18 March 2012 | Belem, Brazil
On our way back down the Capim River we were approached by the local school boat, full up with pororoca partiers. The Mayor of Sao Domingo, wearing a speedo, was waving at the bow as we rafted up. I invited him aboard and as soon as he came on so did his constituents. I counted 30 people aboard Bubbles as the camera flashes filled the air. For many it was their first time seeing a sailboat such as Bubbles and the mayor informed me that one hadn’t been up this river in six years. We sailed with the crowd for an hour back to town where the party was already started. The mayor invited us to his house where we ate local cuisine (one of the local fruits, the acai, Molly knew from New York but now got to taste in its freshest form) and shared stories before hitting the town for some samba dancing (with the mayor we avoided the long lines instead making our entrance from the back, right next to the DJ).
After some dancing we had to hit the river once again to take advantage of the favorable outgoing tide. Falling asleep I left Diego in command who fell asleep to leave Steve in command who almost ran us into the jungle. Later on Diego woke me to tell me we were stuck in the mud, but with a little help from the tide we were free after a couple of hours.
The following day when the tide turned against us we threw anchor and the five of us boys jumped in to cool ourselves. The current picked up to 5 knots and was strong enough for Diego to surf wake board style even though we were anchored. Then a rain storm hit. The fetch of the river was 6 miles in our present location and so waves began to build. Brother Dave swallowed some water and lost grip from the rope that he was holding, but Deigo managed to pass him the surf board just as he took off down the river. In the driving rain and the swift current he was soon out of sight. Diego and Steve quickly manned to dingy for the rescue mission while I grabbed Eli with another line and untied the dingy from the boat (Molly was the smart one who stayed on board through all this). Luckily they found him up river but it was quite the struggle to pull Dave, 350 lbs, into the dingy. With everyone back on board we celebrated with a cold beer.
Moving on down river towards Belem we spotted our first pink river dolpin, shadowing the boat and making the familiar breathing noise of an ocean dolphin. We also came across our bridge that had worried us so much before, but now having light decided to play a little sailboat limbo. With myself a top the mast I had Elias drive under 5 times before we were able to bend the antenna back. Good practice.
When we neared Belem the current was so strong I had to point the boat near backwards for us to move sideways into a good anchoring position. All settled in we went out for the last supper with Dave and Eli with special guests of Rebecca and Celesta joining in.
The following day was spent cleaning and fueling up for the onward journey. Emails were sent and phone calls made as we didn’t know when the next would be. The next day was provisioning and checking out. While checking out with the Federal Police, I was warned of pirate attack and proper precautions to be taken. Docking next to the market in the city center a crowd gathered around the boat and when we had finished filling the boat with fresh fruits and vegetables they waved us off. Up the Amazon river we go.