On our way to Brazil

IMG_32832 February

We have left the Caribbean Sea and are now off down the Atlantic following the South American coast towards the mouth (or should I say mouths as there are several) of the Amazon.

Today is a sea day and the port talk is on our last Brazilian call, Santarem which itself is some 300 miles from the mouth of the Amazon. This is followed by a talk on Police sketching by Melissa Little which was interesting and tonight’s entertainment was by Julie Scott with her Cilla Black tribute and Ben Makisi, the New Zealand tenor we have seen before – same routine but still good.

Weather not brilliant and we are battling a Force 6 or Force 7 all day so lots of people in their rooms being unwell.

(Spoke to a couple today who were supposed to join the cruise at Port Everglades on our first day but of course we had to divert to Port Canaveral.

They had no communication from P &O about the change, they had to find a hotel room for the night and when they finally got on board, the ship had no record of their booking and their pre chosen cabin was not available.)

3 February

Another sea day and a port talk on St Vincent (Cape Verde Islands), another talk on Police sketching by Melissa Little as we head, still in rough seas towards the Amazon. Cloudy today so no sunbathing which is obviously to the anger of many! Start our Malaria tablets, one a day for some time.

We manage to miss the start of the film tonight as the service in the restaurant was somewhat slow so we only have entertainment from Colin (Fingers) Henry; exactly the same routine as before, same old jokes. Missable, although John would disagree.

IMG_32714 February

Now we are in the Amazon and the brown water of silt with some vegetation slowly meandering down the river. Our last port talk today, on Tenerife, we must be nearing the return journey.

We pass the city that straddles the Equator, Macapa and stop an hour later at lunchtime for port duties, border controls and refuelling. Sal gets bitten out on deck, normally it is me who gets the bites!

Continuing on our way some 4 hours later, we pass close to land and have slowed to 6 knots as we pass over some shallow water, 2 meters deep.

IMG_3281

Customs duties and pilot boarding

Now most of the outdoor doors are shut as we try to keep the insects out.

There are several thousand different species of insects in the Amazon as well as the Caimans, the Pyrannahs and many other species of wildlife all ready to take a chunk out of human flesh given the chance.

Sal, John & Deirdre opt for the crew talent show and 4 Tunes whilst I go to see the film, “Get Back” based on the Liverpool music scene.

It is amazing that so many good musicians, not just the Beatles, have come from Liverpool although I am sure Manx people would object to the phrase near the beginning that Manx people were all miserable. I just get to see the end of the talent show and the crew’s rendition of “If I were not upon the sea” – always a good song.

5 February

A sort of sea day as we cruise up the Amazon towards Manaus.

Morning still reveals a brown river but now with some distant low lying hills behind the initial banks still covered with trees and vegetation.

Lots of logs float by all day with the occasional patch of vegetation but very little rubbish, a complete contrast to our experience on the Mekong river in late 2012.

IMG_3275

Trade up the Amazon

We pass a few settlements and towns which the captain points out to us and lots of little boats and ferries fully laden with people, and some with vehicles and oil tankers being moved to another location by the river.

A few large container ships pass us going out to sea.

By now it is getting extremely humid and walking outside is becoming uncomfortable although some burnt souls are still brave enough to bare skin to the burning sun.

IMG_3289

Cruising up the Amazon

With a river comes insects and this is no exception with moths and butterflies of various sizes settling on outside decks and a few venturing inside, probably not surviving for too long in the cool of the air conditioning.

Spend morning in Crow’s nest watching the river go by and opt, instead of dressing up in dinner jackets (why would you in the middle of the Amazon) have a more basic meal in the Conservatory, surprisingly crowded.

Evening entertainment by Ben Makisi and although we have seen him before, his second concert was a must.

Tomorrow we are in Manaus, 1000 miles up the Amazon – Wow.

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