Remember the Rainforest 1
As if only prodigious facts could impress the dull mind of these primitive inhabitants, also the subject of their narratives only dealt with strange and vague things, and, while they endured with incredible equanimity all the small misadventures of our sailing, they did remember to talk about the Pororoca.
This dread and sudden inundation, that rolls the high waters forward, raises the water like a wall in the various rivers of the province of Para, a thing that certainly must attract even the indolent looks, both because it is imposingly uncommonplace, and it is an inexplicable occurrence,.
The Indians often consider this phenomenon as a devilry of evil spirits. The word in their language means "sea snoring or thundering." The next Pororoca was going to occur in Guama, near the parish of Sao Domingos, the left bank of the river (50 ° 5 ' longitude west of Paris and 1 ° 27 ' south latitude). To observe the phenomenon at that location, we were on our way on the afternoon of August 6th, in a canoe equipped with four Indians. We had only wandered 1 hour by the Guama
Rio Guama today
when terrible thunder broke along the shore obscured by bushes and low trees. We were forced to pull the canoe ashore and stay there until the sunset, waiting for the incessant torrential rain to pass. When the river began its reflux, seeing in front of us only a painful and time-consuming journey into the darkness, and finding ourselves all drenched, we decided to return to Belem and postpone our journey inland for the observation of the Pororoca.
Almost a year later, on May 2, 1820, I alone undertook this trip again. It was the full moon and I could see therefore, in all fullness, the spectacle of the prodigious phenomenon. I departed from Belem at 9:00 at night, and took advantage of the rest of the night, with the favorable movement of the flow, rowing upriver.
Banks of the Rio Guama
The banks of the Guama are low, covered everywhere in dense forests. The river runs, in general, from southeast to the northeast direction. In the middle of the distance between Sao Domingos and Belem, at the point where the small Inhabi river coming from the north joins it and makes a very large curve to the north.
Its width is from 12 to 15 arms, and almost always quite equal; The depth varied, according to our polls: on the margins, between 8 and 12 feet; In the middle of the channel, between 12 and 20 feet. It was considered high tide and it seemed to me at the highest height of the river level, to reach more than one and a half feet. This current, measured with keel bar, gave 35 feet in a minute; The speed of the flow rose from 25. This current is considerable in relation to other rivers; It seems, however, to increase even further as the Guama flows, although this river, while running west, has only low margins, and just beyond the village of Ourem, running from south to north, makes its way through low hills covered in woods.