Across the mouth of the Amazon, or more accurately the Amazon delta is a mere 333kms as the crow flies. But our river boat can’t be so efficient so instead it weaves its way through the most narrow of channels, crosses wide open rivers and into more channels until finally, some 36 hours and 440 kms after leaving Belem we arrive at Santana the port of Macapa on the northern shores of the Amazon. Not only is hard to conceive of travelling almost a third the length of New Zealand in order to cross a river but this is a boat trip we were truly sorry to see the end of, so rich in sights and senses was it. With our bikes stowed on the lower deck amongst the hammocks of the economy class and the cargo of vegetable boxes and baskets of palm nuts, we settled for a cabin in the middle deck, one below the dance floor where incessant rhythms emanated for all but 6 hours of the journey. Although we could feel the beat as we slept at least cabin walls and a steel deck floor muted the worst of it.
This delta, by far the world’s largest, although Venezuela’s Orinoco delta to the northwest is also as impressive, is populated by locals living in house built on stilts, trading and travelling in dug our canoes, teems with the richest of mangrove and palm-studded forest, and is much like some other world. The food aboard is not to die for but possibly to die of, so Joanne as always, has organised supplies to get us through. But the beer served is really cold so it’s a transit to enjoy, take photos, engage with the locals on board – and thankfully the ship is not full to overflowing as we’d heard it could be, with the smell of the latrines ruining the sensual experience that this delta confers.
Sad moment as we disembarked at Macapa as this is where Sir Peter Blake was murdered – just seems so unreal when you come in here on a stunningly sunny day like this. Photos are here