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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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The trunks were almost always coated with the most diverse Lichen species;

Lichen pulminarius

And, in addition, singing meadows, covered with grasses, were dominated by tangled flowers. All this reminded us of plants, whose songs we could remember, long ago, in the northern provinces of Brazil.

Singing meadow

There appeared many Myrtles, Malpighias, Apocineas, which characteristically, prefer the dry and sandy regions of the interior, especially the Mogno or Cashew and the Mango. I saw the Mango and a Balsam tree, the Umiri, which I had spotted on the coastal shores of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia.

Myrtus cauliflora

In the deep of the night we departed from the island of Aquiqui seeking to reach the northern tip of the island; But the wind was not strong enough, and we were slowly rowing, because the current of the Xingu, here, is not swift. So thanks to the morning wind of September 12th, we reached the yellow waters of the Amazon, whose shores captured our eyes, because of the diversity of the small islands on the southern side.

Passage from Rio Xingu to Amazon

During the night, we had crossed the eastern mouth of the Urucuricaia: it is known as the widest of the three canals, which receive the waters of the Xingu, the Guajara and the Jaraucu. Soon we entered into the Amazon, navigating along the left bank; We accepted all of the usual dangers, which travelers face when crossing such a river.

A large number of floating debris came toward us, driven by the extreme speed of the current, and they did not let us rest; All the Indians toiled, therefore, by means of dipsticks, to drift them away from the canoe, working sometimes painfully, to push away the floating trunks that two or three times came alongside our vessel. We had conquered the largest and diverted the danger when we passed into the shallow cove of an island; Because of the position of the island, which is traversed by the course of the enormous river, a quantity of sticks had gathered together, either crammed on the beach, or swirling in a whirlpool until by chance they were loosened.

Cecropia peltata

The trunks were mostly of Embauba (Cecropia peltata, L.) and Monguba

(Bombax Munguba, Mart.), and almost all of them were ripped off at the roots. By far the most singular spectacle was offered when at the surface of the water a part of the trunk, and then the rest of the green canopy appeared,; Other trees broke off a great portion from the land, which then became floating islands (1);

But the strangest islands of them all seemed those where animals of all the species were spared, which, in the most calm and satisfying way, made the journey our destination. We saw there dignified storks, beside the monkeys,

who, with the sight of our canoe,

 

(I) The writers who deal with the Amazonian region give three names to these "floating islands"; Murures, Matupas and Periantans. (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. and Geogr. Bras.).

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