The irony is that I was so worried about the two legs of our riverboat journey for which we could not buy tickets in advance. And I felt so cozy about the other two legs, having found agents in the Amazon to secure cabins for us. We even paid for them in advance (using PayPal for one but having to wire the money to France (!) for the other.)
As it turned out, however, getting cabins for the second leg was as easy as for the first (which I’ve described in that earlier post). When we left the reserve, Choca motored us to the larger town of Tefe, about 40 minutes ride from the Pousada. He tethered his motorboat to the Fenix, an ancient riverboat that I knew was supposed to leave at 6, bound for Manaus. A cabin was available, and for just 300 reais (about $83, including the two nights accommodation and all meals and water). We handed over the money and bade goodbye to Choca.
After arrival in Manaus at dawn on Monday, I texted Leonardo, the agent from whom we had bought the Manaus-Santarem tickets, and he confirmed that someone would deliver the tickets to our hotel and drive us to the boat Wednesday morning. So we passed a carefree day.
Then yesterday (Tuesday) morning, I got an urgent email from Raphael (the agent in Belem from whom I had bought the Santarem-Belem tickets.) The boat, he wrote, “will not leave [Santarem] on Saturday because he was interdicted by local authority, by irregular documents.” Raphael wondered if we could take the boat leavingMonday. But THAT was a big problem, because the Monday boat would not arrive in Belem until late Tuesday, and we have plane tickets to Rio leaving Belem mid-day Tuesday.
A lot of scrambling ensued, and we think we may have a solution. We’re now on the Amazon Star, due to cast off in a few minutes, whereupon I expect to soon lose service again. With luck, however, I will have a post written and ready to post tomorrow evening, when we’re due to reach Santarem. Stay tuned.