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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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a period of six hours, torrents of water and a flood like wildfire. As the open canoe filled with water halfway down, we saw with deep disgust that, while still in port, the fruits of our tribulations threatened to sink. When, in Bahia, a few days later, we opened the “coffins”, we found that those few deadly hours had destroyed part of our collections, particularly the herbariums.

As this terrible storm prevented us from leaving the port of Sao Felix at dawn,

Sao Felix

we were compensated in the morning trip with the view of the enchanting shores of Paraguacu, which shone in the bright sunshine.

Rio Paraguacu

Nothing could seem more beautiful to the traveler accustomed to the sadness of the backlands than these verdant, mostly carefully planted hills upon which there were varying rows of chapels, extensive farms, manicured farms, millhouses, slave quarters, blacks and fishermen's shacks, as well as a dark undergrowth of bushes, taking turns with groups of scattered coconut palms.

The river, near the Engenho da Ponte, two leagues below Cachoeira, widens, forming like a pond, in which many fishing and cargo canoes move in all directions, indicating how active the trade is, in this pleasant region. The village of Maragogipe, a rich village located at the bottom of this bay, is no small competition for the lively traffic with the city of Bahia, because in its fertile surroundings there is a large number of sugar mills. Mr. Ferreira da Camara (whose son, as well as the mill manager Mr. Venancio da Costa, an educated miner) is pleased with the yield of his cane fields, as the mill, well-installed by the water's edge, annually exports 10,000 arrobas of sugar to the capital. Two machines, one of them pulled by oxen and the other powered by water,

Sugar mill

Water-powered sugar mill

grind not only the cane of the farm itself, but also many neighboring farmers who have no mill. After a day of rest in this beautiful place, we continued the trip, in the open canoe, to the city of Bahia, and soon we were transported out of the black waters of the river to the green waves of the great bay of Todos os Santos.

Bay of Todos os Santos, today the port of Salvador

The low beaches of this extensive bay and its numerous islands are covered by thick red mangrove forests (Rhizophora Mangle, L.);

Rhizophors mangle

Farther up and farther away, the view delights in the happy mutation of scenes, like those of Paraguacu. We could not, however, indulge in these pleasant impressions for a long time, because the wind suddenly shifted northward, and the sea began to shrink to such an extent that the danger to the vessel disastrously influenced our shaken nervous system, and we were happy to be able to reach the island's anchorage near noon

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