Piranha Infested Waters
A two year old girl was sitting quietly near the shore while her mother did the family’s laundry in the river a few feet away. Looking up from her scrubbing board after hearing a commotion, the mother had her worst dreams come true. By the time she got into the knee deep dark water and grabbed her child by the wrist, it was already too late.
This story was relayed to us by the father of the baby who was killed. He pulled up in a dugout canoe to sell us fish after watching the team anchor in the slack-water near his family hut. Appalled to see a man swimming in the area, he warned us the area was loaded with flesh eating piranhas, and pleaded with Martin to only swim in the swiftest part of the river. Later, to test his story, I threw out a chunk of meat on a fishing line. My 25 pound test Spiderwire was instantly shredded. A feeding frenzy ensued every time the meat hit the water.

Martin took another pounding in the whitecaps most of the day, while the crew on the boat battled seasickness. The wind finally abated for the last two hours before sunset. Although the wind is continuing to be a major obstacle, the current is still quite strong, and Martin was able to fight his way another 71 km toward Belem. The team is currently anchored on a small inlet downstream from Prainha.

>>Matthew Mohlke

Sunday, 21. January 2018
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