Tag Archives: Amazon

The Regal Victoria

Photography: Longwood Graduate Fellows

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The familiar knocking wake-up call came at 5:45am this morning and once again we put on clothes, life-jackets, sunglasses, shoes and promptly hopped in the canoes. This morning we were only going a short distance over to the shore, where we disembarked and got onto an elevated walk way to journey through the rainforest canopy. It was wonderful to be able to get a new perspective of the rainforest, without having to get into a tree-climbing harness. It was the destination, however, that we were most excited about; we were on our way to see Victoria amazonica growing in the wild. As we emerged out of the forest, the walkway continued into the water where we were able to see many plants below us, including blooming Amazon Water-platters. It was truly amazing to see these majestic plants growing in the wild. The experience was only improved by a surprise visit by a group of capuchin monkeys!

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After all the excitement of our early morning adventure we returned to the boat for breakfast and then with reluctant hearts we began to collect our belongings, and repack our bags. Our last stop on the boat was at the meeting of the rivers. This is where the Rio Negro, the river we have been traveling on, and the Amazon River merge. The water continues on for thousands of meteres more to the Atlantic Ocean. The dark waters of the Rio Negro and the silty rivers of the Amazon river meet just East of Manaus, yet the water takes another 6km, creating a very unique natural phenomenon.

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From here the boat continued to the Manaus bay, where we disembarked and returned to the hotel to await transportation to the airport. It was sad to leave the amazon and our wonderful boat, but we were very excited to see what Belo Horizonte had in store for us.

 

If you want to learn more about Victoria amazonica and its importance at Longwood Gardens, check out Laurie’s blog post here.

The Amazon (Continued)

Photography: Longwood Graduate Students

With the bell ringing, we got up at 5:30 am and started an morning exploration of Rio Negro rainforest.

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The  mysterious journey of the plants and animal kingdom started along the bank of creek.  Although it  is the rainy season of this year, the water leve of the Negro River still not as high as the previous years which we can tell from the water mark on the tree trunks. Many epiphytic plants, such as philodendron, bromellias and many other ones telling the different life styles of Amazon. The most exciting part is to get the chance seeing cattleya orchid in bloom on the top of 60 feet tree trunk. At the same time, bird watching we saw parrots, toucans,vultures displayed the biodiversity in Amazon rainforest.  Many of these species named with Amazon and that means they only exist in this region. Also, quite a bit tropical features were caught with the more exploration.

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Jungle tour was led by both local guide and translator for 2 hours. We got into the deep heart of rainforest which only has 10% sunlight. All the plants survive in their own special ways in this complex ecosystem. Several native trees such as Makuku, rose wood, Brazilian tree, water vine, ferns, philodendron, heliconias which make us feel like back in the conservatory at Longwood Gardens,  while all the plants here grow in their original ways surrounding by the animal and insects neighbors.

The great experience of rainforest gave us the best lesson of biodiversity which makes everybody think about conservation and preservation a lot more afterward.

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Brazil Blog Day 1 & 2

Photography: Longwood Graduate Fellows

IMG_3862Early Tuesday January 8, the first year Longwood Graduates and chaperones, David and Lori, kicked off our long awaited trip to Brazil.  After meeting at the airport in Miami, we flew, without a hitch, to Manaus, Amazones, Brazil.

After breezing through customs, we collected our luggage (luckily nothing was lost.) A wonderful Brazilian man named Alex was waiting for us. As he gave us a quick tour of Manaus, he told us about our agenda for the following day and delivered us to our hotel, the Go Inn.  We reminded each other to use bottled water for teeth brushing, had a short meeting and were off to sleep.

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It’s fair to say that until I arrived in Manaus, I never knew humidity. It wasn’t particularly hot, only 80 degrees, but the air stuck to us like dew on the morning lawn.  Immediately we were awestruck by the impressive humidity and the friendly people.

IMG_3967 IMG_3918 The next morning, we tried various juices of the region…Acerola, described by one Fellow as “mystery citrus deliciousness,” Maracuja (Passion Fruit) “tart and tropical” and Cupaucu with a “Limey Pear” flavor.  We admired Manaus’s varying architecture and walked around the famous, Teatro Amazones, where we were able to hear the Symphony rehearsing for the evening’s concert.  Before noon we visited many notable parks and public spaces that featured the influence of famed Brazilian landscape architect, Roberto Burle Marx.

That night we spent our first of three evenings on the Amazon Clipper, with our guides Hugo and Sardes. (Who have already helped us with a lot of tree and bird i.d.)  As we set sail, the air was so humid it began condensing into raindrops but a few minutes later a rainbow appeared. We enjoyed our first dinner on the boat and then went for a night cruise around the Rio Negro in small canoes to scout kamens, night hawks and frogs.  Along the way the stars came out. I mean hundreds and millions of twinkling, sparkling gems, so close together, one could hardly identify the constellations.  There was so much to see that we couldn’t look away. For the first time ever, we saw Orion’s bow and all at once we witnessed a falling star. The true meaning of “infinite” started to glimmer for each of us. As a result, I’ve started to believe that diamonds are just the earth’s attempt at mimicking the heavens.

Enjoy the photos—stay tuned for our adventures on day 3 and 4!

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