12 December 2011


"Meeting of the Waters"
near Manaus, Brazil
With a population of approximately 1.8 million, Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas. There is an unusual natural phenomena that occurs when the dark, warm water of the Rio Negro, which comes from the northern jungle area, meets the light, cold water of the Rio Solimões from the Andes to the south. The difference in temperatures and current speeds causes the waters to remain separated for several miles until they eventually mix to form the Amazon River.

The Rio Negro, which is on the Manaus side of the parallel rivers, is also very acidic, and thus doesn't support mosquito life.  Despite temperatures that reached 108 F (about 43 C) while I was there, I had no problem with them. Dehydration, yes.  Mosquitos, no.

A popular tourist attraction is a 4-5 hour trip to see the "Meeting of the Waters" and travel through the rain forest. 

A Walk in the Rain Forest
Before stopping for lunch at a floating restaurant, we
took a short walk through the jungle on this boardwalk.
(Photo: Eric Lifrak, used with permission)
Carolina, Erika, and Brunie
After returning from our boat trip, Erika, the daughter of an
old friend (Nancides, now deceased) drove us to a lovely spot to
view the sun setting over the Rio Negro.
Then we had wonderful Brazilian ice cream that comes in 

hundreds of exotic flavors: mango, tapioca, passion fruit, açaí,
coconut, coffee-chocolate-rum, pineapple. I wish I would
have had the time to sample them all.
(Photo: Erik Lifrak, used with permission.)

Sunset On the Rio Negro

Addendum: In 2013, two years after I visited Manaus, my husband wanted to try out his new binoculars. We needed a place where we were high enough to see for miles, so we headed to Mount Washington, a section of Pittsburgh, for a view overlooking the city. While my husband was using his binoculars, I took photos of the city. It wasn't until I returned home and looked at the photos, did I notice that the very same phenomena as the meeting of the waters also occurs where the Allegheny and the Monongahela meet to form the Ohio River. I later learned that this only happens at certain times of the year, but still, I traveled thousands of miles to see something I could have seen 35 miles from home. But, hey, I wouldn't have been able to say I had walked in the Amazon rain forest if I had stayed in Pittsburgh.
Duquesne Incline which travels from the Ohio River to
Mt. Washington, overlooking the city of Pittsburgh, PA.
Note the contrasting colors of the waters from the
Monongahela (coming from the right) and the Allegheny
Rivers and how they stay separated for some distance after
forming the Ohio. (Click on image for larger view.)