Image: Waiting out the storm Waiting out the storm

Storm on the Amazon
13 Sep, 05    0340.0000S,07143.0000W,115M
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. They we muted, eerily friendly people with asian traces in their features

The jungle was cut down. Instead goats, lambs, and donkeys strolled neat dirt paths snaking between orchards and huts with thatched roofs.

A half crest moon rose and people sang a soft song to the beat of handclaps in the large, dimly lit wooden church. They believe the end is near, and offered us shelter for the night. We would come to regret not taking their offer.

Around midnight, a violent storm hit our ship. The wind battled to rip us from shore, the rain was so heavy it soaked us right through our tents. Again we ran to stove our gear below, flatten the tents and try to find a dry spot. Weary from ealier, we all came on deck, standing there wet and cold, beaten by the elements, waiting to jump ship. Wrecks of boats came floating down the river, a tarantel spider hurried between our feet to find shelter.

Surely the Israelites took the storm as just another bad sign, after all - misfortune had brought our ship to them in the first place. It was the worst storm Lelia had ever encountered, she said. The Captain kept spirits up but the faces of the girls showed they`d had enough. The boat rocked hard below the thunder and we just stood there in the darkness, waiting for it to stop.

A few hours later, the storm abated. We set up new tents and covered our wet pads with plastic. We fell into a deep sleep as a tropical rain tapped the canvas for the remains of the night.

The morning brought bad news. The storm had damaged the speed boat. Somehow, we are hijacked by the river. Our original destination went out the window already a few days back.

Now, we are trying to reach at least Pavo, where the speedboat is - but have a hard time to do even that. Used the sat phone to reschedule our plane tickets, and called the speedboat operator to look for us on the river if we don`t make it to Pavo.

Right now, new rainfall is upon us and the shallows waters have waves topped by white foam. The boat slows and jerks with each threat, us on constant alert. Falling into the fast current and strong swirls is not a great idea - forget the Pyranias and crocodiles even. The jungle passes on both sides but we don`t even see it anymore. It`s all about loosing the grip of the brown Amazon river around us right now.

Previous Dispatches

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


5 fish for a woman    10 Sep, 05
The fish in America is nothing compared to the fish in the Amazon, Jose told us. 20-30 kg each, if you catch 2 you don't have to work for a whole month. 5 of them will get you a good woman.

Later dispatches - Previous dispatches