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Re: the amazon

><< 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.

I have been to the Amazon and it is definitely NOT allowed to collect
orchids. You can photograph them and that is all. You cannot collect and
take any other plants either UNLESS a citizen of Brazil *gives* them to
you. Our guide and boat captain was the official "giver" of plants for the
people who took some.

If you are an American you can bring back plants that are absolutely clean
of all dirt and bugs... and I mean *clean* roots and all. If they see a
speck of dirt... out it goes. No disease spots, bug eggs etc. Plants must
be labeled clearly as to species and put in clear plastic bags for easy
inspection. Taking photographs of your planted tanks to show the customs
guys would be a good idea. It seemed to make quite a difference when one of
our group (Karen Randall, actually) took her's out to show them.

If you are a Canadian... forget it. Short of smuggling and getting in BIG
trouble you cannot bring foreign plants into Canada without a phytosanitary
certificate from the country of origin. Brazil will not give you this
without a lot of trouble... in fact I was warned not to even hint that I
might want a plant because they get VERY uptight about "scientific" type
expeditions and it would cause all kinds of trouble if officials started
getting interested. Go as a tourist. Look at the plants. You will not find
many "aquatic" plants to collect that you cannot get here. 

Oh... btw, take a tape recorder if you go. The sounds are wonderful. If you
have a video camera that will capture sounds, so much the better, but I
think I'd still take a tape recorder as well (and try to go with quiet
people). A smell-o-corder would be good too but they haven't invented one
yet. ;>

BTW, bringing fish back is much easier than plants. You won't have any
trouble with the US and you can get a permit for Canada pretty easily.

in Vancouver