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Old 11-06-2012, 12:39 PM   #1
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Default Sailing a canoe up the Amazon River

Hello all;

Awhile back I posted a thread up on this forum looking for paddling partners to paddle up the Amazon River. I never got a good response but I seem to remember some people here asking if I would come back to write how it went.

I still haven't made it to Manaus yet. Actually I took the advice of someone on here and rigged up a sail to my canoe. So far we've gone about 500 km up the Amazon river in around a month's time, living off fish and rice and bananas and lots and lots of mangos. Whenever the wind is favourable I sail but since my boat is not very deep unfortunately it's impossible to beat against the wind even with the oversized keel I attached. So still plenty of paddling, and boy is it a workout against that current!

Here are some photos:















Anyways, fair winds and following seas, my friends.

-TMN
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:01 AM   #2
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you are crazy how are you doing it and not dieing?
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:51 AM   #3
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I'm impressed with your progress. I've done the Amazon on a freighter and it was definitely a fight all the way up.
My biggest question is how are the bugs? No, really, in all seriousness are the mosquitoes eating you alive all the time?
When we stopped in Belem, there was a beach that everyone went to where the Piranhas would not come between the flags set at either end of the beach. It flabbergasted me; did the Piranhas lift their heads out of the water, saying to themselves, "oh, oh, got to turn around now, I'm at the flag"?
You might want to look into making a lee board; it would definitely improve your windward performance.
My girlfriend and I are sailing the eastern Caribbean in a bit larger boat, at the moment.
I would love to get updates from you, if you don't mind. Send me a PM and I'll forward your our email address.
Regards,
Andrew
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for keeping up. That looks like a great trip.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
I'm impressed with your progress. I've done the Amazon on a freighter and it was definitely a fight all the way up.
My biggest question is how are the bugs? No, really, in all seriousness are the mosquitoes eating you alive all the time?
When we stopped in Belem, there was a beach that everyone went to where the Piranhas would not come between the flags set at either end of the beach. It flabbergasted me; did the Piranhas lift their heads out of the water, saying to themselves, "oh, oh, got to turn around now, I'm at the flag"?
You might want to look into making a lee board; it would definitely improve your windward performance.
My girlfriend and I are sailing the eastern Caribbean in a bit larger boat, at the moment.
I would love to get updates from you, if you don't mind. Send me a PM and I'll forward your our email address.
Regards,
Andrew
Naw the bugs aren't too bad, there's a ceartian time of year and time of day they are everywhere...that time of year is now and that time of day is 1 houyr before sunset until one hour after...after that they settle down. But I've gotten used to it and don't really notice them anymore with long sleeves and pants. Plus I have my hammock-mosquito netting combo.

They probably just put the flags up to satisfy tourists...I swim in the Amazon and her tributaries every bloody day and have yet to be bitten by a piranha. The idea that they actually attack swimmers is ridiculous.

What's a lee board?
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:58 AM   #6
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Excellent idea from Capta.
Take a peek at this link: New Page 1 It explains the whole concept of lee boards which have been used since before fixed keels and rudders were commonplace (it also explains the term 'starboard' from 'steer-board' and 'lar-board' in use through the 19th century which eventually became 'port') for both steering and directional stability. It gives the boat a better grab on the water, and reduces the effects of wind on drift....Which means you can sail closer to the wind and sail a better rhumb line, or a straighter line between tacks.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:47 AM   #7
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What a fascinating trip that sounds. Please keep us informed of your progress.
The Leeboard suggestion is a good one and shouldn't be too hard to build.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:54 PM   #8
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AWESOME DUDE!! What an exciting challenging adventure you are undertaking, shows of a strong spirit, fortitude, & the tenacity to make your dreams a reality!! Best to you on this journey & do keep us updated. I know the good ole folks on cruiserlog will be sendin you good wishes & good vibes
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:51 AM   #9
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Default leeboard

If you followed the link to the little trimarans with the leeboards, you'll pretty much get the idea.
I wouldn't go to the extreme of fairing it or bolting it on until you have tried it out and find it helps you, though it really should.
I'd find a board pretty much the shape of the one shown in the link above and secure it (tie or a couple of wooden u-shaped brackets that fit over the rail) and find the spot fore or aft of just about amidships that it works best on your boat. Then you could do the bolt/swivel thing if you wished.
You do not need one on each side, though obviously 2 is better than one (low side=deeper in the water).
You should have vastly improved windward performance, but you will heel (tip) more and you probably don't want to go swimming unintentionally, so be careful. Also there is the trade off of deeper = more current affecting the boat.
Good luck and have fun, we'll be in touch.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:38 AM   #10
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WOW ! Your my new hero. To have the huevo's to do what you are doing is great. Where do you live ? How much time are you setting aside to do this trip ?
Now THIS is a Reality TV show I'd watch and I'll bet a lot of other folks would as well. STAY SAFE.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:11 PM   #11
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Default Still sailing in the Amazon, 15 months and counting.

