EngatÓ in the Rainforest: An Amazon River Diary

A Bus Ride

It’s nearly 3,000 miles by air from Atlanta to Manaus, Brazil. At one end lie striped bass that congregate in Georgia’s rivers for their spawning run each spring; at the other, bass of the peacock variety, colorful denizens of the Amazon river watershed. From Manaus, it’s another 200 miles east by bus to the Uatumã River in northern Brazil. The Uatumã is a remote Amazonian tributary known for its dark, tea-colored water—the result of heavy concentrations of tannins released from decaying vegetation. Here, we’ll chase peacocks from a live-aboard riverboat.

Upbeat chatter fills the air of the aging 12-passenger bus transporting our crew of anglers and hosts. We bounce along pothole-filled roads and share stories of family and fishing. Hot air from open windows swirls through the bus, which we stave off with small cans of Brazilian pilsner snatched from a Styrofoam cooler in the aisle. Return guests reminisce about the explosive strike of the peacocks, and I wonder aloud whether the stripers back home compare to the bass in Brazil…

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