December 29, 2006
Bamboo Raft Experiment Day 4
We spent another full day in Siparuta. A lot of interesting people came and talked to us, including the captain (mayor) of the village. One guy invited us to go fishing with him in his boat in the afternoon, but he didn't show up. He returned later in the evening with a bagful of bananas and oranges as an apology.
Craig caught some more big piranhas for us, and we learned about a kid in the village who recently lost three fingers to the vicious fish. His mom was cleaning a fish, so there were guts in the water, and her kid was splashing around in the water, which attracted a huge piranha. Before anyone saw it coming, it had bitten off the boy's index, middle, and ring fingers. Today I made sure to be extra careful when handling the piranhas as a result.
Several people assured us today that two boats for sure would pass the village in the middle of the night. For insurance, I decided to sleep on the jetty so I could signal any incoming boat with my head lamp well before it passed us. About 2:00 AM, a boat came toward us. I flashed my light at it over and over again, but for some reason, it didn't stop. The boats don't normally stop at Siparuta, so I really had my work cut out for me. A few hours later, the second boat came, and thankfully it stopped.
The boat, known as the "Washabo Boat," was much shorter and narrower than the boat we originally road in on. It was so overloaded with people and cargo, there was barely enough room on it to sit, let alone lay down. On top of that, the overloaded boat constantly swayed violently back and forth. At one point, we went around a corner, the boat leaned to the right, and never corrected itself. The boat had to stop and everyone had to move as far to the left as possible for it to stand straight again. It was a bit scary for me, but we made it back in one piece shortly after dawn.