Size does matter on the Amazon
Since the ride from Belem to Macapa was to take some 24 hours, I wasn't overly concerned about the size of the boat. When I saw it, the Nene Abdon, I still wasn't worried. Some 50 feet long, with three decks, lots of cargo, and some 50 passengers. It was supposed to leave at 18.00. I checked in with the bike at 15.00 and claimed my hammock space. They were loading sacks of manioc, boxes of vodka and wine, and furniture. At 20.30 we were called to dinner. When we got to the dining area, we saw neatly laid out on another table the whole top section of the motor, Saab 6 cylinder turbo diesel. We knew that we wouldn't be going anywhere fast for a long time. At 10.30 they were finished with the assembly, and it started. But there was an aminous "Ding" from its bowels. They took the top off once more, and we all went to hammock. Next morning at 7.00 I saw one of the mechanics separate the driveshaft from the engine block to get ready to hoist it up in order to get at the oil pan. Nr. 4 cylinder seems to have been the culprit. It received a new sleeve, a new piston, and various gaskets. The captain said that we'd be sailing by 10.00. At 14.30 the motor was restarted. No gurgling from its bowels this time. We left the dock at 15.00, only some 21 hours late. Now size came into play. We stopped at a dozen places or so to load and unload. Slow going, but lots to see. After all, that's what I was here for. So far two days on board. During the third night, in sight of Macapa, the captain put us on a mud bank, stuck in the mud. One hour later the rising tide lifted us off, and we made port, after some three days on board. So be warned. If you want to go as fast as possible from A to B pick the biggest ship you can find. Also be prepared. Down here the river gets very choppy, and your stomach might not like it. Bring Gravol.