Thursday, December 5, 2013

The camping trip of a lifetime

I grew up in the Amazon in Brazil and obviously, when you grow up in such an exciting adventurous place you have lots of exciting adventures to show for it! This story is one of the many! My family was very close. We kind of had to be close to each other because we were all we had, no other extended family or anything for thousands of miles, just us and the other missionaries who lived nearby. My dad was a very adventure loving person, which I'm sure was part of why we ended up in the Amazon jungle as missionaries. He decided that we needed to go on a family adventure trip once a year. We had a family meeting and decided that the first year's adventure was to be a camping trip on the Rio Verde, which was one of the most beautiful rivers in the Amazon basin that we had ever been to and it was about a 3 hour boat trip downriver from where we lived. We got everything ready: hammocks, food, fishing rods, swimming gear and the family dog (who I must admit, was a Great Dane) We piled everything into the 16ft aluminum motor boat. It was quite packed in there and all 5 of us plus the dog who made up for two more and off we went on our merry family adventure. It started off by a wave knocking one of the fishing poles into the murky muddy water of the Madeira River, a river on which we lived but never swam in due to the dangerous currents and very muddy water. So, my dad sadly left the lost fishing pole in the river.

We were making good time in the little boat until about an hour down river when the motor sputtered and died. We drifted onto a sandbank where Dad tried to figure out what was wrong with the motor. We kids played in the sand, being careful to avoid stingrays and other dangerous creatures, but loving our adventure so far. He finally fixed it and we piled back in the small boat. Off we went again and the motor worked off and on. We finally made it to our destination about 5 hours later. It was everything that we had been told it was. Crystal clear greenish water. You could see all the way down past your feet when swimming in it. Our camping spot was a little somewhat clear spot on the side of the river. We unpacked the boat and found some good trees to string the hammocks up in.  See, in the Amazon, you definitely do not tent camp! There are too many creepy crawly creatures who might join you in the tent. So we each worked on getting our hammocks up before it got dark. With the hammock we also set up a mosquito net and a tarp to keep us dry if it rained. My brother John, who was a perfectionist and had done this many times before, set up his hammock and tarp perfectly. All the rest of us, who knew how did what we thought was a perfect job. Just as we finished setting up camp and went to start the campfire, the rain came down! We each grabbed a cold chicken drumstick and ran for the hammocks. Thankfully in the Amazon, sometimes the rain doesn't stay for long and it's usually a nice warm rain. After about an hour or so of rain, it died down and we went back and attempted to restart the fire and have a little more dinner. Sometime in the middle of the night the rain came again and our not so perfectly set up tarps soon began to drip down into the hammocks. If you've ever tried to sleep in a hammock in the rain, I will already tell you , it doesn't work too well! It was a very adventure-full night in the middle of the jungle in the rain.

The next day was beautiful though and we swam and fished and swam some more and explored the river and swam. Then we headed home. Our poor motorboat did not want to get us home though and when we finally managed to limp over to a little larger river, we caught a ride on a larger river boat and were able to be towed back home! It was a huge adventure for some crazy kiddos and their parents! One that I won't likely forget!

1 comment:

  1. Great blow-by-blow account! You did better than I could have. Just one detail you forgot to include. When we got back, Dad got out his snorkeling gear and retrieved his fishing pole from the underwater ledge it had landed on when it fell out of the boat. And it did it in one dive.

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