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Re: amazon trip

On Tue, 17 Aug 1999, Ed Street wrote:

> Hello,
> Next year i'm wanting to visit the amazon for a week trip.  Was curious to
> find out what outfit would be good to use while there and what part would
> be best to visit.

Hello Ed,

A bunch of us went last spring as part of the Victoria Conservancy &
Tennessee Aquarium.  We visited (essentially) the confluence of the Rio
Solimoes and Rio Negro at Manaus, going up both tributaries for a few
days.  We went with a guide named Moacir Fortes Pereia (aka "Mo"), who has
some great boats & is highly regarded.  I do not think you can "sign up"
with him, though.  I think trips get booked over a year in advance.
Perhaps the conservancy is doing a couple more trips next year.

>  I am not interested in collecting fish as it can do
> alot of harm to the fish in question, the health of the amazon, and my
> current tanks.  However if everything was ok and I was 100% assured that
> the fish would have a better life in captivity then I would be willing to
> go that route.  

Eh, there's at least two ways to collect fish, the "exporter" approach,
and the Lee Finley method.  We chose the latter:  we brought back (for us)
a lot of fish... 100 specimens... and almost all of them survived (and
some are spawning for us now!). We caught ours in dipnets on the flooded
banks, which causes no impact on the environs at all (their homes are
actually changing from season to season anyway...). We packed them 1-2
fish per bag with Poly Filter.  The only mistake we made was taking a 150
qt cooler instead of two 75 qt units -- the airlines charged us $70 on the
final leg of the trip for oversize baggage.

> Anyways, enough rambling.  I am mostly interested in observing the fish in
> there native enviroment, taking water samples, looking for orchids,
> aquatic plants (don't mind collecting them under the right conditions) and
> to snorkel with the piranha.

You probably won't see much of the fish. :) The Solimoes is solid mud with
no visibility, and the Negro is like looking into Tea -- about 1 foot

You will find interesting plants, but you must be prepared well in advance
for the trip through customs.  We had obtained APHIS permits months in
advance of the trip, scrubbed all our plants well in insecticidal soap,
and packed them in labeled bags, and only brought back 12 specimens per
person.  The Agriculture inspectors still gave us a hard time (as they
should).  My suspicion is that if we hadn't done even ONE of those things,
we would not have brought any of our plants back.

Orchids are not allowed across customs at all.  But they are great fun to
spot and photograph.

Have fun!

  - Erik

Erik Olson
erik at thekrib dot com