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Exploring in the Amazon

It'�s a very grey, wet evening here in the river, and we'�ve only an hour or so left of the daylight that does exist today as we close in on our anchorage for the night. We'�re motoring at about 6 knots, with Lola up in front of us but invisible in the rain. It�'s only a few hours since we left, and it�s easy going with the boat hardly moving at all, one of us on deck, and the other down below doing whatever they like.

I got up at 8am and took the dinghy over to see if anyone on Lola wanted to go exploring around the river system. They all bundled in and we set off to have a look around. The new Evinrude outboard seems to be going through quite a bit of fuel though, and we soon had to head back as we discovered that it was half empty. Jack & Amy decided to stay on board, and so Antonio and I set off with the other fuel tank as well. It of course had no problem planing and we thundered down the rivers, stopping only to take some shots of villages and huts on the way. I�'m not so happy with myself because yesterday I discovered that my Canon batteries are almost flat, and I have no spares. This coupled with the fact that I lost my Yashica last week when Lola�'s dinghy went missing means that I am beginning to run out of cameras. It was, however, wonderful exploring some of the narrow, tree lined rivers, and worth coming to Brazil for alone. Soon though, we realised that our fuel was getting low, and we were forced to turn around and head back towards the anchorage. On the way back we stopped at what seemed to be a hotel with a timber yard next to the river. Antonio chatted to the guy there, who showed us around. Out back, they had just killed a pig, and two women were busy cutting it up next to the pen where the remaining pigs still were. We went back to the boat, collected everyone else, and took Amy back to this place for her birthday lunch. We sat down and asked for food for five people, and they went off to get us some. Antonio began chatting to someone else there who warned us that there were a lot of pirates around the river system, and told us that we have to be careful of them striking at day or night. This, we were not too happy to hear, and we wished that we had managed to buy the guns we were after in Belem. The guy then told us that we were not in fact at a hotel but actually at his family'�s weekend home, and asked us to come into his dining room as the food was now ready. We were a bit embarrassed to discover that we had just stopped at someone'�s house, tied up, and asked them to cook us some food, but they took it so well that we guessed that it must be the normal thing for people to do here. I suppose that if someone is travelling on the river, and they have no food, then they must just go to a nearby house, and the people accept this. Anyway, they were all very friendly, and we paid them for the food, then carried on our way.

Back at the boat we hauled anchor and left. The tide was with us by this time, but we realised that we would only manage to do about twenty miles before dark. Soon the rain started, and Chris collected some and managed to almost fill the water tanks while I took a shower on deck. We'�re only 1.2 miles from the anchorage now, and I have an SSB schedule to try to contact Chris and Walter in Tenerife in 10 minutes.

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