After breakfast on our second day out we moved down river to visit an island that has an indigenous community. They were very friendly and the Chief welcomed us. His wife then showed us how they process the manioc or cassava they grow into Farofa (a toasted manioc and flour mixture that Brazilians eat with every meal and looks and tastes to us like sawdust) and Tapioca (cassava starch extracted and formed into flakes or balls).
Some of the local schoolteachers had a pet tapir and several pet macaws.
We also visited the schoolroom.
We also saw the Acai palm trees that grow here in the north of Brazil. These fruits are 80% nut and the flesh is just about 1 mm thick. This explains why Acai is so expensive. The nuts are dyed and made into jewelry and handicrafts.
There are a lot of unusual plants here. One has these red paste covered seeds used as a dye.
After lunch we were supposed to go swimming from the beach, but the rest of the guests had voted to go to the “swim with the pink dolphins”. This was an added expense of 50$ and was not worth it. You did not swim, but 10 people at a time stood on a platform in the water while the staff lured the dolphins with fish. Very touristy trap place that we would not recommend. They also keep these massive fish in pens and you can get them to the surface with a fish on a rope. The sound they make when their jaw clamps down is incredible. We did see quite a few pink dolphins from the boat and the canoes, but they are never up for long.
This afternoon we went into the Rio Ariau area, which is much more populated with wild life. Here we saw many Squirrel monkeys, sloths, hawks, egrets, ibis, toucan, and macaws.
We wandered into marshy area until we could not go further because of the dense vegetation.
The ship met us where it had docked near this crazy jungle hotel. It had 7 towers, but 2 have collapsed. On the net its 600$ a night to stay here! They sunset was awesome from the deck with our gin and tonics.
Today we travelled closer to Manaus as we are headed to the “real” Amazon and the meeting of the waters. This is where the black water of the Rio Negro and the white water of the Amazon meet. They do not mix for over 11 km downstream. This is due mostly to the high clay content of the white water, but also due to the slower speed of the black water.
On the way there we took a short walk in to see the giant water lilies. They bloom white and at night and stay open 1 day. Then they close and re-bloom the next night pink and then they die. The walkway we came in on can be at water level or be just under it in the high water of July. This is a massive ceiba tree and you can see the high water mark. The lilies are just starting to grow, but they will eventually fill the entire lake.
There is a ton of birds here including herons, hawks, and tree crawlers. This guy spent quite a while to kill this fish he did not want to swallow alive.
Manaus is a city of 2.5 million people and cannot expand anymore on the north bank of the river due to flooded area, a protected area, and an indigenous reserve. They just completed the Manaus Bridge from old Manaus to new Manaus. The road goes 100 km south and stops.
We did stay 1 night in the city and this was mostly to see the famous Opera house. It is so humid here they keep the books in the shop in a vending machine.
They were preparing for a carnival like party in the nearby streets, which looked to be mostly heaving drinking.
People come from all over the Amazonas to the markets here to get all kinds of stuff.