Amazon River – 10 months through rain forest, desert and solitude


In the morning we had seen the last people, the man in the dugout had checked us with surprise. Hours have passed since – rain forest, nothing than rain forest.

I am sitting on the wheel of our small and indescribably fully packed boat, lost in thoughts. Still 5000 km on the world’s largest river are ahead of us.

Yesterday we had enjoyed the pleasant cool of a  small jungle village, half the village had gathered at our arrival. They had asked us where we would come from. – Europe – Hm! – They had never heard that word.

Six months had been necessary to gather information about the Amazon, the stream meandering like a slow snake through the South-American continent, carrying with him a fifth of the earth’s river waters.

It took us six months until all our equipment was in front of us and all preparations were concluded. Our plan was to follow the Amazon river against its current, from the mouth up to source.

First days in Belém, the modern city at the mouth of the river into the Atlantic, showed us reality. Close to the city borders  people live in wooden huts on stilts or rafts with dugouts floating beside, used by the settlers for fishing. In the 400 km wide river delta there were innumerable islands by which only a few were inhabited.

In Manaus we found a light aluminium boat and an outboard motor and were now no more bound to fixed routes. We filled the boat with fuel for 600 kms and started to ascend Rio Negro, the largest tributary to the Amazon river. On the riverbanks the rainforest resembled  an impenetrable black wall.

From Iquitos, 4.000 kms upstream the Amazon river, we continued our journey with barges that brought us closer to the foothills of the Andes. In an enormous rapid the Amazon river breaks its way through the last mountain ranges. A compulsory stopover in a small village leads us to the first encounter with natives.

Desert waitedfor us after an abrupt transition and we continued walking. With more than 30 kgs on our backs we soon came into bad troubles. We had not been able to get food and found dried up water holes for days. After several weeks we had reached the point to give up. While crossing a river we had lost money, parts of the photo equipment and some of the exposed films. Heavy rainfalls had made a road, impassable in which were we had hoped to forge ahead faster. But nevertheless, we decided to continue.

Weeks later we were only hours away from our destination. A terrible storm had covered the landscape with hail white like  snow. Our horses shied, we had descended long time ago. Finally we arrived late in the evening. In an altitude of 4000 ms within steep mountains with summits  covered by huge glaciers, Laguna Lauricocha was in front of us, the lake that gives birth to the mighty Amazon river.

10 months we had followed the current of the AMAZON river, the largest of all streams on earth, always driven by the desire to finally reach its legendary source. The information which I had searched for at the beginning, are now found on more than 1000 pages in my diaries. Unforgettable impressions were recorded in my photographs – but all of them are a reflection of the real adventures only.