Afloat Again!

So we're afloat again! Rising early we packed up our things and took to the water in the patched up boat that has been re-named "the Anyumara" after the sharp toothed large fish that inhabits these waters. I guess the sharp teeth in our boat are the nails that now protrude from the bottom where the zinc patches have been tacked on the inside of her wooden hull.

It’s been five days since we've spent a day confined to the boat moving up-river. Things have changed quite a bit in this microcosmic world. Now small streams trickle past our feet requiring a constant bailing in the deep hollow at the stern. The other thing that has changed is the culture on the boat. Perhaps we should have re-named her the "Rainbow Warrior". Not because of the desperate feats of eco-heroism that we are undertaking, but because of the cosmopolitan mix of cultures that we now have on board.

Starting from the front we now have Captain and Bassha John, Trio Indians from Kwamalasamutu. Thankfully they are guiding the way through the treacherous waters that we are now encountering. Next to Captain, sits Aweiti (a N'duka Maroon); they spend the time discussing the finer details of navigation and disagreeing at almost every juncture. There is certainly a degree of competition going on here.... I'm happy as long as the calm river-wisdom of Captain keeps winning out over impetuous Aweiti. Further back in the third tier now sits Roberto Plomp (a Dutch Surinamer), our guide and chief of the crew, and next to him Suresh, a Guyanese Hindustani and the heroic tractor driver of previous days. Next come us three Englishmen, the Runningman Crew, today a tad sleepy after we completed our diary up-load at 1am last night. Next comes the bulk of our luggage followed by Oki, Edwin, Michael and Sergio; all Carib Indians from the coast. Finally, Marcell on the motor, princely at the stern. N'duka, Trio, Carib, Dutch, English and Hindustani. You have to admit it’s quite an array!

To this list perhaps I should add an Irishman called Murphy. He's not here in person, but his law continues to haunt us. Down-river, below the Wonotobo falls the days were relaxing, interrupted only by the odd torrential down-pour, which would lead to a scramble for water-proofs to cover the cameras and ourselves. Today was a bit more stressful. Our boat, already leaking, really didn't need mechanical problems, but that's just what we got. A valve in the fuel pump of our first (45hp) motor has ruptured. After an hour of languishing at the side of the river under the mid-day sun, we finally had to turn to our (25hp) second motor. The steering handle went on this so, for now its being steered by the bar at the front of the gas tank with the throttle jammed on. We are already behind schedule and now were making much slower progress...

None of this would worry us much if we were still in the calm wide waters that we found below Wonotobo. However here the waters rip faster-down stream over numerous small rapid sections. I guess by now you are getting the picture. This expedition is requiring more and more sticking plaster to cover the cracks. I suppose one good thing is that, now we are four days behind schedule, we have less and less food supplies to weigh down the good - (if a bit leaky) ship Anyumara.

As I write Roberto and the crew are making camp behind me on the rivers-edge. It will be good to put all these worries to bed for the night to awake in the morning to a whole new day....


The Way Forward

Michael - The Home Maker

Tomorrow's Another Day