Monday, August 25, 2008

On the boat -- Day 1, 8/17

Two half-submerged trees are going by our cabin window. The river is up about as high as the place where the trunk first splits into the first branches, maybe fifteen feet or so. I really have no idea how deep it is in these channels.

We woke up this morning early, for our second exciting breakfast buffet, courtesy of the Hotel Tropical. Funny fruits and exciting blended juices, as well as a sort of tapioca flour omelette, were among the highlights this morning. We met our guides for the next week or so, as well as our fellow adventurer-passengers, in the hotel lobby at 7, handed off our bags to some porters, and walked out and down to the river, to our boat. Three levels tall, and roughly 60' stem to stern, the Tucano impressed me some at first, moored 60 meters from the shore. We were picked up in smaller wooden canoes and taken to the boat, and Jessica and I were assigned to a lovely cabin on the first level, out the windows of which I minutes ago watched the half-sunk trees flowing by.
Most days will include no fewer than three excursions off of the boat, two in the smaller canoes, through smaller channels and parts of the submerged forest, and one by foot together. We've already had our first of these canoe trips, on which we saw five or so species of brightly colored -- though mostly small -- birds, several pretty flowers, and some locals doing their washing. A second trip will be going out in an hour. The typical day on the boat will begin with a knock on the door at 5:30, followed by the first excursion out in the canoes at 6. Breakfast at 8 or so will be followed by the day's walking trip at 10:30. Lunch at 12:30 and a short siesta (which I have just enjoyed), and then on some days an afternoon excursion, to a village or a beach or something else. At night, after dinner, there will some days be still another trip out in the canoes.
I'd largely managed to resist building up any kind of expectation about what this boat or this river and it's creatures might be like (let alone questions as to the food on board, the daily schedule, our guides or fellow passengers), and on all counts I find myself -- at this point anyway -- really pleased and excited. Lengthier descriptions of the boat, the crew, and our companions will surely follow, but now I should probably get back out on the deck. The jungle is going by right outside.

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