The rental platform has created an “adventures” section, and this is one of them. For a week, Indians take you to the heart of the Brazilian Amazon for a unique experience. An absolute return to nature to dream during confinement …
The boat sinks silently onto the arm of the Rio Negro. It’s been over six hours since we left the last manned post. A dilapidated barracks where a guard (and his two dogs) noted our time of passage. ” To keep track. If we were never seen to come back. We think of a stroke of humor, it is not. In this Amazon region, 1,000 kilometers from Manaus, those who venture beyond the territories shown on the maps do so at their own risk. Moreover, only the locals know how to navigate. Even Eduardo, our guide from Manaus, who mounted this expedition, admits his ignorance as to the precise geolocation of where we are going. ” From now on, only they know exactly where we are He said, pointing to Agilon and his companion Marino. Two “natives”, as they are called here. Indians, before being Brazilians. They grew up in the heart of the jungle, in Maraa, the last Brazilian city before the Colombian border. A large town, full of dust, young girls already mothers and trafficking of all kinds.
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Network bars are long gone from our phones, which are now only used to take pictures. Around us, not a living soul, of course, strange noises coming from the depths of the forests, and this arm of the river which is always narrowing. Up to this shore, drowned in the jungle, where Agilon, our captain, decides to dock. Marino has already jumped out of the boat, put a rope around a tree, and is busy setting up camp. No sooner has he hung a hammock between two trees than he begins to pick up branches. And, even before we set foot on the shore, a fire lights up this wild space where we will spend our first night. Agilon’s wife, silent, begins to boil god knows what. I take this opportunity to confirm that the river is full of alligators … ” Yes Yes », Answers Eduardo without interrupting in the installation of our hammocks. ” And… staying that close to the river is not a problem? »« Nooo! Not at all ! They are afraid of fire, no danger. He seems sure of himself. So much the better …
“ It’s time to go fishing if you want to have something else to eat than cassava », Agilon suddenly announces. It’s pitch black, and you wonder if he’s kidding. But no. A few moments later, we are on board a (very) frail skiff which would undoubtedly capsize at the slightest sneeze. Harpoon in hand and headlamp on his head, our captain is installed in the front and oars as delicately as possible on this dark water. Suddenly he throws his harpoon and hauls it up with a yellow and black fish which soon flutters at our feet. ” Go ahead, hit him on the head! He orders, holding out his knife. But the fish leaps, threatens to jump back into the water, and even catching it seems difficult. So aim for the head, in the dark too… Our canoe winds through the waterlogged trees and comes to a stop when Agilon spots a prey before spitting it with a sure shot. In the space of half an hour, despite the darkness, he will have managed to catch a dozen fish. Including two piranhas, which we examine from every angle, particularly the teeth, necessarily, and whose flesh will prove to be the best of all.
It’s infested with electric eels here. Not good.
Inside our mosquito net hammock, we are surprised to find sleep so quickly. But it has been a long journey. If we forget the piranhas, the alligators, the lurking pumas and god knows what, the moment is incredible. We are “really” deep in the jungle, a day’s boat ride from any town. And that night is unique.
When we leave the next day for our real camp site, we already feel more seasoned after this first night “in the heart of darkness”. Our base camp, a little above a waterfall, is like a movie set. A place Spielberg would have liked to film for a Indiana Jones. Agilon teaches us how to make fires, even when there isn’t a dry tree within 50 kilometers. Here, rain and mud are everywhere. It warns us when we can get a foot in the water, or not. ” It’s infested with electric eels here. Not good. »Then shows us how to flush out the arapaïma, the giant Amazonian fish, which you have to get out of the water carrying on your back. In the evening by the fireside, he tells us how at the age of 9 he left, for two months, with his father, in the depths of this jungle. Suddenly, he stops hearing a rustle of leaves, which nothing for us distinguishes from another, before resuming his story: ” It’s nothing. Surely a puma. “
After a few days of this wild life, things seem almost normal to us. And it is almost with regret that we take the road to the Rio Negro in the opposite direction to return to Maraa. Of course, we dream of a bed and white sheets, a shower and fries, but with the feeling of having lived, literally, an extraordinary adventure.