As the Amazon (called Solimoes by Brazilians), meanders through marshy flat land, the equatorian sun (we are only 2 degrees south) evaporates tons of water into the saturated windless atmosphere. Everything is so hot, humid and heavy that the water looks like a lazy thick brown cream even though it is actually flowing quite fast.
Clouds begin to accumulate as the warm colours of the afternoon sun add to the beauty of this great river.
A first thunderhead announces that a storm is brewing.
Life goes on undisturbed aboard the Don Manoel. There is'nt much to do to beat the heat and pass the time, some drink beer and watch the bar's satellite TV on the upper deck, some stare at the forest, others chat, a few read but most just doze in their hammocks.
This little monkey is providing a welcome diversion to my friend Cesar Fonseca and to myself. Cesar was good company as he was one of the few aboard who spoke Spanish. There was also a Swedish couple, they spoke English and were friendly enough but they spent most of the time on their backs, reading in their hammocks!
Here we dropped a couple of passengers and took on still more bananas. I watched and enjoyed speaking English with a Lebanese clothes merchant who, after Manaus, was going on overland all the way to to Sao Paulo in the south.
We had a few good showers before getting here but after Boa Fonte (Good Spring) it rained and thundered for a day and a half until we approached Manaus.
A lull in the storm let me take this telephoto shot of a riverboat going upstream and hugging the shoreline to avoid the current while we whizzed by in the middle of the river.
Plastic shower curtains were let down when the rain got heavy. Then, there was even less to, no staring at the forest and no watching TV with a beer because the bar on the unsheltered top deck had to close.
Sunrise after 36 hours of thunderstorms and driving rain.
Fishing is supposed to be good after a storm, even with nets. This photo shows well the enormous amount of vegetation torn away and carried downstream by the Solimoes.
There was more traffic as we approached Manaus. Out here, river boats replace trains, busses, cars and bicycles not to mention horses and donkeys!
Finally we reach the confluence of the Rio Solimoes with the Rio Negro. The meeting of the waters is sharply defined as the two rivers flow side by side in the same riverbed without mixing for several kilometers.
Notice how the Rio Negro looks black compared the yellow pea soup of the Solimoes (it is actually clear and brown like rusty water).
You can see a big ocean going ship lying at anchor behind this river boat trying to race us into Manaus. (We won.)