Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Peru - Day 11 Part I - Iquitos and Amazon River

Another good flight on LAN this morning to Iquitos. About 380,000 people live in Iquitos. It is the largest city in the Peruvian Rain Forrest.

Paul, our tour guide for the next four days, met us at the airport.

The bus doesn't look like much but it had plenty of room and was easy to take photos from since it had no windows.

You saw motocars in previous posts. That is just about all you see on the streets of Iquitos. They are the perfect vehicle for the lifestyle and logistics of this city.

Welcome to Iquitos.

We loved the colorful cities in Peru.

After about a 30 minute bus ride, we arrived at the Explorama docks. There, we will take a 45 minute boat ride to our lodge deep in the rain forest.

Boat traffic is fairly heavy on the Amazon. With few or no roads through the jungle, the river is the primary mode of transportation for the people and commerce.

It is common to see families in their canoes on the river.

Paul is telling us all about the Amazon. He is a walking encyclopedia of facts about any river or jungle related topic. Paul was born here and grew up in the jungle alongside the river. In addition to his Spanish, he is also fluent is English, German, local native lauguages, and probably a few others that I can't remember. Sigrid says his German is close to perfect. The amazing thing is that he taught himself by listening to others. I have tried to learn a little German and have no aptitude for it so I deeply repect his accomplishments.

Leaving the docks. Our boat has twin 150 HP Yamaha outboards on it and I suspect it can hit 45 miles/hour. That is plenty fast in the debris loaded waters of the Amazon.

Most of the smaller boats us an outboard engine with a long extened propellor shaft. I suspect that this eliminates most of the river debris problems. The shaft and protected prop can just bounce over the logs and not get fouled up in the weeds.

Water bus.

A banana boat.....daylight comes and me want to go home.

The Amazon is massive and intimidating at first. It is the longest river in the world at 4,345 miles. About 11,000,000 cubic feet/second of water flow out to sea on the Brazilian coast. Peru is where the river starts from snow melt in the Andes and the tropical rains. The Amazon flows more water than the next six largest rivers in the world combined. Its flow is equal to 53 Mississippi Rivers. Its width near Iquitos is a mere two miles. In some spots it is 30 miles wide in the wet season. The Amazon flows 20% of all the worldwide fresh water going to the sea. There are no bridges over the Amazon, not because of engineering limitations, but because there are no roads requiring a bridge.

A boat similar to ours speeding up the river.

The photos don't do the river justice as far as showing its size. This is a large island in the middle of the river.

Entire trees litter the water and put the fast boats at risk. We hit one tree pretty hard and it knocked out both motors. Fortunately, they restarted or we might have taken an unexpected tour of Brazil.

Home sweet home for the next four days.

Next....lunch and a walk around the resort.

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