Otter 2017 in english
At the edge of the Otter boat, I had the opportunity to make two expeditions through the Amazon, which covers the ways of Margareth Mee.
The ten-days trip starts in Manaus, sailing on the Rio Negro and its afflents through Parque Nacional do Jaú, passing through Novo Airão, Manacapuru, Iranduba, Parazinho, Lago Janauacá, etc. It's ten days sleeping in the boat.
The program is very interesting. There is always the question: what to do aboard a small boat for ten days? I can say that there is a lot to see and do.
We get up early, with the sun. The canoe, towed by Otter, is ready to go with us and our biologist Gilberto Castro, who has been making expeditions for more than 40 years in the jungle. Moreover, it is he who projected his own boat. The canoe drivers, 'Alberto' and 'Soldado' are also part of his team. Soldado collects plants that we want to illustrate. The navigation between 'igarapés' and 'furos' is extraordinary! There are tropical plants, birds of different species and a 360 degree view. On the boat are 12 people enchanted with the jungle.
After this visit of about an hour and a half, you can dive in the river. How wonderful it is to swim in the clear waters of Rio Negro! No mosquito or other type of insect. Rio Negro, because of the alkalinity of the water, is not a favorable environment for insects.
Otter starts the navigation. The breakfast, prepared by the cook who accompanies us, 'Rosinha', is already served. On the table, juice, pastries, eggs, cheeses, breads, tapioca, cakes, coffee, etc ... all delicious. With the collected plants, Dulce Nascimento begins to give guidance for the work. Each of us chooses a plant, a flower, a nest to illustrate. It must be said that Dulce specializes in the London Botanical Garden, KEW Gardens, and has made more than 27 expeditions to the Amazon. His paintings were presented by the presidents of Brazil to the kings of England, Spain and Norway. She has done a lot of exposures in Brazil and in many other countries. Author of the book 'L'Illustration Botanique', Dulce is a kind, gentle person who teaches us very quietly.
The boat sails and we paint. At lunchtime 'Rosinha' prepares regional specialties, always very tasty, not to mention desserts that are very beautiful! The sun goes down early and a paradise of colors explodes in the sky. Rose, orange, gold, blue and finally, night falls.
The canoe is already prepared for another ride through the jungle. Yes, it's true! We will see the iguanas, the sloths, the alligators and listen to the sound of the jungle. Howling monkeys make a loud noise that echoes everywhere. And after the return to the boat, there is always a painting demonstration of Dulce, or we see a film about Margareth Mee, or Gilberto Castro recounts his experiences, which are numerous. Over the past 40 years, Gilberto has participated in four editions of the Camel Trophy (Madagascar, Amazon, Siberia, Guyana); he guided 2 trips to the Discovery Channel in the Amazon; 17 trip to Margareth Mee Foundation; 5 trips to KEW Gardens and 26 scientific illustration trips with Dulce
One of the things that delights me in the expedition is the total isolation of the 'civilized' world. There is no sound that nature, only the purest sound of the jungle. It's not just the colours of the river, trees, animals. We are immersed in the essence of wildlife. This is not only a trip to the artists, but for all nature lovers, a great opportunity to meet and explore the Amazon, in a charming and comfortable boat in a group of no more than 16 persons.
It will be a pleasure to have you on board of the Otter! Yours
Ivone Gradowski Assoc SBA