I had just completed the scary swim across the slow-moving Rio Trombetas and walked onto the gold/white deserted sandy beach
With the blisteringly hot sun on our backs we said thanks and goodbye to the boat owner who had accompanied us, put on our enormous backpacks, and happily started to walk inland. The first community we came across seemed deserted apart from an old man who appeared on the horizon with a shot-gun. He told us he had phoned the police and we couldn’t pass this or any of the land ahead because we didn’t have permits from Ibama.
To cut a long story short, we ended up back in Oriximiná and had to pay hard-earned cash to be escorted there. It was the second time we’d had to return – only a few days before, the boat driver who I’d paid to transport our packs across and escort me as i swam the Trombetas found that he didn’t have enough petrol to go around the island and back to meet me on the other side. In any case I found that I had picked up so many chiggers that i needed medical treatment to get rid of them. They were not just on my feet and legs, but other parts of my body. The bites can get infected quickly if not cleaned, treated and allowed to dry out. I also had to de-mite all of my sleeping gear and clothes. I did this by putting my sleeping bag, hammock and clothing in the freezer compartment of a fridge after washing them at the pousada I was staying at.
Having been turned back by the angry old man, I decided I needed to work out a new route. Applying for permits could potentially trigger a whole new set of delays and problems. I decided to attempt to walk following the power lines until we reached a road/track that would lead to Faro. Luckily, water levels are very low at the moment, so it was possible to walk, wade and swim all of the bodies of water and dried out lakes and land between. Had it been January-May this wouldn’t have been possible. This area was well outside the IBAMA reserve, so we had no issues with any people we encountered.
The Amazon basin is full of small streams they call Igarapés here, with clear, cool flowing fresh water all the year round, filtered through the natural sandy riverbed. We came across enough of them to re-fill water bottles as we walked, and we normally try to make camp next to one, as it’s important to clean ourselves, our clothes and our cooking equipment every evening. It makes you realise how important the world’s fresh water systems, and the rainforests, are. The Amazon basin produces 20% of the world’s fresh water.
I have seen more wildlife while walking on the roads than in the jungle. We saw a troop of about 20 monkeys leaping across the tops of the trees in succession from one side of the road to the other on two occasions. Many animals cross the sandy roads usually during the night or early morning.
The streets here in Faro are currently full of passionate people on motorbikes, on the back of lorries, or just walking, waving flags and dressed in the colours of their favourite political party. There is music blaring out and fireworks going off in all directions as local election day approaches.
Now I am here waiting for Valdo to return and getting ready to swim the Rio Nuhumada to Juruá and then continue walking to Itapiranga then Manaus.
It’s taken me all day to upload 3 photos so I’m posting this blog unfinished, i will add more images when i get a better WiFi connection.
Fish market: Oriximiná, Pará, Brazil.
No gas or electric needed for this cooker: Nr Rio Trombetas, Pará, Brazil
Junior,Rosalinda & son Roberto #PeopleOfTheAmazon Oriximiná, Pará, Brazil
Friendly, welcoming faces at a small community. Spot the gringo with sunglasses: Pará, Brazil
The route (and re-route) from Oriximiná to Faro, as recorded on my Delorme Inreach map.