It is near to the city of Manaus that two large rivers in their own right, the Negro and the Solimoes, meet to form the mighty Amazon. The point where the two currents of water come together is known as the “Meeting of the Waters” and is a sight in its own right. If you are taking a boat to a jungle lodge it will probably do as ours did and make the small diversion needed to take you past this spot, but if not you can do a boat trip on the river to see it, or hire a boat to take you there. It’s also well worth looking out from your plane as you arrive in or leave Manaus as you should get a good aerial view of this fascinating phenomenon.
The reason that the simple coming together of two rivers is such an attraction is that their two waters fail to mix immediately and instead run beside each other for about six kilometres. As the water of the Negro is almost black, and that of the Solimoes sandy-brown, the separation of the two is very evident. There is a scientific explanation for the phenomenon – it is caused by the very different temperature, density and speed of the two currents, which together make it difficult for them to mix.
If you're in Manaus, you have to take a trip out to the Meeting of the Waters, where the Rio Negro meets the Rio Amazonas. It is such an amazing and bizarre natural occurrence that these 2 rivers have such different densities that they flow side by side without combining. If you decide to take a longer trip up one of the rivers, note that the Rio Negro is more acidic, so you will have less larger wildlife to see, but also significantly fewer insects than if you go up the Rio Amazonas. Trips up the Negro are also a bit less expensive.
For tough and adventurous minds the trip by boat from Manaus to Belem ( by land : 5.300km , by river: 1.300km , some difference , huh..?) may be the right thing but I , with my old bones and in need for rest after the Camp Green Planet experience didn't know what I was getting into..... the boat / ship was filled to the last square meter , luckily I had made reservations before and booked a "private cabin" for two , which turned out quite ok but I with my measly 1,66m couldn't stretch out in bed because it was so short and Ewald , sleeping in the upper bed had the air condition exhaust 20 cm above his head blowing right on him. We finally managed to find some cardboard which we glued (!!) over the exhaust and diverted the freezing air. The so called "Embarcações" , seen on pic # 1 are like water busses , going back and forth between Manaus and Belem , ours was the "Santarem" , the very last one on the floating dock. On pic # 2 I'm still in a good mood and with high expectations , little do I know that I have four days of austerity ahead of me , especially with food and comfort.....Pic # 3 is : "Bye, bye , Manaus..!" . We just cast off the docks and are now on our way to Belem. Pics # 4 and 5 show our first sunset on the Amazonas looking back where we were coming from..... I think that maybe I liked the trip but I remember that I was REALLY uncomfortable and the food was abominable..... Maybe I'm too old for this kind of thing or maybe just a plain masochist who needs to prove something to himself when on vacation but so what...?? I did it and survived it...... That's already something....
If you're a lucky guy,sometimes,you can see the very shy " pink dolphin ",a rare animal from the river.
Jacques Costeau famous expedition to the Amazon river,many years ago,had the porpuse of to identify the pink dolphin life in its habitat,but took him and his fellows a long time and many hours diving till they could see it.
But this other guys are all over!
There are a variety of special kinds of arrangements that you can make to stay deep in the jungle in a private tree house. That just did not appeal to us but they are the kind of thing that some people might enjoy.
We opted instead to hire a fellow for a few hours who drove us all over Manaus. He then arranged to get us onto a boating tour which comes in several stages.
First, you go out on a covered boat, usually with several people who then are transferred to the igarapes, a small canoe like dugout with a motor.
These boats are very shallow-drafted as they course through small and barely passable streams coursing through the backwoods, far away from Manaus proper. This is when you get to see the parrots, the monkeys, the crocodiles and unusual plants.
The phenomenon of the meeting of the waters of the Negro (dark) and Solimoes (muddy) rivers is something that deserves to be contemplated. The two largest rivers of the region do not mix for six kilometers, caused by the differences in density, temp erature and velocity of the two rivers, which then end up forming the Amazon Rive.
Go and see the meeting of the rivers! The Negro hits the Amazon and it is a remarkable natural phenomonon. They do not mix! Awsome to see, you go by small ferry right there! Reall cool, you can book a full tour with juncle trek and some city sites included for only 50R$.
