This morning we pushed off from shore and let the current grab our bulging canoes. The swift current helped us travel 25 miles relatively easily. There were many small rapids, but we were able to navigate them with having to portage. A portage is when you have to carry your canoe and all your supplies around a rapid. We saw many animals today, including howler monkeys and lots of macaws. Hercilio caught a large tambaqui, which is a fruit-eating fish. It has large flat teeth that it uses to crush the seeds that it eats. Paul caught his first piranha. We are going to eat the tambaqui and piranha for dinner!
Brazilian Believe it or not! An electric eel surfaced alongside our canoe today. It 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.”