Having left Barbados we travelled south towards the Amazon delta. The temperature has steadily been increasing to the high twenties. Ian continues to go to the lectures.
The subjects vary and include South American history, UK Border controls and women's role in WWW1. I have been mainly sunbathing by the pool but also attended a lecture by Kate Adie. She was a very good speaker, speaking without notes and also very humorous.
Entertainment continues to be of a very good standard and at last we win the pub quiz! We have been pipped at the post in the tie breaker several times but we stormed home with "Guess The Voice". And the prize? A bottle of Cunard sparkling wine that the Entertainment Team liken to paint stripper! I'll enjoy that!
When we woke up on 22nd January we were sailing on the Amazon. The water is no longer a vibrant blue, now it is a muddy brown. The Queen Victoria is the biggest cruise ship to travel down the Amazon.
It is very warm and muggy. We sail down the Amazon towards Manaus. This is over 850 nautical miles. Either side of this vast river are verdant banks of forest. Every now and then it is clear grassland with settlements built on it. Floating down the river are branches, shrubs and even whole trees!
Manaus is a sprawling city built in the dense jungle with a population of 2 million. It was the worlds rubber capital at the turn of the 20th century.
We are up early to see the natural phenomenon known as the meeting of the waters where the River Negro (black river ) meets the River Solimas (yellow river). They run side by side for twelve kilometres before mixing. To be honest it wasn't that easy to see from deck but Cunard had a helicopter taking publicly shots for this maiden port. I expect that will be clearer.
We leave Victoria behind and board a small two deck ferry boat. This takes us back to the meeting of The Rivers and it is much clearer. The rivers are kept separate for three reasons, the Rio Negro is warmer by 4c, the Solimas is faster flowing (four times faster) and denser. Interestingly the Rio Negro is also quite acidic with a ph of 4.7 - 5.2 which means the are very few mosquitos living in it.
While cruising the Amazon we see a pink river dolphin for about 2.5 seconds, it really was pink! Assorted water birds as well as a floating village complete with church and school, although several of the 'buildings' had a distinct list. We are told that they have mod cons like electricity, fridges and we even see Sky satellite dishes!
Then it was time to transfer again onto a powered canoe seating 10. Life jackets are provided but in our case they lacked the belts to do them up, a bit like being handed a large lump of polystyrene and told to hold on to it if you sink. With our new vessels we penetrated up a small creek. More bird life but also monkeys screeching at us. It really does seem like the Amazon I expected. We pass a lad in a small canoe with a sloth, a pet or dinner?
Lunch is taken on a floating restaurant. A good range of food including one labelled as piranha, not at all bad actually. After lunch we look in the gift shop. There are varnished Piranha and wooden objects. We have been warned not to buy them as after a few days the varnish comes off and you are left with a foul smelling fish and they and the wooden objects have got bugs in!
We head back to The Victoria and it's time to shower and change ready to go to a music recital in Manaus Opera House.