June 24, 2006
We loaded up all of our gear onto a local bus early today and we all drove to the canoes together. I went with Craig, Louise, Patricia, Hugh, and Rachael in the new canoe, and the others continued to the main river to get their canoe. There was plenty of space in the canoe for all of us and our gear, but water depth became an issue right away. We slowly navigated our way through a narrow channel and got stuck a few times in our heavy boat. A little pushing was all that was needed to get us going again, though. Once we got through the channel, the river was deep enough, but there was almost no current or wind, so we moved very slowly in the tropical heat. At least the sand fly situation was nonexistent. On our last trip, they attacked us all day, but today we saw none. It was very nice not having to worry about getting bitten constantly.
After five hours in the canoe, we finally reached the confluence, but it presented a problem. The channel we went through to join the main river was so small that we figured it would appear to be nothing more than a small inlet when the other group saw it. They weren't waiting for us, so either they had gotten ahead of us or they hadn't seen it. We weren't sure what to do, so we continued for a few more hours figuring we'd meet the others somehow.
The rest of the day was much nicer than the beginning because the current was flowing, the wind was blowing, and we were able to stay cooler. Unlike the Itenez, there were no islands or oxbows to worry about because the river was much lower, so navigation was no problem. Another consequence of the low river was the plethora of beautiful beaches on the banks that were perfect for camping.
At about 3:00, we decided to camp on a beach so the others would have some daylight left to catch up to us if they were behind us. We flagged down a boat going upstream to get more info, and they said that the others were camped about half an hour downstream from us. We gave a message to a boat going downstream for them to wait for us in the morning. So we know where they are, and it looks like we'll get together tomorrow morning.
Our campsite seemed perfect when we set it up because it was a dry, sandy area near the river and away from the forest. However, as soon as dusk hit, so did the mosquitoes. They attacked by the hundreds and wouldn't let up. I think they were the worst mosquitoes I had ever experienced, even worse than at the place I nicknamed "Mosquitoville" from the last canoe trip. At least I was armed with a long-sleeved, thick shirt and plenty of repellent, so I didn't suffer too many bites. We decided that from now on, we should start looking for a campsite at 3:00 and eat dinner before 6:00 so we can get in our tents in case the mosquitoes hit hard again.
The photo album for the entire canoe trip is here.