The Bolivian Side

May 28, 2006
Day 242
Remanso to Versalles Canoe Trip Day 9

Picture of sunrise.

Sunrise on the Itenez.

We got up really early today and were on the water an hour before sunrise. The river was much straighter with almost no islands or oxbows today. Besides the usual macaw migrations this morning, we were joined by a school of white dolphins. They didn't jump out of the water like their saltwater counterparts, but they were still fun to watch as they breached near us in large numbers. They seemed to be curious as they swam all around, and occasionally even underneath the canoe for several hours.

We had coconuts for breakfast on the river just as the sun started to beat down hard. Once again, the locals' estimation that it would take four hours to get to the next town of Mategua in Bolivia were way off. Four hours turned into five, then six, then seven before we finally got sight of the little village.

The locals gave us delicious bread to go with our butter and marmalade for lunch, and we gave them coconuts in return. Once again, we got a nice place to camp that should be relatively free of mosquitoes and sand flies, which is good because my arms and feet have really taken a beating lately. I think even if I donned an army helmet and chain mail, they would still find a way to maul me.

We asked the locals about the upcoming river conditions and once again got conflicting responses. One guy said that Mategua was the halfway point between the estancia and Piedras Negras, which means another eight hours or so. Another guy said that Piedras Negras was only three hours away, and in fact, there were two more places we could stop at further down the river. And for the third time, someone told us that we could go all the way to Versalles tomorrow. As far as navigation was concerned, one guy said that there weren't many islands and that we should always stick to the right, and another guy said that there were lots of places we could make wrong turns and that we should always stick to the left. Given this information, we plan to do the same thing we've always done and make our decisions based on complete guesses.

It was another early dinner and bedtime for us. We figure we might be able to make it to Versalles in two days, but we still have three days until the party begins, so we could always relax one more day if needed.

The photo album for this entry is here.

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