Today we are taking this trip up to Santa Lucia Arboretum. The ship has taken a side trip up this other branch of the river which is black water rather than the muddy brown of the Amazon. So we are at anchor at this little town of Alter Do Chao. It is a holiday resort town for the city of Santarem. Being the river is so low we are anchored miles out in the river and the tender ride is probably 20 minutes. The beaches there are fabulous and it is almost too bad we are taking this trip as it would be fun to just lie on the beach and swim in the river. The day is about 100 F, with bright sun shining down. A perfect beach day.
We board these ancient old buses for the one hour ride up to the Santa Lucia Arboretum. The Arboretum is up on this plateau well above the flood plane of the river. The buses have no AC and it is sweltering in the bus. Fortunately I get a window seat where the window opens. Once moving it isn’t too bad and I do my best dog imitation by hanging my head out of the window.
The Arboretum is this place in the jungle which has been set aside because of it unique vegetation, and huge variety of plants and trees. We see trees which are hundreds of years old and see a lot of different variety of plants. It is amazing how much diversity there is. The Brazil nut trees are 60 meters high and there are other huge palms and iron wood trees. The Brazil nut grows in this round hard pod with 5-8 nuts in side. We only see the nuts after the pod is gone. It was a great trip and we saw a lot more jungle. The trip back to town is much faster as the ancient old bus doesn’t have to labour up the hills.
Back on the beach we enjoy bartering with the locals for t-shirts, blow guns and other trinkets.
The ship leaves Brazil today but it will take us from 2:00 PM until 8:30 PM to clear the river and past midnight to get past the shallow bar at the mouth of the river.
What a great day!