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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Monday 23rd January - Parantins

Bug of the day from my early morning walk around the decks is this yellow black moth. I have no idea what it is, but it's pretty.
Ad, I don't know what type of moth this is. It's quite small and very pretty.
The ship was due to arrive at Parantins at about 11 o'clock and I spent most of the morning watching the river and the rainforest go by whilst Peter worked in the cabin.
Taking a bus trip on the Amazon
e approached Parantins and the captain made an announcement, (you know it's bad news when he comes on the tannoy system). We were told that there were problems with the usual pier, tenders would have to travel further and that there would be a shuttle bus into town from the pier we were going to be sent to.  As the ship dropped anchor and I looked across, I realised why we couldn't use the usual pier.  It wasn't there anymore!   

But the next pier had issues too. Once again the water was too low for passengers to climb out of tenders onto.  Once again the Marco Polo team pulled through and once again the steps that the joiners had built for Alter De Chao were put into service, as was a local riverboat. 

Peter and I hadn't rushed to get ashore, and ended up amongst the last passengers going across.  It was nearly 3pm, and I watched as the empty shuttle bus drove away from shore just as we were a minute or two away from arriving.  Odd?  I wondered if the next one would arrive quickly.

Nope! Once we were on dry land it took a good half hour before the bus came back, I was happy enough, I had my binoculars and camera and spent my time looking across the wastleland at the birds.  But it meant that by the time we got into town we had less than an hour there.  We took a short walk around anyway.
A busy street in Parantins. The preferred form of transport is two wheeled, either a motorcycle or a bicycle. 

As we arrived, so did about 300 others from the main excursion of the day, the Boi Bumba folkloric show. With only two shuttle buses, craft stalls took a lot of money in the hour following. I bought a very pretty pearly set of earrings.

Back at the pier, the queues continued, and again I took advantage. With my binoculars I managed to spot a ringed kingisher and yellow headed caracara.  No photo's though, they were too far away. 
We ended up on the last tender back, with group from the Boi Bumba.  They'd had an excellent time and were in full party mood.  Even though we had to wait awhile to make sure all passengers were accounted for, our tender boat was noisy with bad jokes and bad singing until we offloaded back onto the ship.

Back on board the atmosphere was sleepy and relaxed and as everyone settled into the routine. We sat in the Captain's club with a book and a drink. Then, at about 9.30pm, the alarm went off!  Seven short whistles and one long one. The alarm telling us to get our lifejackets and report to the muster stations.  And then it repeated, again and again.  Everyone, staff included, looked at each other confused.  We were in the middle of a river?  No-one had heard a bang or a thump, the ship hadn't started listing, the engines noise hadn't changed?  Was it a false alarm?

The alarm continued.  Seven short whistles and one long one.  It repeated and repeated.  And then Susan from Shorex came bustling through the lounge.  "Muster stations everyone!" she shouted, clapping her hands, the Captains Club started to empty.  

Peter and I went downstairs to get our lifejackets, and the alarm continued. Lucky for me Peter was in front and blocking my veiw.  The old indian guy from just down the hall was in the corridor in his underpants, wondering what was going on?

At that point, the message came over the tannoy that it was a false alarm, all down to an electrical fault.   It had taken them about 10 minutes before they'd been able to override the lockout and tell us it was a false alarm.  Hey Ho. It all adds to the fun.  Peter says he'll never be able to get the image of the indian guy out of his head though.   

So that was our Parantins day.  Tomorrow we're in Santarem, and for the first time in several years, we haven't got a tour.  This is actually really good news, cos we get to wander and check out the waste ground and boats and stuff. Another day we are really looking forward to.

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