Here to bump this topic -- since I promised updates, after all.

Taking into account my official start date -- Feb 27, 2012 -- I am now some 15 months into my journey -- and no, I'm still not in Manaus, though it's mostly because I've been taking the longest way possible and spending weeks on end in small riverside homes in the jungle. All told, I've spent something like 90 days actually paddling and sailing -- this rainy season, a LOT more paddling than sailing. I left the main Amazon River back in Parintins in January, and since then have navigated both up and down the Rio Limão, Paraná do Ramos, Paraná do Uariá, Rio Mauwe-Açú, Rio Urupadí, Rio Marau, Rio Paraguarí, Rio Amano, Rio Paracuní, Rio Canumã, Rio Acarí, and Rio Madiera -- along with several rainy season "furos", or flooded jungle navigable only by canoe and only during the rainy season -- the longest one being the gap between the rivers Acarí and Madiera, roughly 40 miles of jungle which took three days and a lot of machete wacking to get through, following a "trail" -- that is, sometimes hard-to-locate scars on tree trunks from the machetes of previous furo travellers, along with the occasional empty half-litre bottle of cachaça hung from a vine.


My canoe in full sail on the Mawe-Açú river, near the city of Maués. The jib is something I have but rarely use, since it's more work to put up since I have to attach a bowspirit and I honestly think it does not help much.

The rest of the time I've spent enjoying local culture, cusine and world-famous Brazilian hospitality, both in the deep interior and in towns like Santarém, Averio, Óbidos, Jurutí, Parintins, Barrerinha, Boa Vista do Ramos, Maués, Foz do Canumã, here in Borba, and many small, isolated villages and communities along the riversides I paddle and sail. These are in fact my favourite places to visit as it is wonderful to learn about how local people survive and live their lives in relative isolation, heading to the "city" -- sometimes just a town of some 10.000 people -- once every ten months for supplies, travelling oftentimes days by motorized canoe to get there.

I've also spent time in two indian reserves -- Marau, upriver from Maués and along the river of the same name, and Mandacaru, along the Canumã. I explored gold mining areas in the upper Paraguarí along the Amano River, and found my first whitewater in the Amazon. I've gotten food preservation down to a science, and now salt and dry kilos of fish, croc meat, duck, deer, howler monkey, and whatever else I can get my hands on with great sucess and an almost non-existant spoilage rate. I've also got a gas stove and have become an excellent cook -- if I do say so myself.

Fishing with the cast net, Amazon River, December 2012

So far I have covered some 1,500 miles, from Itaituba, Pará on the Rio Tapajós to Borba, Amazonas on the banks of the mighty Madiera -- mostly alone although I did take a few friends for a few hundred kilometres back near Maués, one of whom apparently found the ad I posted on this site -- so I guess it worked after all. Though I don't think he really knew what he was getting himself into, as he lasted only eight days on the river. To be fair it was the worst part of the year to travel, the height of the bug season on the Uariá, and since the river was flooded fire ants were floating around everywhere and got into everything -- canoes, backpacks, food, pants, brains -- so it was a bit rougher than usual, so I understand. But I fulfilled my promise; we sailed and paddled around through the jungle and caught plenty of fish -- and you know, I don't believe we missed a single meal -- though neither did the mosquitos...


The longest strech of the trip to date, 41 days from Maués to Borba, 11 days rest and 30 days on the paddle up the brutal Paraná do Uariá -- just two days with good sailing winds, the rest of the time battling my way upriver the native way, an excruciatingly slow progress. Numbers 1 - 7: 1. Paraná do Uariá 2. Rio Paracuní 3. Furo de Cacuau 4. Paraná do Abacaxis 5. Rio Canumã 6. Rio Acarí 7. Furo do Acarí (the furo from the Acarí to Madiera, through the jungle. Was quite lost for an entire day.) 8. Rio Madiera

Now I believe I'm actually heading to Manaus -- for real. After passing the festas juninas working here along the banks of the Madiera (Borba, Nova Olinda, Urucurituba), I'll probably head upriver to Manaus, arrival date sometime July, I guess. Since I'm still on my own the offer to sail with me still stands -- I only ask that you be lightweight and of good physical shape and not have a lot of baggage -- physical or mental. I'll be headed up the Rio Negro -- it's the dry season...! It'll be beachy!

"And don't worry, it gets a LOT bigger than this!"

Anyways, fair winds and following seas, fellas.

--Pat
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:36 AM   #12
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Very well done and thanks for taking the time to post and let us read of your adventures from the comfort of home
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