Day 54 of 68 – Santarém, Brazil

February 26, 2018 Paul Groves

Our first port on the Amazon was the city of Santarém. A smaller city but fairly modern none the less. Santarém is bordered by the Amazon and the Tapajós rivers. Both run along many kilometers in the front of the city, side by side, without mixing. The Amazon’s milky colored water carries sediment from the Andes in the East, while the Tapajós’s water is somewhat warmer and has a deep-blue tone. This two-toned water is called “The meeting of the waters” by the locals.

From Santarém most of the cities further up the Amazon can only be reached by boat or air, e.g. the city of Manaus. A common form of transportation for the locals is a three-deck ship that travels from city to city. You pay for a tiny air conditioned room, but many people opt to rent an open space with a hammock on the 2nd deck of the ship. The city to city trips often take 48 hours.

Our excursion today was to Maica Lake and piranha fishing. The lake is a wildlife Sanctuary and we saw many different species of birds and several sloths on the way to our fishing spot.

Once we reached our spot we were provided with rudimentary fishing gear: a spool of fishing line, hook, and bait (raw beef). We unrolled our line into the water and waited…and waited…and…success! Someone on our boat caught a piranha! Our boat caught (and then released) five piranha in all. The fish were about the size of your palm and, as advertised, they did have a set of very sharp teeth and were warned not to put our fingers into their mouth (as if someone had to tell me). Sadly neither Paul nor I caught anything, but we did get nibbles!

Today was our 1st outdoor trip since we reached the Amazon. It lies almost directly on the equator so we’ve crossed the equator several times over the last couple of days to get to Santarém (we’ve even got a certificate to prove it). As expected it was hot and humid. Surprisingly the slight breeze we had from the movement of our tour boat made it very bearable.

As a side note, our cruise ship turns off all of its outside lights at night to prevent attracting swarms of insects.