I’ve had a great room, inside passenger room, very quiet . . . until the other day when I got moved to the worst passenger cabin on the ship . . . right next to the passenger laundry! Whatever you do, when you are booking a cruise stay away from the laundry and next to elevators! So now from 8AM until 10 PM I hear washers going into the spin cycle banging on the wall, the backs of dryers clicking, and everyone visiting and talking. Yuk! As if that isn’t bad enough, at 12:30 AM I was awakened to the sound of the plumber snaking out the laundry pipes right behind my bed!
These are the cabins crew usually get stuck with, but not generally contractors and guests. I’ve had worse when I have been crew. We once had a gigantic inside cabin, almost like a hotel suite, on a ship in a crew area called “San Andreas Fault” . . . and the cabin was right above the screws and vibrated like an earthquake. I’ve also been on V deck, as in Jules Verne . . . where you go down, down, down, down. At least that cabin had the consolation of having a built in aquarium.
Anyway we’ve had great weather so far for the Amazon. Today is really the first rainy day. This morning as we were stickering people for tours at least one lady was upset that her new hairdo (think “Hairspray”!) might get wet and thought we should cancel the tour – “Madam, this is the rainforest!” In two weeks since we were here in Manaus the last time, the Amazon has gone up about 6 feet. Most people think all this water comes from the rain, and we are entering into the rainy season. However, 70% of the water in the Amazon comes from the snow melt high in the Andes Mountains. Lest you wonder why the snow is melting at this time of year, when most of North America and Europe is in the grips of snowy weather, remember, this is the SOUTHERN hemisphere and so now is the time the snow is melting. It is going to be fun over the next two months to watch the river rise.
Yesterday I went on a fantastic, 13 hour tour . . . we sailed up the river to a jungle lodge where we had a fantastic lunch, and then trekked through the rain forest with an excellent guide who taught us jungle survival skills, visited a tiny village, and then took small boats into the “flooded forest.” As the river rises it floods vast areas of forest where trees have become acclimatized to the annual flooding. Many of the fish seek out these lakes and areas sheltered by the 3-5 knot Amazon River current as places to spawn, which also brings an abundance of birds, caiman and snakes to feed.
There are about 30 varieties of piranhas in the Amazon, the most aggressive of which is the red piranha. Often as the river then drops during the dry season fish find themselves trapped in these season lakes. To survive the red piranhas will attack and feed on caiman and themselves.
I may try and catch some of the red piranhas and stick them in the washing machines next door!
Well on our tour we had a fantastic glimpse into the world of the flooded forest. We returned to the jungle lodge as the sun set for a beautiful candlelight (no electricity) dinner. After dinner we walked down a long path through the rain forest lit by torches. I thought for a moment we might be headed for a “Tribal Council” and quite possibly might be “voted off the island”. Instead we boarded our little boats to sail off into the darkness surrounded by the sounds of the river and frogs to look for caiman. The tour was billed as “Alligator Sighting” which might have more aptly been called “Caiman Looking” since on our boat we never sighted any caiman. A couple of boats were able to find a few little caiman, but it was a fun experience never the less.
It was a two-hour ride down the river back to Manaus, and we finally got back on the ship at 12:15 AM.
My wife, Nikki, has been on board with me since Fort Lauderdale which makes it a lot more fun and the time flies by. I’d love to post more pictures, but Internet on board is slow and expensive.