Cruising The Amazon River

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It took us two days to reach the northern mouth of the Amazon River from Recife, during which time we continued reading, swimming, and photographing the ship, the ocean, and sunsets! After the Marco Polo crossed the Equator, there was a silly ceremony when three hapless crew members that had never crossed the Equator were "baptized" with eggs and other food.

We were several miles into the Amazon, cruising by Macapá, and the water turned to a muddy brown solution. The color did not change totally brown at once, but was first seen as a muddy brown streak in the ship's wake. By the time we woke the next morning, the water was all muddy. We did see what is known as the "Meeting of the Waters" near Manaus where the black Rio Negro River joins the brownish waters of the Solimoes River.

We travelled the Amazon during the dry season when the river is at its lowest height. During the dry season, at its widest point the Amazon can be 11km/6.8 mi wide. We had no trouble seeing land from both sides of the ship as we progressed up the river. The ship's decks being well above the water line no doubt contributed to the easy viewing of houses, or vegetation along the river.

The area covered by the Amazon River and its tributaries more than triples over the course of a year. When the Amazon River Basin floods during the rainy season the Amazon River can be up to 40km/24.8 mi wide. Where the Amazon opens at its estuary the river is over 325km/202 mi wide!