Image: Left to right: Alberto, Tina, Luis, Nathan, Marcella, Diana, Syd, Phil, Lelia, Tatiana, Tom, Jose. Left to right: Alberto, Tina, Luis, Nathan, Marcella, Diana, Syd, Phil, Lelia, Tatiana, Tom, Jose.

Out of the Amazon!
14 Sep, 05    0323.3300S,07146.5000W,121M
The last evening in our overdue stay on the Queen was spent in another party with our new Colombian friends. Games and charades, which turned hilarious when lost in translation.

Our small expedition crew has been great. In the film team; Diana, 30, the producer (several productions for Discovery). She smoke the cameraman's (and recent boyfriend's) Cuban cigars whilst supervising an interview with Israelite teenage girls.

Her boyfriend, Luis 35, the cameraman, owns the fifth largest search engine in Colombia. Luis looks and acts like Enzo in the movie Deep blue. He spent four years in Cuba as a correspondent for Ill Tiempo and plans to preserve his head with the Cryonics.

Tatiana, 31, is the anchor and always on camera. A freckled, vivacious beauty - she melts through any resistance. The last shot we have is of her trying on a teenage Israelite girls blue veil, the latter completely ignoring her parents calls for her.

In our other crew, there's Alberto: The cook we found under the stove and then caught doing the dishes whilst everyone else was wading ashore gear overhead at the capsize. 20 minutes later a five course lunch was served.

Jose is our very energetic deckhand who can jump anything anywhere. Nathaniel, 24, is the Captain's mellow nephew from California. He studies Anthropology, does great cannonballs from deck and lousy charades. He is also Tom's frequent swimming partner.

Lelia, 27, is a tough little lady and her Syd, 7, is growing up just like her mother. Syd - the wonder kid - roams the Amazon like a little Indian, and stays cool through anything except when Alberto wants to kill a chicken for lunch. Her only concern at the capsize was that her favo teddy bear washed overboard. Lelia and Jose were briskly commanded to jump into the dinghy and retrieve it.

It's easy to forget the low key Marcela, 31, Syd`s tutor and a true Amazon teacher. In her first adventure outside Bogota, Marcella`s orderly and neat appearance hasn't changed much. She keeps her schooling schedule with Syd no matter what, although she can be caught with a slightly worried glance in her eyes at times.

Captain Phil, 58, well he has his own ways as expected. For a while, we even suspected he sabotaged our departure. The captain however cares for his crew like few. First up and last to bed, after the storm, he dried us all up and tucked us in before going off himself.

Rounding it all up is Estrella, our golden Rhodesian Ridgeback 8 months old, the greatest dog in the Amazon.

But this morning, it was time for our little gang to part. We had alerted the speedboat to watch for us as we motored to Pevo, but suddenly we found ourselves anchored at a riverbend, making it a bit difficult for the speedboat to spot us. As it turned up on the other side of the river, it was clear it wasn't heading our way. "Let's cut it off in the dinghy!" Tom proposed, but there was no effort in that direction. "We should get up on the roof and wave," someone proposed. "No use, they'll never be able to see you," dismissed the Captain.

By now, the speedboat was almost past us. Diana, Tina and Nathan climbed up anyway, yelling and waving bright lifewests and towels. The speedboat continued it's track. "Honk the siren!!!" we now yelled in desperate unison. No siren. POR FAVOR pleaded Tatiana, the siren! At last, we gave signal, but now the speedboat had passed us. Everyone stared in disbelief at the vanishing boat. "Don't stop waving! Don't stop waving!" yelled Tina. All of a sudden, the boat turned around - for us. 30 minutes later we waved goodbye to Phil, Lelia, a whaling Syd, Marcela, Nathaniel, Alberto and Jose. Just as quickly as it had begun - it was over. We were leaving the Amazon river.

At the speed boat, we also learned the true reason for its delay. The authorities found 16 kilos of cocaine on it yesterday. "We suspected the strange foreigners we were supposed to pick up at the river," a staffer told Tatiana. In fact if we had made it as scheduled (we were anchored only 40 minutes away), we would probably be among the main suspects.

The coke was worth 75 thousand here, 1,5 million in NYC, and would have lasted a crew of ten for a daily party over 10 years.

Previous Dispatches

Storm on the Amazon    13 Sep, 05
A few hours after the capsize, we anchored by an Israelite village. The setting was straight out of a Betlehem Hollywood movie: The women wore long blue headcovers, the men had braided hair and beard


Capsized!    12 Sep, 05
A glorious morning found us on another sandbank in the middle of the river. 30 minutes later disaster struck. We had just cast away at around 6 am and headed south. Our last full day on the Queen, we


Fishing    11 Sep, 05
A very hot day landed us at the small village of San Pablo. Kids had built a mudslide into the water and we joined them. They roared with laughter in shock and awe at three fat tourists in the mud. 30