Animals abound on the Rio Branco


6_2_14StudentResponse (Upper)

Our first few days on the river have been full of animal encounters. We have seen over 30 macaws, howler monkeys, giant river otters, tapir tracks, many different butterflies, tons of fish and even an electric eel!


Howler monkeys are the loudest animals in the rainforest.

The electric eel is one of the Amazon’s most amazing critters — It packs a punch and can send a 650-volt electric jolt that kills or stuns the fish it preys on. That’s 6 times the voltage that powers your house and, as you know, even a shock from house wiring can be deadly. Fortunately, electric eels don’t generally choose people as prey. However, a participant on a canoe expedition down this same river system about 10 years ago reported getting zapped by an eel while swimming. Apparently, that eel just wanted to say hello because that lucky swimmer noted that the mild zap he got felt “mildly pleasant.”

Dave found a tapir track near his tent.

Dave found a tapir track near his tent.

We have been paddling on the Rio Branco for two days. We hope to reach the Rio Roosevelt in two more days. The Rio Branco is a wild river with a few signs of humans. We have navigated down a few rapids and expect to encounter 3 more before we reach the Rio Roosevelt. I am writing this by the campfire with the Milky Way shinning overhead. The air is filled with the sounds of frogs and insects. The forest is filled with amazing creatures. I can’t wait to see what we encounter tomorrow.



This is our camp at night.


Brazilian believe it or not!

After the Portuguese seafarer Pedro Cabral discovered the land that is now Brazil, reports began to filter back to Europe about advanced civilizations found deep in the jungle. The people of this mythical kingdom, called El Dorado, were said to live in cities of gold and their emperor was said to dress himself daily in gold dust. For centuries, treasure-seekers braved the dangers of the Amazon searching for El Dorado. Many died of disease, were killed by native warriors or simply disappeared. But they still kept coming. Searching for those who disappeared became such a problem for Brazil that in 1934 the government officially banned searches for El Dorado. But still they came, including American movie stars. Archeologists now think advanced civilizations did exist in the Amazon about a thousand years ago, but the lost city of gold has yet to be found.

Roosevelt fun facts

Our 2014 Rio Roosevelt Expedition is dedicated to the conservation legacy of our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, who during his White House tenure from 1901 to 1909 established nearly 250 national forests, wildlife refuges, parks & monuments in the United States. With our expedition updates, we’ll share some amazing facts about this amazing man. Consider this:

Roosevelt was so passionate about the outdoors and adventure, that even during his time in the White House, he averaged 30 days per year sleeping out the under the stars. He would slip out of the executive mansion alone to lay his bedroll in Washington D.C.’s Rock Creek Park and was known to skinny dip in the Potomac River – even in winter!

Cast YOUR vote! Comparing notes with Roosevelt

This week we will be paddling down the Rio Roosevelt, following part of President Theodore Roosevelt’s journey down the river in 1914. This week we plan to compare our observations with Roosevelt’s observations 100 years ago. We need you to help us decide what type of things we should compare. We could compare they animals we see versus the animals that Roosevelt saw. We could compare the people Roosevelt encountered with the people we encounter. We could compare Roosevelt’s accounts of the rapids they encountered and compare them to our own experiences.

What should we focus on next week?

  • Ice (39%, 14 Votes)
  • El Niño (33%, 12 Votes)
  • Climate Change (28%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 36

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Dave’s dilemma: Ahead of schedule

Since we were not able to paddle through the Cinta Larga’s land we had to start farther downstream than we expected. Plus, the water is high and the current is faster than we expected, so we are moving really fast. This has put us ahead of schedule and we are not sure what to do. Should we slow down and take layover days and side trips, should we paddle farther, perhaps all the way to the Amazon River? Let us know what you think we should do!

One Comment

  1. Sandy Kracht
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    We would like to hear about side trips and more about the area you are traveling through.

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