the 7 years he has worked onboard. Luckily our video never had to be salvaged by scuba divers. Below is a video we took once the storm started to subside.

We said goodbye to our fine ship Itapuranga III in Tabatinga, Brasil, which borders Leticia, Colombia, and Santa Rosa, Peru.

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