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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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temporal (1); despite the mast with the broken sail, we are sorry only for the loss of some parrots, which, in that confusion, were thrown from the bow to the river.

The instant thunderstorm, the most violent we have had to experience on the whole river trip, confirms the need for more rigorous observation of the variations of time in that river. This time it was mere chance that the canoe propelled upriver and not against the cliffs, where, without a doubt, it would have crumbled and shipwrecked with us. The temporal period had a considerable influence on temperature. The thermometer was lowered to 18 ° R., and it remained the whole night. Both we and the Indians felt cold, and even the insects seemed to resent the cold, for with redoubled fury they sought to intrude on our clothing.

The sky, clouded by day by dark and heavy clouds, took on a grayish blackness during the night, and in the solitude of nature there was such melancholy that I do not even attempt to describe it. Likewise, we had to fight four days with alternatives of sweltering heat, dreadful storms, and cold, gloomy nights; with the absolute lack of wind, sails are useless. It seemed to us that from day to day the impetuosity of the stream increased as much as the banks of clay increased. Neither the vegetation nor the kingdom of the animals had any variety. Poor settlers, Indians and Mamelukes approached us, on mules, to exchange with us turtles for a little cachaca.

They looked like careless people without need; their solitary huts appeared here and there, and the small plantations of tobacco and cotton showed the most complete lack of ambition. On the afternoon of October 20, we cut the river between the islands to the south bank, to avoid the violent rapids of Jatauarana

Jatauarana river

west of the Tabocal inlet, formed by clayey ravines and relatively high on the northern side. The river, in this place, was already without islands, and was perhaps a league wide. The lofty, shrouded banks, along with a few scattered huts, were a delight to our eyes. The government had established a second post on this site because of the bladder epidemic. We found here a letter from the Governor, Major Manuel Joaquim do Paco, in response to the petition that we left in Vila Nova, and he welcomed us to his province. Therefore, there was no further impediment to the continuation of our trip to Barra do Rio Negro.

Santarem to Ega and Barra do Rio Negro

We embarked at the mouth of the Lake of El Rei, and we saw on the northern side another high bank, the coast of Puraquecuara (electric eel hole).

Puraquecuara (electric eel hole)

There is abundance here in the stoney pits on the bank; and, on the same day, we obtained two of these large eels, harvested by the Indians of our crew.

Puraquecuara coast

1) A temporal is a violent thundersterm that comes from every direction at once. C.C.

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