I woke a couple of times to the sound of heavy rain and quietly chugging engine. It was cold with our air con switched on. We turned it off eventually but were pretty hot by morning with Lara and me snuggled on the bottom bunk.
There’s no porthole so it was amazing to open the door at 7.30am and see blue sky, river and jungle rushing by outside!
Wow! What a day!!
We’ve got lucky with the boat, the weather, the cabin, the hammocks, the food! All way above expectations. The plumbing was all working fine too as long as you can be content with your shower and tap water being a little brown!
The forums and blogs and articles we read about this trip must have stood us in good stead and done well to manage our expectations. Making sure to ask for cabins away from the Cafe and on the outside, knowing where best to hang your hammock, getting to the boat at least 6 or 8 hours early (well that was tough but still worked well for us getting the booking problems sorted and being front of the queue!). We were prepared for the worst and barely hoped for the best. The Amazon Star is amazing. I’d loaded this cool set of maps on my phone so we can track our passage through the waterways – the way they are navigating through the many channels is amazing, sometimes on wide open river, sometimes weaving through much narrower waterways.
We’re sometimes on wide open water and other times navigating through narrow channels in between.
We make occasional stops at small towns that appear, where some passengers and cargo depart and others board. But we’re mostly surrounded by brown water edged by dense green vegetation with an occasional small village or home tucked away on stilts. We find we keep reaching for the camera.
As they see us approaching, little boats or dugout canoes pull out and alongside as we pass. Many contain young children and babies and crew and passengers threw out plastic bags to them with food as apparently they are so poor they rely on these bags to help feed them. Other motorised canoes pull alongside or behind and daringly throw a rope over a tyre on the boat and attach themselves to climb aboard and sell shrimps or other goodies to the passengers!
There a two options for lunch, we opt for the expensive self service buffet (about £4) and its pretty good, chicken, meat, spaghetti, potato salad, fruit juice, as much as you can eat!
Ben is making lots of new friends – they have got themselves the job of official can crushers using a special contraption and he is somehow managing to chat away with people, exchanging English words for Portuguese.
He’s chuffed to bits to buy a little laser torch and makes friends with the guy who set up a little table selling various bits d bobs! Later the man engraved ‘Benny’ on a pen and gives it to him!
Zoe is busy too, tying up rope to make swings for Lara, shinning up poles in the bar and monkeying across the high horizontal bars. She’s keen to befriend the poor children from local villages and give them something, but they seem not to be getting on the boat as we anticipated, just waiting out on the river. She confidently follows two little girls selling shrimp who must have got on at the last stop and she tries to communicate with them using sign language and smiles. She would have been too shy to do this a couple of weeks ago.
It’s pretty warm and after lunch we are starting to flag when we discover there is a row of showers switched on at the front of the boat on the top deck for washing/bathing, sprinkling gallons of river water. This is the icing on the cake! We cool off under the showers, watching the sights of the river and chat to the other passengers, well, they chat and we smile and shrug and try our best to get the gist of what they’re telling us! They offer their snacks to us – like pickled palm hearts – mmm! The girls have a hoot sliding around on the drenched deck!
Time for a drink in the bar before another supper – (leftover buffet lunch I suspect) cost, £2 – rice, spaghetti, meat and chicken in a foil tray, we probably only needed 2 between us as the portion is huge!
We turn in quite early, Ben and Zoe eager to stay in the hammocks again so Martin, Lara and I were in the cabin.
What a fab day. I hope the rest of the journey is this good!!