Foreward: Eu falo um pouco de Portugues.
Eu entendo um pouco mais.
Monday, October 2, 2017, the American fishermen met the Miami Airport to start their Adventure to Manaus, Brazil and joint Brazilian Fishermen from Goiania, the crew, Earl and Ruth Ann Haubner on an Adventure down the Amazon River. Rick Gabelman, Merle, Mike (Merle´s son), Barry Helms and Allen (Zeke) Williams made up the American team. Jvarer Rodrigues and Elidio Bertholucci Neto were the Brazilian fishing team. Sanderley, Cesar, Judson, Junior, Edilsa, Nete and Claudiane were the crew for this trip lead by Pastor Earl and Admiral Ruth Ann. In addition, there was a part-time crewmember Cristiano.
The American team arrived in Manaus around 10:30 pm and was met by Sanderley, Juson and Earl. There they immediately boarded the bus to the boat, the CMB Amazonus, which had to be parked in a dock inside Manaus instead of the normal spot at the Tropical Hotel due to the low water on the Rio Negro. The team was greeted on the boat by the remainder of the crew with hugs and greeting as well as a fine dinner any cruise ship would be jealous to have served.
Soon the boat engine came to life, the boat headed east down the Amazon River leaving the Manaus lights far behind and starting the 15 or so hour trip to Sao Sebastiao do Uatuma. There Earl would attend to some business at a conference and we would add three Brazilian team members from Goiania; Valmir Santos, Pastor Agostinho and Pastor Wesley.
Those remaining on the boat passed their time watching a Caterpillar Motor Grader push the dock we were tied to further out in the river. They are industrious in Brazil!!!
Gudson joined us most of the trip as an expert in the repair of the starboard side generator which finally roared to life after a couple reworks of the engine head and timing adjustments about mid-night of the last day of fishing. Until this time, the port side generator provided all the electrical current for the boat.
After loading some additional supplies, we were off again, this time up the Rio Uatuma past Bom Jesus to a wildlife refuge. There Earl and Sanderley had to purchase permits to fish within the refuse. Some negotiation ensued before the permits were obtained and there was mention of laxative in the discussion. We sailed a little further up the Rio Uatuma and parked just upstream from the entrance to the wildlife preserve.
Wednesday morning started with a 6:00 am breakfast call as only Earl can. Some of the crew went to catch bait while others readied the boats for the fishermen. Jvarer and Elido were only casting lures and Cesar was more than eager to pilot the casting fisherman. Judson was the pilot for the American team. Junior took care of the other Brazilian team and retrieved the baitfish. About 7:00 am, the team was on its way to the first of many fishing spots. The American team spread out around a point and before long Earl was catching the first Peacock Bass of the trip. A good number of fish were caught at the first location including a couple of 5 kilo and one 6 kilo bass. Mid-morning we moved to a second location where the Brazilian team was fishing. Again a good number of fish were caught before the crew headed back for lunch. A couple string rays were caught during the morning.
The afternoon started at the spot we fished before we left for lunch but we soon left for another location were the caught a good number more bass. Wednesday was the best day as far as the number of fish landed. The theme of the trip quickly became, `Let It Go, Let It Go`……yes grown men along the banks of a tributary to the Amazon River were singing a Disney song!!!
Thursday morning started very much the same except Judson took the responsibility of retrieving the baitfish while Junior piloted the American team. Thursday was much slower starting at the same location as the first day but quickly moving on to the second, third and fourth locations. A few bass were caught but not as large or as many as the first day. A few sting rays were caught throughout the day. The Piranha made their appearance by tearing up the bait but not large enough to be caught thus ended the bass fishing for the day. A young man by the name of Matos joined the fishing as a crew member. Matos lives in the region and knows the waters very well.
The one crisis, besides the generator not working, occurred Thursday morning when Wqemir fell in the boat injuring his ribs and breaking three fishing rods. All ended well as Wqemir was sore but nothing broken and he repaired the fishing rods with a technique similar to that used in repairing dentures. These rods ended up catching a number of fish so all was good.
Friday morning started early with the American team joining the fishermen from Goiania with a few small bass being caught but both teams enjoyed the fellowship even if the fishing was just a little slow. This would be the last day the fishermen from Goiania would be able to join the fishing as they were headed back home.
Rick had devotions in the evening using fishing as the basis; really about catching fish, which was becoming a foreign concept for a few of us. He explained various avenues people are brought to Christ and their service to the Lord.
