The highlight, for me, of our recent trip to Brazil was being in the tropical forests on this small diesel-powered boat with 6 friends, throbbing to the put-put-put of the engine and thrilling to the spectacular jungle scenes which appeared around each bend in the river. We saw many birds and heard but never saw monkeys. We saw a cayman, herons and four-eyed fish. We passed two-man canoes and men digging for crabs in the slick mangue mud held fast by the claws of the mangrove roots in this rare estuarial eco-system where fresh river water intermingles with incoming tidewaters from the Atlantic Ocean.
Two young women in our group sunbathed on the roof while others rode on the bow in front of the driver's shelter. It was a slow but sturdy craft equipped with a clean and environmentally-correct bathroom and holding tank. After two hours we stopped to climb the dunes of the delta for a view of the Atlantic. We had to remove our shoes as the sandy bog would suck them down and hold them--my first understanding of what quicksand might be like.
The scheduled four-hour trip, which extended to almost 5 hours because Muncie--our driver--took extra time to point out wildlife along the way, cost 100 Reals for the 7 of us--about $6 US per adult. no charge for the child.
We docked and followed Muncie to his home where he had insisted we park our two cars for safe-keeping. Muncie had been referred to Gisela by a mutual friend, an Ecology professor at the University where she had studied, who owns a house on the river. Everyone we've met has been incredibly friendly and generous, doing everything possible to make our discovery of their country enjoyable.