Tuesday November 6th, 2001
Although we are not away from Seamaster, Peter has asked me to do another Jungle Team log today as practice for the journey ahead.
As I sat in a small tributary off the main river where Seamaster was anchored this morning surrounded by beautiful rainforest, I was thinking a lot about how much preparation we still have ahead of us before setting off on our adventure through the waterways of Venezuela.
My first feelings and thoughts were that I must say something about the extra crew that have once again joined us onboard for this Amazonian expedition. These devoted and dedicated guys (commonly now known by us as the “downstream dream team”), are all now part of the blakexpeditions family and once we depart Seamaster will be taking her back out of the Amazon and Brazil, then sailing up to Venezuela, to hopefully meet up with us in the Orinoco river.
They have made a lot of sacrifices to be here and are crucial to the success of this expedition, I/we in the Jungle Team give thanks to them for helping to minimise our usual vessel workload in order to help us concentrate our efforts on the jungle expedition ahead. Without them we would not be going.
As we headed up to the town of Barcelos today with the downstream team navigating, we were busy going over planning and preparation of equipment on the main deck.
Alistair found time to write a few brief thoughts on the journey ahead. As you will see he has a bit of a sweet tooth.
Cola and other thoughts
Final preparations are in full swing now as we pull all the necessary equipment for our month long trip in the jungle out of the bowels of Seamaster.
We have assembled a pile around the winches on deck and it just keeps getting bigger.
Many of the “downstream dream team” have complained because this is the coolest area on Seamaster (commonly known as “Rodgers”) and was the place to eat and relax when under way. I guess they will not have too much longer to complain as it could be as little as five days until we, the Jungle Team leave Seamaster and make our way into Venezuela.
As this pile keeps getting larger there are two key considerations that must be taken into account.
Firstly the Casiquiare, the natural canal that joins the Rio Negro with the Orinoco is currently very low and our sources have told us that it has not been this low for the past forty years. With rapids and fallen trees throughout the route, this will make navigation complicated to say the least. Especially with a heavy payload.
Opposing this issue is the fact that we must take all the necessary equipment to remain self-sufficient for the next four to six weeks, as well as all the equipment required to mount a productive expedition. Gear such as filming equipment, camping equipment, generators, diving equipment, petrol powered compressor, underwater lights, climbing equipment, full tool kit, spare parts for all mechanical items including the outboards, as well as our personal items are only part of the list that just keeps building. Has anybody thought about food?
We are going to be in a very remote area, and if, God forbid, we have major problems, I don’t think it will cut it to “call for mum”. The only mode of transport in this region without major air assistance is a long journey by shallow draft bongo, so help will not be readily available as we strive to keep the timeline and meet up with Seamaster in the lower Orinoco before Christmas.
As I sit here preparing the kit, it is a bit of a juggle between too much gear and feeling totally prepared. To do my bit to lighten the load, the two cases of cola I had put aside will now not be coming. Anyway, who enjoys cola at 40 degrees C.
We will be in Barcelos tonight, so it is time to think about last minute shopping. I may buy a little special treat that doesn’t weigh too much, then I feel I/we will be as prepared as we can be.
I am very excited and also a little bit anxious about the next four to six weeks, but would not trade places with anybody at this moment in time. It will be a true blue adventure.
I hope you stay with us on the journey.
We will have other personal thoughts from the team as we get closer to our departure.
How much equipment can we physically take with us has yet to be determined, but I know as the pile builds that the possible portage difficulties will weigh more heavily on our minds.
Best Wishes for now.
Ollie, Seamaster and Jungle Team.