Remember the Rainforest 1
is dangerous; we proceeded, then, to the Iraria, for another two days' journey downstream, and finally to the Limao basin, half a league above Vila Nova da Rainha, and then again we returned to the Amazon. We found in Vila Nova some natural curiosities, which Mr. Seixas had ordered for us; among them the great oyster of the river (in Tupi, ita-yryry), that appears in the fluvial shoals and in the lakes. The Indians use them as food, being convenient; but sometimes, probably when there are poisonous plants on the shore, their use produces pains in the belly and other discomforts.
Ostrea edulis, the oyster
On the banks of the river, there were now strange forms of freshwater polyp.
The village was just then full of Indians, who had brought flour and guarana pastes to sell.
Their vessels were small, each garbed with only four paddlers, and loaded with goods, to the point of sinking. We bought a few pounds of guarana, at $ 1,000 each, market price. The Amazon was, on this occasion, still in considerable flood, and navigation downwards required great caution. We had a large bundle of palm leaves, about two feet wide, around the edge of the boat, in order to improve the balance, and to give the rudder half a foot in the breadth. After these preparations, we gladly rode the mighty current, which carried us down so quickly, so that at the end of an hour we had behind us the hill of Parentim, which forms the border between the provinces of Rio Negro and Para, and on the morning of the second day we sighted the northern bank at the Port of Obidos.
Port of Obidos
View of Rio Amazon from Obidos
The width of the river in this place, the only narrowing along the whole course of the Amazon from the western frontier of Brazil to the ocean and the point more towards the west where the strength of the high and low seas is still observed, the Portuguese say are of 869 “bracas", according to the trignometric measurement, made by the Limits Commission.
The current does not allow probing in the middle of the river; but by the shore I observed a depth of twenty bracas; for this reason, the vessels do not fit well in the village of Obidos, where the bank rises, steep and without vegetation, a hundred feet high; a little further on, however, boats can be tied to the trees.
Obidos (called Pauxis by the Indians), as for constructions, industry and commerce, is comparable to its neighbor, Santarem, although somewhat less populated. The most important