After visiting Sao Felix today and having to leave to spend the night docked in the middle of the river, I realized just how alive the Amazon nights are. Out on deck it is fine to go in the dark with a flashlight in case you need it. You just do not want to have to turn it on for any length of time. The many large flying critters will find you by the light. It is very loud at night as well. The river is alive with all sorts of strange sounds. Mostly it was the sounds of frogs that was deafening all night. I loved it. It was my intention to record a night on my cell phone but I forgot! Sometimes there was the occasional loud flip flop sound from something big in the water. Could it be the beautiful and elusive pink dolphin or large deadlycaiman? You just did not want to know about the last one. Well, it could be a very large fish like the Pirarucu that could take off an arm it it wanted to.
For the most part, my cabin mates and I learned to leave the cabin lights off when we went in and out to go to the bathroom because the very second it was on and the door opened, the bugs just flew into the light enmasse . No matter how hard we tried to minimize the bugs, there were always bugs in my bed and there were odd and pretty bugs in the room. I was always ready to yell, “where is my boot?” To kill it. Virginia on the other hand was always saying, “No. I will get it.” And she did. Virgina was the bug whisperer. She would collect whatever large and most different creature it was in her hands and place it gently outside so that it would live to bite another day. Finally all in the cabin referred all the bugs to her. She even had dragon flies landing on her during the day and visiting on her for long periods of time. I did get a very blurred picture of this but, it was so blurred I will not post it. My hand must have slipped on that picture.
Me in the cabin….no in the domain of the bug whisperer
This is right before bed. I had the top bunk. See that stool? It was hard for Sue and I to get up and down so we stole a plastic stool. She did. I had no idea where it came from. She had it in our room one day. It stayed the entire trip. We used it daily between the two of us.
I came prepared for bugs. I had gone to Passport health and purchased the “mosquito kit” that was recommended when I got all those shots. It had odorless repellent and a small bottle of sting ease in it. I loaded up on repellent daily. I even treated my clothes with that special repellent as well. Plus I had Joan at the church praying for me…no bites. She told me that was her constant prayer while I was gone..that I would not be bitten. I did not get a single bite when I was there. Not one. I did not even encounter a single mosquito flying around me at all.
Sue on the other hand stepped into a mound of large ants and her foot was stung multiple times. She had a terrible itch and she mentioned it to me. I whipped out my bottle of sting ease and allowed her to use it. She did get some relief.
I remember getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Nancy and I and I think Virginia as well and the boat was docking someplace else. We watched as they used a large searchlight to check the water level, check the land and finally move in close to tie up to some trees in the middle of no-where. It was amazing because the Amazon river is not charted, hence the need for the searchlight. With it all being flooded forest and farmland beneath us, that is just forest and farm land most of the year when the water is low, there are not navigational charts like we think of in America. So search lights and depth finders are used. After staying on deck for awhile, the boat moved in closer to a small strip of land and Isaac got out and tied us up to a tree stump. Even at night the scenery is beautiful. Back to be bed we all went! Sue did not wake up. She was sleeping a very sound sleep.