Making fire in wet forest

Two hours after I left the airplane in Manaus I just realized that basically everything I had was wet.


Not dripping wet but moist from the extreme humidity. I had packed cameras and other electronics in a watertight bag and this was the big test. It was 90% humidity, 85 degrees in the air and I was alone in a small boat with three total strangers on the Amazone river. It was 10 minutes into a week long trip and all I knew so far was their names. They where three, because one knew what to eat in the forest, one knew where we where going and the last one knew a little English. I made myself as comfortable as possible in the back of the narrow boat and let the wonderful feeling of adventure fill my heart.


A giant moth landed on the side of the boat when we stopped. The boat was gliding through the water. They backed the engine to position the boat right over the strange color shift in the river. The water was divided in two colors. Black and brown. I could lean over the side of the boat, stick my left hand in the black and right hand in the brown. I could feel temperature was different. The brown is the original Amazone and comes all the way from Peru, the black, Rio Negro, comes from Colombia. They meet several places and run side by side without mixing. The dark color comes from humic acid and the lower PH levels is the reason it does not mix with the brown. In the dark parts of the river it is less mosquitos, a little different vegetation and even with the abundance of fish it is far less species in the black part of the river.


We drove the boat all day. When the sun set and total darkness rolled over the forest, it was time to find land and build a camp. Easier said than done. It is a flooded forest and the vegetation is so thick it is sometimes hard to find passage for the boat. After slow struggle in the total darkness next obstacle was to make fire. In here it takes some special skills and the solution is genius as always. Inside a palm tree there was always a totally dry core. We scraped out with a sharp knife and made fire easily every night. Fascinating how they have solutions for everything in here. Travelling with locals like this makes these trips ten times more interesting!

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