July 01, 2006
A boat finally came downstream today. We flagged it down, tied the canoes to it, and jumped aboard. Originally, just Craig, Louise, and Patricia were going to leave, but after we were all on the boat, everyone agreed to take the ride. We were told we'd be in Santa Ana tonight, and we probably would've gotten there in a day or two in the canoes anyway.
The boat was owned by a family from Santa Ana, and their only cargo was a little food and thousands of clay roof tiles. We chatted a bit, played some cards, and tried to stay out of the sun and off the hot metal floor.
A few hours into our trip, the boat broke down. The crew worked hard and got the engine going again a few hours later, but they decided that they would no longer make it to town today. Instead, they stopped at dusk for the day.
We used the ship's stove to cook a large meal for everyone. Before the meal was finished cooking, the mosquito situation became horrible. The ship was docked on the bank right next to the forest with no wind. This meant an early night in the tents and out of the elements for us all. We passed the time by playing Twenty Questions, often with responses being shouted between tents.
So the canoe paddling lasted a little more than seven days. I wouldn't have minded going a bit further, but it would probably have taken over a month to get to Guayaramerin at our current pace, and Santa Ana was the only city on the river along the way. I think it was a good time for most people in the group, and although organizing such a trip for ten people was a difficult task, it proved to be well worth the effort.