Well , on the lower deck and half of the middle deck there were like three hundred people , all of them "armed" with their private hammocks , which they hooked up systematically until there was not one hook left. Most of these people left their hammock during all these 4 days only to go to the bathroom and to eat. There was no other place where to go and sit... that is , with the exception of the upper deck , where the "privileged cabin people", like Ewald and I were supposed to have a chair to sit down and , well , look at the scenery go by..... But that upper deck was flooded by people from the lower decks and Ewald and I and a couple we had met had daily "fights" to get a plastic chair.... That was funny , we had a good laugh..... So , pic # 1 shows part of the main dormitory of the lower deck , pic # 2 our luxury cabin and pic # 3 our even more luxurious private bathroom. There was also a shower with hot water , so I won't complain , except that the toilet seat was always wet from the shower...... Pic # 4 shows me in an extremely bad mood.... the food in front of me is not edible and I mean it..... So when we landed at Santarem , a bustling , important city , already in the state of Para , we stormed the local supermarket and bought stock in form of a delicious whole Italian salami , chocolate, bread, mushrooms and asparagus in jars , bananas , grapes and oranges and even a cake and powdered soft drinks to be deluded in cold water.... We were saved !!!!!! But had our stock finished too soon , there was always a sure fountain of rich protein to find on the ship... see pic # 5.....
TO BE CONTINUED ON THE BELEM TIP PAGE
If you book a longer boat trip (a day or more) up the Rio Negro, you can paddle around in a canoe as part of your package and go piranha fishing. Raw beef chunks are all you need as bait for these feisty creatures. Sure makes you hesitate to put your fingers in the river. Once they clamp on to your bait, they don't let go, even as you are pulling them out of the water. There is almost no need for the hook. A local guide will take you to the best spots and manage the scary job of pulling the piranhas off the hooks.
One of the main attractions in Manaus is the boat tour to see the two different rivers emerging into one. One river is black and the other one is more or less cream colored. There are several boat tours that go there, ranging from a half day trip to a whole day trip. I took the whole day trip and it was very entertaining. You go on a large boat with about 50 people or so, and they take you to see the emerging rivers, then to a local village to do some souvenir shopping, then a trip into the deeper jungle with smaller boats, then a stop by a small hut to buy more souvenirs then a really nice meal before you head back. I was most entertained by the wild dolphins jumping around in the river throughout the entire day.
The Amazon really is amazing - not just the river, but also the way of life that has developed on it. Descriptions of the Amazon really don't prepare you for it. On what other river do ocean-going freighters look like bathtub toys, dwarfed by the waters they traverse? Here cattle are ferried out to seasonal islands for grazing. Children are taken to school on school boats instead of school buses. People and goods are moved on the river instead of highways. The river provides life to an incredible array of wildlife - the dawn nothing but a flock of birds. Giant water lillies, with pads several times larger than a usual lilly, flourish in the river's backwaters. This is probably the most unique, and fragile, place in all of Brazil, if not South America.
Manaus is where the Rio Negro from Colombia meets the Amazon from Peru. Whereas the Rio Negro is much darker, the Amazon has a creamier color and because of the difference in temperatures, pH and consistency, these two river don't mix for around 8 kilometers, until finally the bigger Amazon takes over the whole river basin.
A very interesting natural phenomenon.
You can book a tour on the Amazon River. From Manaus to Iquitos in Peru, the river remains navigable by large ocean-going boats, though few travel this way any more. Since the collapse of the rubber market and the emergence of air travel, the river is left to smaller, more locally oriented river-boats. Many travelers do come this way, which can be a pleasant way of moving around – lying in your hammock, reading and relaxing, or drinking at the bar.
Take a trip along the river, see the floating docks, try to spot the wildlife - tapir, capybara, jaguar, monkeys, turtles, snakes and birds. Dangle your fingers in the water and dare to be lunched on by piranha!
at points this river (Amazon)is so wide as to almost not be able to see the other side!
One way or another, this is the most unusual example of the chemistry of waters. It is known as Encontra do agua or, loosely translated, an encounter between waters of the Rio Negro as it meets up with the Solimoes. The Rio Negro is, guess what, very dark and nearly black. The Solimoes has a good deal of silt in it and has the appearance of cofee with cream.
What is unusual about it is that the two run side by side, black water and brown water, never mixing. Even as the ship passed through these waters, you could see the wake separating back to two distinctly different water avenues.
In reliance on what we were told, it is only one of a few places in the world where this happens.