Sunday, October 29, 2023

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last

PART 4 of 5:  
When I last left you we were stuck on a rock in the middle of the Rio Negro River just over 2 degrees south latitude in Brazil.  As rocks go, our was at least a comfortable one and the boat was only slightly perched askew with the rain accumulating aft

We went out at night and mostly saw spectacled caiman, the above blue and yellow macaw came later....

During the night the Princesp Clariant, a smaller motorized transport ship came to rescue us and take us to a hotel on the mainland.  I do not remember the town. Having nothing better to do, and with the ship still stuck on a rock, we got up at 0530 and went to scout the shoreline for something, anything.  The morning air was still cool and so I climbed in a back seat and off we went.

Something else was also different, I had bug bites, all sorts of bugs bites on my torso.  Were they mosquitoes, flies, or bed bugs?  From the look of them, it appeared that they were chiggers, a souvenir from the walk on shore yesterday.

As birding explorations go it was just okay.  It was overcast and the only lifer bird for me was a velvet-fronted grackle, a black bird not unlike many of the other grackles found around North and South America.

Not the stylish Amazon bird but a lifer none-the-less

After a rain scare we were heading back to the boat to eat breakfast and to pack when the driver of our small boat stopped and grabbed for Silja’s bins.  The boat had moved, THE BOAT HAD Moved!

 Princesp Clariant tied up to the Premium but the ship was three hundred yards from its last position

A phrase came to mind from Martin Luther King, maybe well out of context but it described my feeling, "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last."

The crew reloading an air compressor.  The owner came with the rescue boat.  They dove under the boat and used floats and with 2 tons of people off the boat, they were able to bust it loose.    Now we could proceed, but the program which I had never read was thrown out the window.  The river was deemed too low to go much up river and so, they planned alternatives and they deployed Brazilian sonar to lead the boat as we poked along up the river.

But then the water was deemed too low, so we went back and then went to the shore and hacked a trail through it, there were no birds nor snakes but two frogs...

a frog of the Hyla genius, "green tree frog"
Find this 5 inch forest toad...

Later more birding in the boat, all lifers except the Crane Hawk

Brown chested martins

Crane hawk

A shocking find of a paradise jacamar from the boat!

rusty margined flycatcher

Silver billed tanager


white throated toucan, heard many seen a few, all were badly photographed, my fourth species of toucan the other in the area channel billed I have seen in Trinidad

tui parakeet

If nothing else, I kept seeing birds and logging lifers 

At the end of the day of freedom, Silja was made a princess, princess of the Amazon, queen of the after dinner drinking, or empress of the evening, I don't know but she looked good
but then that night she also got chiggers.

The trip, continued and where we go or what we would see, no one except maybe Wolf had an idea, what else could happen?  Hopefully the birding gods and the vacation gods would give us a pass and let the bad luck go on to someone else, but when Olaf gets the weird going, it just keeps going.....

Hey at least we got off the rock!




  1. Hate chiggers. One time in Texas someone told me clear nail polish was good. Got some looks at the local pharmacy when I asked for it, but it seemed to help. Have fun.

    1. yea, had them in six countries now and twice really good in Texas, mostly despite an after walk bed bugs though....yikes

    2. What a trip!
      Lots of farmacias in Latin America sell sulphur powder (azulfre?) for repelling chiggers. You dust your socks and shoes with it, I've had mixed results. Of course rubber boots (Wellingtons) keep them out.


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