Amazon River Cruise, 7 days
Description of Amazon River Cruise, 7 days
Travel 200 miles upstream on the Rio Negro, the Amazon’s largest tributary. As you voyage deeper and deeper into the jungle you’ll find yourself far from civilisation, in the most untouched rainforest of the whole Amazon.
Exploring the Amazon’s tributaries takes you away from the many settlements on the bank of the main river, giving you more chances to spot wildlife. Your home for the seven days is a traditional-feel white riverboat with loads of windows over its decks. From the observation deck, you can fully appreciate the magnitude of the forest, whilst motor launches take you on smaller expeditions away from the main vessel.
There are many different kinds of rainforest, and you’ll explore many of them, from terre firme forest, free from flooding, where tall hardwood trees grow, to varzea forest, annually dosed with rich floodwater so its trees grow thick and green. There are orchids and bromeliads, iguanas and tall, elegant fishing birds, and monkeys cavort on the branches.
When night falls, you’ll venture out with torches to listen to the rainforest’s chorus in the darkness. Your torch might pick out red eyes glowing in the night – the eyes of caiman, Amazonian alligator, lurking in the water.
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PlanetThe basic areas on which we focus are energy conservation, waste management, and pollution control.
In the realm of energy conservation we have equipment and procedures in place to conserve energy while at the same time retaining the comfort of our cruises. Our vessel has two solar power systems, a photovoltaic system to generate electrical energy, and a direct, active solar system to heat water. The solar generated electricity is used to power our galley refrigeration, our ice makers, cold water dispensers, some lighting, and, importantly, energizes the batteries that we use to propel our ship's launches on excursions. The solar water system is one of two entirely separate water circulation systems on the vessel, the other is powered by diesel electric generators. The vessel throughout is designed to support both systems. Each of the bathrooms on board actually has two shower heads: one of them for gravity fed water heated by our solar collectors and the other pressurized hot water powered by fossil fuel, our diesel generators.
Operationally we have a variety of ship's procedures to promote energy conservation. First, we have a policy of “solar power hours” when we actually turn off all diesel consuming machines for certain hours of the day when they are not needed. This is done in the early morning and late afternoon when the boat is generally at anchor and most travelers are not on board the ship. The vessel remains comfortable even without electrical generation because it was designed to offer water, illumination, and climate control even without diesel generators operating. Because the vessel has two completely separate water systems, even when there are no generators functioning the refrigeration, sinks, toilets and showers on the vessel continue to function.
Secondly we do not heat or pressurize water to be used in sinks and showers 24 hours a day. Instead, we have “on-demand” water heaters installed in each stateroom which are energized during specific hours of the day. There is water in the showers available at all types and powered by the solar collectors, though the water temperature is determined by the sun.
The vessel was designed with large windows so that travelers are able to use natural lighting during the day. This mostly eliminates the need to generate power for illumination during the day and is a significant reduction of fuel consumption. All but a very few of the light bulbs on the vessel are LED bulbs which greatly reduces power consumed. When it comes to climate control, the vessel has an efficient air-conditioning system that functions in the heat of the day and at night. But even during the solar power hours, the staterooms stay cool because the vessel is thermally well insulated. Almost all of the windows on the vessel open and close and we have a practice of opening the windows in the public spaces in the cool of the afternoon. Many travelers choose to turn off the air-conditioning for the duration of the trip. Together, all of these measures enable us to greatly reduce fuel consumption and emission of pollutants.
Our cruise procedures also include a number of measures to encourage sustainable conduct in the rainforest. We strive for zero impact in operations which means travelling only in small groups, not removing anything from the forest, leaving nothing behind, staying on defined trails, not creating new trails, keeping noise to a minimum, and leaving no waste behind. We take considerable measures not to disturb creatures that we observe including not getting too close, leaving an area if an animal becomes disturbed, not handling creatures that we encounter. We recycle our waste, we haul our trash back to landfills in the city, and we use as many sustainable natural products as possible.
The ship design, mechanical equipment, and the extensive conservation have, we believe, helped make the our vessel the most sustainable expedition vessel in the entire Amazon.
PeopleWe are part of the communities of both the remote villages we visit and the larger city where our vessel is home ported, Manaus, Brasil. We do our best as members of these communities to share the benefits of tourism as broadly as possible as well as work conscientiously together as responsibly as we can. The vessel's team has a commitment to positive impacts on the environment and the local community of which we are a part. Sustainability is not just about avoiding negative impacts - sustainable tourism must also have a positive benefit.
The operations of the vessel are crafted to both share the economic benefit with the community and to promote conservation of the Amazon rainforest. The basic ways that these goals are sought is through promoting environmental education, providing stable well paid long term employment, by implementing procurement policies that distribute the benefit of ship purchasing, and, importantly, through providing revenue to local communities in a way that places high value on preserving wild rainforest.
Supporting Cultural Preservation:
On our cruises we are very careful in our interaction with local peoples and to avoid turning the villagers into trinket vendors or cultural reenactors. We have elaborate procedures in place for not disturbing small communities with our visits. This includes varying the places we visit and ensuring that the interactions with local peoples are respectful and not economically or culturally disruptive. We provide materials that can benefit not just individuals, but the entire community such as diesel fuel for the generator or writing materials to the village school.
Our cruise supply and maintenance purchases are quite considerable and we do our best to purchase directly from the local farmer at the farmer’s markets. There is a significant multiplier effect of revenue from our vessel operations. Because we are ourselves locally based, virtually all of our activities have social and economic benefits to local people. We especially support sustainable tourism through employment and careful and considered purchasing for our expedition cruises. All of our staff members are licensed by the Brazilian maritime and tourism authorities. While many tourism enterprises hire part time, free-lance guides, all of our staff are long term employees. They are skilled naturalists and mariners and their enthusiasm for communicating their knowledge of the forest, as well as promoting sustainability, are the most important aspects in the success of our cruises. Almost all of our crew members have all grown up in the forest and have a vast store of experience to share with our travelers. Everyone on the vessel's team shares in the benefits of long term employment and receives comprehensive health care, paid vacation time, retirement accounts, and a variety of other benefits that demonstrate our collective commitment to working together as a team for sustainable forest preservation.
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