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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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It was then weak in its course (note I). According to news from Acunia, the banks of this river were formerly very crowded. He mentions, in particular, the Cuchiuaras, to which he attributes the cultivation of corn and cassava.

The forests, situated along the low shores are dense and tightly woven; And we did not find here, as in any part, vestiges of ancient plains; Only the great number of palm trees, in the forests of the continent and on the countless islands, can perhaps be regarded as a remnant of that time.

Etching 41

From the Solimoes, to the west of the mouth of the Purus, there was a large bay, whose currents we avoided.

We crossed to the north bank, through the low islands, covered with Espinhais, Embaubas and Canaranas.

Cecropia palmetta, the embauba

Canarana, the Canna

In the mouth of Lake Anuri, we spent a humid night, tortured in our nets, and in the most atrocious way, by mosquitoes. Lake Anuri is abundant with turtles, for which reason the government established here a fishery, which sends two times a month 150 Pecas for Barra do Rio Negro.

Sand was flying on the beach, where the turtles just finished laying their eggs, and all the species of aquatic birds which flew in low circles, released disastrous screams. Groups of jaguars and crocodiles attracted by the amount of prey, traveled incessantly on the beaches, and we saw them all around;

It was necessary to keep large fires burning, to prevent any night assault, fires that we had to activate, mindful of the carelessness of the Indians. After all that, the camp was terrorized, before dawn, by the attack of a large crocodile, who was stalking the chickens, and only with the shouting of the Indians could be stopped.

Crocodillus niger

Thereafter, the frequency of these monsters was generally growing; In large flocks, they lay on the beach or swim in the tranquil waters of the coves.

So we had take a risk bathing in shallow water, where we made the Indians form a circle around us. Among these, there were some, for whom the fight with an alligator was fun. They threw themselves, with an ax in one of their hands and in the other a long knife, into the tranquil current of the river, swam toward the monster, dove beneath him, and struck him, opening his belly. As we rewarded this heroic feat with a bottle of Rum, made the first time without our permission, it was necessary, then, to make explicit prohibition, so that it would not repeat itself.

The island, where we spend the night, takes the name of the basin of Cuchiuara where, 8 leagues west of the Purus, this river is connected with the Solimoes, and, even further, joins on the west with two identical tributaries, the Cojuuana and the Aru or Aru-Parana. The westernmost of these junctions with the Solimoes is at least some twenty leagues from Paratari, the most eastern.

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