Before we started our tour we wandered through the zoo in the resort complex! We saw a jaguar, monkeys galore (some even out of the cages) toucans, capivara and other local animals. The capivara was so cute. The four of them follow each other so well! The first one goes in the hut while the next one in line waits its turn. Then the line moves up and the second one goes in while the next one waits! And continues until they are all in the hut. Then they come out, one by one again and go into the water, one by one! So cute!!! We felt so sorry for the monkeys in the cages as they looked so unhappy. But it was an impressive collection for a hotel! We then met our tour guide Marco, and boarded a ferry boat for a "Meeting of the Waters" cruise. What a wonderful lazy way to spend the day! We followed the River Negro (I imagined so named for its chocolate colour) to where it meets the yellow grey waters of the Rio Solim'es. The two rivers then form the mighty Amazon and run for over 6 km without the two colours mixing, the reason being that the River Negro is more acidic than the Amazon however the Amazon is full of parasites that are quite nasty. The widest part of the Amazon is 19 km and the narrowest is 4 km spanned at this point with a stunning looking bridge. It is 6000 km from where it starts in Peru to its end in the Atlantic Ocean. The river floods quite often, usually about 15 m which it did this year. It still hasn't receded completely.
We had lunch at a local floating restaurant and tasted some delicious local fish. We then tried our hand at piranha fishing with bamboo poles and beef for bait! The idea is to slap the water with the pole to make lots of noise to attract the fish. Alas I was the only one that caught a fish and only a little catfish at that! We wandered down to the river and saw lots of monkeys in the wild. They also had huge water lilies that grow up to 1.8m wide and have thorns on the underside so that fish don't eat the leaves.
On the return trip it really looked like it was going to storm and we saw a few bolts of lightening. Interesting that it stayed on the other side of the river! Marco said only 30% of the rain ever gets to the ground before it has evaporated. It was a quite steamy and humid 32c today and then it dropped about 12c when we passed the rain.
Our guide is a university lecturer and researcher. His knowledge is amazing and he has been telling us of the strategies that the Brazilians are using to keep improving their eco system and learn more about the rainforest to ensure its sustainability.
We were greeted at our Eco lodge (right on the river) with a cocktail. Dont know what was in it but it was ver nice!! The lodge also has lots of nature walks through it which we will explore tomorrow.
After dinner we watched a great movie about the Amazon, from its start in Peru as a tiny waterfall coming out of a crack in the rock to its widest part and then to the mouth. Our guide lent us torches for the walk to our cabins as on one tour that he had someone nearly walked on a snake while they were returning to their cabin.