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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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we arrived on March 2. Mr. Zani, on this return journey, had been so fiercely attacked by fever, and he had been so weakened that I had to separate myself from my brave companion. A letter from my friend Spix informed me that he had left for Ega a few weeks before, and asked me to hurry as quickly as possible.

Rio Solimoes

The Solimoes was now in the greatest flood; all the islands of sand were covered by the yellow waters, and these pushed us so quickly, usually towards the right bank, so that on the second afternoon we were already in Coari.

Before we could touch the shore, a frightful storm fell, encroaching upon the waters of the river, as if they were waves of the sea. We were sailing upstream, with sudden rapidity, and rocking terribly, when suddenly the rudder broke, and the helmsman fell with it from the chamber to the river. The old man was very dear to me, and it was my satisfaction to see him saved, when, in an expeditious manner, he seized the corporal who had been thrown upon him, and who was usually next to the helmsman, to control the boat; so we pulled him to land, free from the whirlwind of the waves. Then the boat was, with happiness, put safely in a cove, where we were waiting for the storm to stop.

There was no way to continue the journey, so I was arranging a new helmsman in Alvelos. On the Lake of Coari we were struck by the second storm, which threw us with such impetuousity among the deep-rooted banks of the river that the boat was almost torn apart by the branches.

Alvelos

In the afternoon, we arrived at Alvelos rescued; repairs were made, and on the lake’s smooth mirror-like surface, under the moonlight, we returned to the mouth, where we hung our hammocks among odorous mirtaceas in bloom.

 

Bertholletia, the Mirtacea family

Totally exhausted, I only just began my sleep, when I awoke with a strange sensation and ran to the Indian camp. There I found that my oarsmen from Japura and Ega had abandoned me, and only three Indians from Belem do Para had been left. This was the last adventure of my arduous experience. Although the small garrison, with difficulty guided the canoe, I went to Manacapuru with happiness, however, and reassured Mr. Zani's family about his condition.

A young Juri from the Coma-tapuia horde, who accompanied us to Munich,

(I) I took advantage of the opportunity of being able to publicly express to my fellow friend my feelings of high regard and recognition. When, shortly after our return home and the departure of the Governor-General, Count of Vila Flor, to Rio, political storms shook the provinces of Para and Rio Negro,.Zani established fortified positions in various parts of the Amazon, and for his courage and perseverance, greatly contributed to the peace of those regions, a value which earned him a Commendation of the Order of Christ and the confidence of the Emperor D. Pedro, who had recently charged him with the formation of the militia regiment

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