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July 3, 2003

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Back on the floating hammock hotel for the last leg of our Amazon river odyssey. Two more days floating crammed elbow to cheek and we'll reach the Atlantic...
We've spent over a week in a hammock and now we're getting used to sleeping and swinging in unison with hundreds of other passengers as the boat rocks to and fro. On these boats there exists no concept of private or personal space. People string hammocks literally on top of each other, in every nook and cranny, and if you turn over and sway in your hammock, you'll knock into your neighbor and start a chain reaction that bumps everyone else down the line like dominos.
The Amazon forest disappears at a rate of more than 2 million hectares per year as farmers continue their inward spread. As we head towards the Atlantic the development increases, more villages and houses along the banks. The houses are basic, just shacks, often with a fallen tree serving as a canoe dock. We still don't see any roads and the area still looks like remote jungleland. The land of this tropical rainforests contains poor nutrients, more than 95% of these nutrients are generated and then renewed by the forest, never finding their way into the soil. When farmers slash and burn the jungle, the resulting charred land can only support a crop for one or two seasons.
Fellow foreigners on the Amazon circuit: Ole and Helena from Sweden. They're sailing around the world and decided a nice break from sailing would be cruising the Amazon - incurable water lovers.