Next Stop: The Amazon!

December 29 & 30, 2011

December 29
We are in the midst of close to 3 days of sailing from Grenada, down the coast of Northeastern South America to the mouth of the Amazon.  Apparently sometime late tomorrow we will be picking up a pilot who is experienced at navigation on the Amazon which, I would guess, is pretty different that navigating on the sea.

Every day at lunchtime the captain updates us… this is some of what he told us this afternoon:
– we have traveled 412 nautical miles since leaving St. George, Grenada and have 594 to go.
– We are currently at 8 degrees 32 minutes North latitude and 55 degrees, 54 minutes West longitude.
– We are 110 miles off the coast of Surinam
– The air and water temperatures are both 82 degrees F.
– The sea swell is 7 feet (and we are all feeling it – but I did notice that walking around the rolling ship has become a little easier)

I ran up to Deck 7 for Yoga at 3 this afternoon but the class was canceled due to rough seas and high winds… what kind of an excuse is that??? 🙂  Oh, well… maybe tomorrow thing’ll be a little calmer.

On all of the days at sea there are non-stop classes and programs around the ship.  Today we have: a talk by Julian Bond on “How I Got in the Civil Rights Movement”; one by Oliver Rioja on “Life on the Upper Amazon” and another by Humberto Sales on “Afro-Caribbean Music”.  Plus a ton more… you can be as busy or as relaxed as you like.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading and writing plus going to a few classes here and there… I actually sat still and looked out the window at the ocean for a whole hour without even moving … I can’t remember the last time I did something like that!

December 30th
It is about 1:30 PM and we are approaching the Delta of the Amazon.  We’ve been told that from 2 PM to 5 PM we will be slowing down a lot as we cross over a sand bar but that we will begin to see land at about 3 PM.  The seas have changed from the deep blue/grey of the deep ocean to a more blue/greenish color of the shallower water (only 70 – 80 ft.).  It has been clear-looking water for the past few hours but as we approach the mouth of the Amazon the water is starting to look a little muddy.

Despite the fact that we are probably 70 – 80 miles from land we are starting to see very small fishing boats.

Tomorrow morning at 7 we will be stopping to pick up our river pilot and clear Brazilian immigration as we head into the River.  I would imagine that navigating the Amazon is pretty different from navigating the wide-open ocean.  We still have thee entire day on the ship tomorrow and don’t arrive at our next destination, Santorem, ’til the next day (Jan 1) at noon.

Since I didn’t know what photos to show you today I decided to go around the ship and take pictures of all the signs… so that’s what you will see just below.  I took a lot of photos of signs when I was in India and I really enjoy looking back at them because they bring up lots of specific memories… so I thought that might be true for this experience as well.

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