We boarded the Amazon Star at about 6pm after a day and night of travel from almost half way across Brazil and almost all day waiting for our boat.
It was a bit of a marathon wait! We’d arrived in the docks about 10am direct from the airport to find no boat and no-one who knew anything about our being booked on a boat
although ticket sellers keen to sell us tickets for another boat later in the day! So it didnt look totally bleak, but kids were pretty gutted!
Tired and hot, they slumped on wooden benches and I guarded luggage whilst Martin tried to contact the people we’d booked with. An hour or so later, it was all sorted and he’d got tickets for the Amazon Star.
Due to board at 3pm and sail at 6pm, we had time to go to a nice cool shopping and restaurant place for lunch and ice creams and for Martin to head off to the ‘proper’ market and buy the hammocks and then back to the dock where we waited and waited..
We could just about see the boat from the waiting hall and I must admit it looked pretty shabby! We drank more water, the kids dozed, ran around a bit and got very hot and dozed some more!
Around 5pm the sun disappeared and the heavens opened. Lucky we were under cover but still no boarding.
By 5.30pm, the girls were reaching meltdown – in every sense of the word when suddenly, the shabby boat pulled away from the dock and another much more ‘salubrious’ boat pulled into its place! Yay! This was the Amazon Star!
By 6pm, after a couple of false starts where someone wearing a uniform shouted something and ‘Sergeant’ Clark woke the children and had them put on their packs and line up ready…the gate finally opened and we boarded!
We quickly found our cabin – suite no 6 – just behind the captains deck and well away from the noisy cafe and public washrooms! It’s a cosy bunk room with bathroom, aircon and little fridge. Big enough for 3 of us to sleep in and to store all our luggage securely.
Meanwhile, ‘Bear’ (Grylls) Clark had bagged decent hammock space and strung up our two new hammocks securely, closely followed by the other 150 or so passengers also sharing the hammock room!
The kids got a second wind with all the excitement of boarding and finding that the boat was going to be OK, and they starting making friends straight away with the kids around them and we even had a nice enough dinner in the small canteen – of meat rice and spaghetti which we all devoured.
The bottom deck of the boat was being loaded with cargo and we watched perhaps 1500 huge bags of onions being man handled onboard. Lara and I finally decided it was time to crash out and we headed for our cabin around 9.
We were still in the port and a bit dismayed that the loo didn’t flush and only a dribble of brown river water trickled from the shower. We hoped it would all work better once we were moving!
Martin stayed up a little longer to see the rest of the cargo being loaded and around 9.30 Ben reported to me that we’d set off! Ben and Zoe were keen to take the hammocks and headed off downstairs happily for the night!