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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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CHAPTER VI

Travel from Barra do Rio Negro to the Madeira River
to visit the Mundurucus and Maues Indians,
and return to Belem do Para

Before the day of our meeting in Barra do Rio Negro, letters had arrived from

Rio Madeira and Barra do Negro

Belem do Para, giving news of the next departure of a Brazilian fleet to Lisbon, and telling us to abbreviate our stay here, so that we could return to Europe in those ships, thus reaching the homeland, before the beginning of winter. The embarkation of our numerous collections was soon treated with the utmost diligence, and within a few days we were ready for the journey. The most difficult problem was the transport of an important collection of live animals, especially monkeys, parrots and mutuns.

Humboldt-Bonpland collections

We took to Belem do Para some eighty-odd animals (of which fifty-seven arrived safely in Munich), and a few hundred of the most wonderful living plants that were suspended around the canoe, in woven baskets of cipo, where in fact the plants had much to suffer with the disturbances of long and stormy journey. The governor of the province of Para and several inhabitants showed us the same friendly interest, which helped to make our stay on the Rio Negro pleasant, until the time of our departure. Many boats accompanied us down the river to the farm of Mr. Corte-Real, where we partook of a delicious lunch, and soon we bid farewell to the inhabitants of this remote region, hoping that there would be a vast settlement and lively commerce in the future, assured by the most beautiful and generous nature of the area. Our Indians needed to row diligently, since the Rio Negro was still too shallow, to let us run fast; but we had just seen the strange spectacle of the struggle between the dark waters of the Negro and the whitish yellows of Solimoes.

Meeting of Rio Negro and Solimoes

So we were already within the most important channel of the impetuous Amazon; therefore, their efforts were rendered unnecessary, and the chain of the current carried us swiftly downstream.

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