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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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We arrived at the high and steep beaches of the Matari, which, by the double drain of the relatively small Matari river, become islands. While there existed once in these islands a village run by the mercenaries, which still bears testimony with some low-back huts, everything had, however, returned to the primitive jungle, and, instead of those religious saints, there were installed some families of wandering Muras.

Only a few decades, in this country, are enough for the limitless power of nature to overcome man's work. On the southern side, there were sand islets, which emerged from the waters, and in which flocks of all species of aquatic birds were seen. Their confusing shouting came to us, and they did not seem to be frightened by any noise, nor by the approximation of men. The fight is constant between the big Garcas and the Ducks, and the small white Garca watches quietly in a tree. On another island, a large alligator lay dead, round which the vultures flew. Our Indians made us observe that a great Urubutinga (1) had rightly flown from there, leaving the field free for others.

Cathartes Urubutinga, the Vulture

Vultures

The higher the cliffs were raised, the more the difficulties of navigation increased, by increasing the current. It became particularly impetuous above the tip of Matari,

Crossing the mouth of the Madeira

so that, only by means of ties tied in the bank were we able to advance the canoe. At a point, where the river was swirled around a wall of sandstone more than 20 feet tall, two strong cables were tied to the trees on the bank and on the mast of the bow, and, despite the brute strength of our Indians, we spent many hours to conquer the current. After noon, the journey continued in the same way, while the mount, in the front, carried the cables to the shore; We judged ourselves fortunate, to see the fresh East wind unexpectedly blowing, which began to tame the waters of the river. Sadly, the sky soon afterwards, was all covered with black clouds; The waves of the river were captured, arriving at a great height, and the whirlwind came along, accompanied by dreadful thunder bolts.

Within three minutes, the clear day had become so profound a night, that only in the light of the lightening did we recognize the shore; And though we had the fortune to unfurl the sail, the gale then full force, accompanied by rain, shot us upriver with the quickness of an arrow, so that in a few minutes we made almost half a league. We succeeded, however, with the canoe finally saved on the shore,

and we also saw, rejoicing, that the canoe suffered no damage from the

(1) Urubutinga, this and, "Urubu branco ", is best known as "Urubu-rei ". To this Cathartes papa (called after the scientist of the beautiful Bird) also gave the Indians the appealing name of Urubu-Rubixa,. “, “ Chief Vulture ". (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. and Geogr. Bras.).

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