The boys and I spent the last week in the Amazon forest. It was a good time & probably the last time any of us will be in this place. We stayed at the EcoPark, about an hour and a half outside Manaus on a branch of the Rio Negro (Black River).
The Rio Negro is black, as it name implies and it is a better place to be than many places in the Amazon basin, since there are fewer bugs. The Rio Negro flows through some swamps, where the water drops its silt and acquires an acid character. It is a mild acid, about as strong as black coffee, which it kind of resembles. This is enough to make life more difficult for insects. I was surprised at how few mosquitoes were around. I guess that is why.
A bus from Manaus takes you to a dock on the Rio Negro and the EcoPark picks you up in a small boat. There is a drier and a wetter season in this part of the Amazon basin and the river is high this time of year. This means that forests are flooded, sometimes several meters deep. This is a regular event and a good time for fish, since they can go into the erstwhile forests to find food and try to avoid becoming food for others by hiding in the trees.
The rivers are variable. They get very wide and then narrow out depending on the rain. The flood is part of the life of the river. The Mississippi used to be like this before we built all the levies and channels, although the Amazon is even bigger. On the downside, for us at least, the wet season allows the fish and animals to spread out where we can’t see them as easily. We went fishing for piranha. The boys and I didn’t get any. The guides told us that they were out there but more in the flooded forest. Evidently they are not as numerous or aggressive as they seem to be in movies.