The Amazon, a land of ancient cultures and heritage, also known as the green lung of Mother Earth. Here, wild and untainted nature thrives and that’s exactly where the 2001 Donnavventura expedition headed out to. The team landed in Natal, the capital city of the Rio Grande do Norte state, soon to reach Pipa and then the fishermen village of Maracajau. The first night was spent on hammocks set up amongst the palms on the beach.
Then the expedition traveled to the natural park of Lençóis Maranhenses – and endless sea of dunes in the “Brazilian Sahara Desert”. To reach this breath-taking place, our explorers had to tackle some treacherous off-road tracks and rivers, on the way to Barreirinhas. The heat and humidity at some 40° C made this very challenging leg of the official 2001 itinerary even more demanding for all the members of the team.
The “Lençóis” appeared as true sheets of snow-white, blinding sand, reaching out along some 100 kilometres and constantly mutating their shape according to the wind. A most unique location, where rain is able to create temporary, but incredibly beautiful lagoons like Lagoa Bonita and Lagoa Azul, blessed with the purest, blue water ever. The perfect match between the two predominant shades of white and blu is simply amazing. The Donnavventura explorers were even so lucky to take a short, but certainly stunning flight above this fascinating and unforgettable landscape.
The local Caboclos, originating from an Indios tribe of the past, live near the dunes, in humble and simple huts made with mud, wood and palm tree leave roofs.
The expedition thus settled down in Barreirinhas, carefully timing their brief stay in order to safely sail down the Rio Preghissa on small engine-powered canoes. Soon they reached the mouth of this river, thick with mangroves and tropical vegetation. All of a sudden, a huge white dune announced a lovely lagoon down the stream, where dark-skinned kids usually swim and joyously play on the small, black-sailed “jangade” boats. This place is known as Caborč, a most remote outpost with just a single fishermen village.
Soon, the team arrived in Belem, on the mouth of the Amazon River, more than 300 kilometre-wide. It is the gateway to the River Amazon with a busy port, airport, and bus/coach station. Belém lies approximately 100 km upriver from the Atlantic Ocean, on the Pará River, which is part of the greater Amazon River system.
Later on, the Amazon capital city of Manaus welcomed the arrival of the expedition, preparing for heading North along the Rio Negro, all the way to San Gabriel do Cachoero across the Equator. Our explorers soon visited the village of Maturakŕ, home of the local Yanomami indios tribe and built next to the very border with Venezuela and Colombia. The travel reporters worked hard for some days in order to finally break the proverbial ice and thoroughly film and capture some unique sights and features of this ancient and misterious tribe – a truly unforgettable experience.
After this brief, but intense discovery, the Donnavventura team sailed back to San Gabriel D.C. and reached Nova Airao and its thick jungle, looking for magnificent turtles and impressive snakes. The “Com.te Shalom”, a recently refurbished vessel, took our explorers along the Rio Negro to meet the famous “botos” pink dolphins and some colorful fishermen with a huge daily catch – some sardines even jumped into their boats!
At night, the whole team escorted by local hunters, challenged the dangerous crocodiles and took some glorious shots.
Other amazing pictures were then taken along with some members of the Tucano tribe, right before heading back to Manaus and report about the very place where the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimonges meet, originating the very Amazon River. The two different streams are still visibile after some 20 kilometres, before eventually merging in the main waterway.
To celebrate the end of the 2001 Donnavventura expedition, the Governo do Amazonas in Manaus hosted a magnificent masquerade in the historical Palazzo do Rio Negro – local folklore entertained everybody with its captivating Boi Bumba.
The members of expedition team were: Deanna, Marzia, Margherita, Lucia, Myriam and Francesca.