Photo of the Amazon Queen sent by Pactor III, Kenwood TS 450S, wire dipole antenna, and 40 watt's of power from( 04 40' N 074 00'W ),Bogota Colombia.
The Captain preparing for the upcoming voyage of the Amazon Queen...this attached picture was originally sent via radio into the internet. Courtesy of Phil
ExplorersWeb on the Amazon Queen
This week, ExWeb is heading to Bogota to check up on Captain Gonzales and his Amazon Queen. American Captain Phil, a former Vietnam veteran, is using his paramedic past to provide tribes along troubled parts of the river with medical aid. Although the situation is improving in the country, Colombia still suffers poverty, drug trade and around 3000 kidnappings each year.
Amateur radio jungle casts
Apart from his work deep in the jungle and his plans to eventually cross 6,000 miles of the river through Peru, Colombia, Brazil and back to Colombia - another interesting detail is the communication tech Phil is using. Whilst the world is abuzz about blogs, podcasts, wireless and satellites - our Amazon Captain has his own ways. Check out the pictures to this story - they were transmitted via not satellite, nor through an internet cafe - but through amateur radio:
- "I must admit there is a unique challenge in being able to transmit by radio, photographs and stories which may rival those of National Geographic... solely for the satisfaction of being able to accomplish this from a wooden ship navigating the rainforest tributaries of the Amazon River," he told ExWeb last year.
This "underground" technology is actually a hobby of people such as ISS Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev, 46, who became the human with the most cumulative time in space a few weeks back. It is especially interesting when combined with the new satellite systems.
In the steps of old steamers and Che Guevara
Above all though, the Captain is a dreamer. On this voyage we're going to search for treasures of the past. There was an old steam ship known as the "Narino" which opened up the region to development around Leticia over 100 years ago. We're going along the Peruvian Amazon to locate the remains of that old steam vessel. We'll be retracing Che Guevara's route to Iquitos, as he did in 1953. He stopped at a leper hospital and is reported to have worked there a short time. We'll have a change to see what is left of the place.
There is also a famous Colombian researcher, Elkin Patarroyo, who has his jungle research center there. He has come up with a 24 % effective immunization for falciparum malaria. His vaccine is now being used in sub Sahara Africa where an estimated 3,000,000 people die each year from the parasite.
All that, and of course - the river - Amazon Queen style.
Who would have though that after so many years of abandonment, that is...after the drug trade moved up north to the region known as the Putumayo, that Leticia would be rediscovered so quickly. Leticia has, however, been one of the hubs along the Amazon for interesting travelers. There have been Russian poets, the rich such as Bill Gates, revolutionaries such as Che Guevara, actors, writers, scientists, missionaries, and mercenaries.