Blog written by Alex Minder
We all woke up at 7.30 this morning, refreshed after a long night’s sleep and psyched for the day to come! The day started out in the way which has become routine aboard Pangaea, deck cleanup from 7.45 to 8.00 and then a breakfast of homemade muesli for breakfast. Christian’s cooking is delicious.
After breakfast, we started moving up from Barcelos, and came upon a small little community along the Rio Negro and purchased three pirogues for very generous prices from kindly riverside boat vendors. We now have enough pirogues for 6 young explorers, and so by combining this with the paddle boards we have enough tools to all move through the jungle swamps together.
Lunch was a delicious affair, with a couple of the young explorers making great spaghetti with tuna sauce. After lunch, it was into the river with our newly purchased pirogues, to learn how to paddle them from the most qualified teacher in the world. A man who has traveled 100s of miles, spent weeks moving upstream, a true ‘paddle master’: Mike Horn. After learning how to paddle the pirogues, we moved onto an exercise where we would learn how to empty a submerged pirogue without touching land. Mike told us about the time he was paddling across Lake Victoria and was caught in a storm. He had to figure out how to empty his sunken canoe, whilst still 600 km from shore. Hearing his experiences inspired us and helped us realize how important these survival techniques are.
We ended the day with a foray into the jungle. Mike taught us how to clear an area with our machetes, how to lay a basic snare trap and how to assure that your catch will stay in your trap. We then made several attempts at scaling a tree to set a trap and it was a very successful afternoon. We are now back on board Pangaea, our tremendously happy moods dampened only by the thought that we are already halfway through the expedition.