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They cover the rest with their scanty clothes, in order to get rid of the bites of the mosquitoes which everyone feared. Finally they would find serenity. When there were palm trees in the neighborhood, leaves of them were cut to make a roof for a kind of tent, set in circles in the sand.

Iriartea exorhiza

To this end, they preferred, among all, the broad palms of the paxiuba (Iriartea exorhiza, M.). When the camp was uncomfortable, the men talked the whole night, sometimes even argued and laughed; and yet, at the break of day, they were ready to serve the oars. They slept in comfortable places, which we often had to insist they find. For all the strange manners of these primitive men, however, the European traveler must give them credit for their courage and goodwill. I often found myself amazed with the ingenuousness of these poor people, who, not caring where they wanted to go, sailed hundreds of miles to take care of interests that were entirely foreign to them. They were so careless of the idea of profit, they seemed to follow us and protect us simply from the goodness of their hearts.

Island in the Amazon

We had already traveled a day and a half from Vila Nova [now Manaus], without seeing the northern bank of the river, as we continually paddled upstream between low islands.

The islands of sandy beaches were alway extensive, and the tracks of turtles could easily be noticed in them. Whenever we waited for the wind to increase near the sheltered islands, the curiosity of our Indians always found the trail of turtles and their deeply buried eggs.

Turtle egg hunt on the Amazon

In these regions, they brought us more often the eggs of the yellow-spotted turtle (Emys Dumeriliana, Schweig, Emys Tracaxa, Spix)

Emys Tracaxa

than the large turtle (Emys expansa, Schweig, Emys amazonica, Spix). The first egg, elliptical in shape and an inch in length, contains a granular yolk, which, in coffee is substitution for milk, or fried in fat, is very tasty.

Emys amazonica

This is why the colonists prefer the eggs of the so-called big turtle, whose fat is especially good for the preparation of turtle butter, for these and other uses.

Manaus on Google maps

For the departure from Vila Nova [now Manaus], an Indian long domiciled there and belonging to the Mundurucus tribe accompanied us, in his little canoe. His purpose was to bring it home full of turtle eggs. This Indian, when he was walking along the beach, found several families of Muras there, and invited us to enter with him into their temporary lodges.

Perhaps it was for the prideful purpose of representing himself as a hero on a great adventure. The warrior nation of the Mundurucus, who, in the years 1770 and thereafter, had made devastating assaults on the Portuguese colonies of the Tapajos.

Tapajos and Amazon Basin

However, for the last 20 years, thanks to their benevolent treatment, they had maintained relations of friendship with the Germans and until, in a pact of