Saturday morning we moved upstream and started fishing near Matos´ village Leandro Grande. We said our farewells to Valmir, Pastor Agostinho and Pastor Wesley before heading out for another day of fishing. As with the previous days, the bass were hiding and would not come to the party even with a lot of good baits being cast their way. We did find a couple cat fish, dog fish and sting rays.
Sunday morning arrived with rain falling in large quantities. We went to Matos´ home to catch bait and then fished within sight of his house. The rain fell so hard, Earl and Rich decided it was better to be one with the fish and be in the water than to stand on shore and be cold. Merle was not convinced the rain had set in for the long haul and Barry helped fashion a rain coat out of a trash bag. A few bass were caught but very few. The rain continued all day and into the evening.
The day ended with a message from Rick and the Lord´s supper. The evening closed with prayers from both Brazilians and Americans.
Monday morning arrived with new optimism and hopes for better fishing. The rains held off part of the day but some showers did come along. Edilsa joined the fishing for a good part of the day but even she could not improve the number of fish caught. This was Edilsa´s day off to fish. She joined the crew catching the bait and fished as hard as anyone.
As a side note, Nete and Claudiane fished several times during the week near the big boat and with some success. They could be seen in the morning catching their bait so they could go to the river bank once their chores were complete. OK, Nete and Claudi were making us look bad at times.
Tuesday was another day of renewed optimism as we had gone back upstream where we had started our fishing adventure. Nete and Claudiane joined us this day as they had their turn to show us up…….and yes they did!!! Claudiane caught a very nice large bass. Most of the crew stayed at the fishing spot and cooked their fish over a fire for lunch. A hard storm came through but did not dampen their spirits. When we arrived back, they were already fishing hard but still with limited success. Barry even took to a chasing camine for its picture. It seemed a little shy but Barry was persistent and captured a couple shots. He also caught three Traira fish on a lure. Those were pretty much the highlights of the day.
Wednesday would be our last half day of fishing before heading home and we were joined again by Edilsa; thank goodness! She finally found the fish that had evaded for us for several days. In the half day, more fish were caught than in the past five days. The crew, the fishermen, Earl and Edilsa enjoyed the morning. That is not saying everyone was lucky but everyone was a part of a successful team. Barry even caught one with his bare hands!!!! (To be honest, it wasn´t moving very fast and it was upside down.)
Merle has joined in boat trips 17 times and this one he shared with his son, Mike. When asked about his impression of his first Amazon Adventure, Mike replied,“The food is great and the crew are the most hospitable of any cruise ship.´´ He sounds like a guy who might try another mission trip.
The two fishermen using only lures had their share of hard luck most days but they did manage to land a few larger bass.
Wednesday evening, we sailed back to Sao Sebastiao where we parked for the evening. After dinner things were really quiet as everyone finally had internet and phone service again. Families were told of the adventures and the wonderful experiences. Others caught up on the news and events at home. And well some, caught up on their favorite pastimes like baseball and the play-offs.
Thursday morning, we walked to the church at Sao Sabasiao where we were met by the pastor, Daniele. We also got to see his daughter Danielia who has been part of several mission trips. We continued our walk to the greenhouses and visiting with the caretaker Santanta. Of course, she cared for our needs by serving us water and watermelon. Then we returned to the boat and soon we were headed back to the Amazon River for the trip back to Manaus.
We cannot give enough praise to the crew. The cooks, Edilsa and Nete, served three fabulous meals a day that included chicken, beef and lots of fish!!! Vegetables were cooked in various ways but always good. These are special women who are loved by those they serve and they serve and love their Lord. Claudiane cares for the clothes and cleans the rooms. She does everything to perfection and everyone loves kidding her. She too is a wonderful child of God. Sanderley is an extremely competent boat captain and boat caretaker. We missed his presence most of the trip but he always provides excellent service to the visitors to the boat. Cesar, Judson and Junior serve at times as the boat pilot as well and preforming many, many other duties. They too are excellent in the service they provide!!! These men serve as if they were caring for the Lord himself.
Even with the language barrier (and it is getting smaller as the crew is learning a good amount of English), the crew can provide for every need of the passengers. They are some of the best people serving God by caring for others and none are better.
Finally, we come to the most wonderful couple a team could ever be hosted by, Earl and Ruth Ann. God made them for this cause and in their calling they fulfill with dedication and love. Earl and Ruth Ann are a blessing to their crew, the villages they serve, the teams and most of all to the Lord they serve.