June 23, 2006
Desperate for a canoe, I went with the others once again today to the ports outside of town. We had one option to buy a canoe, but it wasn't a good one because the canoe for sale had a huge hole in it. The owner said that he was planning on dismantling it in order to make it bigger, but he'd sell it to us for a cheap price if we'd take it in its current condition. He claimed that the hole could be repaired, but we didn't quite believe him considering the massive amount of water that flowed in when we sat in it. We decided to keep looking and only buy that canoe if no other options surfaced today.
We went back to Los Puentes, the last in a long line of ports on the Mamore to search one last time. We attempted to find the owner of every canoe at the port to see if any of them were for sale. One owner said that his canoe was definitely not for sale, but when he saw that we had cash on hand, his opinion suddenly changed. We made him an offer and Veronica spoke to him in Spanish. She said "This is all we have, it's far more money than the canoe is worth, take it or leave it," but he wouldn't budge. Then she said "Support tourism in Bolivia," everyone had a chuckle, and he finally caved. Veronica's native Spanish skills have been a valuable asset in planning this trip.
With two large canoes, we had plenty of space for everyone. We spent the afternoon buying supplies and making our final preparations for the trip. The plan is to leave early tomorrow, but there is still some confusion because we will be leaving from different ports. Six of us will be on a tributary of the Mamore, and the others will be on the main river. We don't think we'll be able to meet until the confluence, but we're still not sure. None of the locals seem to know the river well enough to tell us, and none of the maps we have gotten have been detailed enough to pinpoint our exact location. Add to that the fact that the river is low and our maps may not be accurate anyway, and it becomes a difficult meeting to make. It seems that to the best of our knowledge, the others will be about two hours ahead of us, and we will plan to meet at the confluence tomorrow afternoon sometime.