Thursday, August 22, 2019

VI - Up the Amazon

The Amazon Basin is huge, covering over 2,400,000 square miles, or about 35.5 percent that of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. Most of the basin is covered by the Amazon Rainforest, also known as Amazonia. With a 2,100,000 square mile area of dense tropical forest, this is the largest rainforest in the world. It is also said to be ‘The Earth’s Lungs’ given this area produces 20% of the earth’s oxygen

The basin is made up of many "Rivers", the Amazon River being the main one. We got on the water in Manaus, a good size city (including the airport we flew into) located very close to the intersection of the Amazon River and the Rio Negro (black river). Instead of going down the Amazon River, we headed north west up the Rio Negro.

Although the Amazon Basin is not heavily populated, the Rio Negro is even more remote. It is a body of water that winds its way through the rainforest. Very few houses or huts (most raised on stilts above the water) are located in this area. We would sometime only see 1 or 2 houses in a given day. 

And even fewer boats.

There were also few villages on the river. The most famous town being Barcelos, known as the largest source of tropical fish, sold world wide for aquariums. Our plan was to make it to Barcelos, but we did not get that far.

So when someone says they went "to the Amazon" it can mean many things. It can be cruising down the Amazon proper which is much more populated and civilized. It can be just visiting one of the major towns in the eastern part of the Basin - Manaus, Santarem, or Macapa (located at the mouth of the Amazon at the Atlantic ocean). Or  going up one of its major tributaries, such as Rio Negro. 

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