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Friday, 24 January 2014

Day 17 - Tue 21st Jan - Santarem and Piranha Fishing

Well, we've had a brilliant day. It started with breakfast as the ship was docking, followed by a wander around the deck to see the latest creepy crawlies, I got 4 sphinx moths and another of those gorgeous pink moths with holes in their wings. And talking about wings, there were loads n loads of birds, and I wished I'd brought the binoculars up on deck. It was amazing to see them all, I even managed to get a picture of a Fork Tailed Flycatcher, an amazing bird with an amazing tail.

Then it was time to go down to the pier to take charge of our respective river boats for the Piranha Fishing tour. Seven boats in total, each with around 35 passengers on board, made their way from Santarem docks over to the meeting of the waters, where the Tapajos meets with the Amazon, and the two rivers run side by side for a mile or so. Then it was on to Lake Maica, a little way up the Tapajos River. We love this tour and not just because of the Piranha Fishing. I have to say that in addition to everything we see, the guides on board can be really knowledgeable, passing on so much information about the city, the river and the way of life.
As the riverboats made their way along the inlets off the main river, we first get to see the homes and farms of the local people. There were houses on stilts which were surrounded by the livestock and the ever present covered canoes.

Then we get to see the wildlife. Sloths, iguanas and birds were in abundance today and I was in my element. My little compact zoomed its best, and I managed to get some brilliant photos. (I should point out that the iguana really was very close, and that's why the picture is so clear.)
First, we were lucky enough to see this sloth.  Funny enough it was climbing this tree directly behind an iguana.
A couple of minutes later, we saw this sloth high up in the trees
And then we saw a third one!  It was like sloth bonus day.  We did see another one after this too.  Amazing!
The boat stopped for a little while, and each passenger was provided with a baited fishing line to hang over the side of the boat. And then we waited....................
One of the river boats used for the Piranha fishing tour
Our boat caught four piranhas. I maintain that since three were caught by passengers, we did better than Peter's boat, because even though his caught six in total, four were caught by the crew. Therefore my passengers did better than his passengers. Ergo I win!

The river boats then made their way back to the docks but this time following the river shoreline. As always, I love the sight of the overcrowded banks, the river boats and the floating fuel stations. Just wonderful.
Santarem.  That's the cathedral with the two towers, and in the foreground you can see one of the floating fuel stations.
We got back in time for lunch, and then, in the afternoon, we decided to brave the heat and take a walk into Santarem. The heat really was almost intolerable, and we didn't get far before we ended up in a bar for a cooling drink. An then it was time to go back to the ship.
River boats on the shoreline at Santarem
All in all, a fantastic day. I love the piranha fishing tour, and would go again and again. However, tomorrow we'll be visiting Boca Da Valeria. Another reason to get all excited. I can't wait.

Santarem, Brazil 2011
Santarem, Brazil 2012
Santarem, Brazil 2103

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