Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Rise and Fall of the Amazon River

I have been here in the Amazon since July of last year and have had the chance to see the various moods and manifestations of the incredible river of the same name.  Even though this river moves more water that any other on the planet it is not an unchanging body of water.  The river and surrounding forests generally know 2 seasons, the wet and dry.  However because of its immense length there are parts of the river that my experiencing one season and along another stretch of river you may find the opposite season in full force.   Don't be mistaken by the term dry season, it is used relatively, it rains during this time of year as well.  On average the Amazon rainforest gets showered with between 1.5 and 3 meters of rain.  Here near Leticia a large portion of that rain is concentrated from November to May with  the other half of the year receiving noticeably less rain.  As the rainy season progresses the Amazon river changes drastically.  Tiny streams 2 meters wide and 2 meter deep become rivers  50 meters wide and 17 meters deep.  (First series of photos)

   In some areas the river encroaches considerably flooding a few kilometres into to rainforest.  The only way to really  appreciate this is by showing you lovely people some before and after photos.  I realize that the extent of the change may not be entirely apparent in all the comparisons.  This mostly comes from the fact that now that the river is grown I couldn't take the photo from the same spot I did when the river was dry because that spot is now underwater.  In any case I hope the striking change still comes across in the images.

The first was taken in the port in Leticia.  The arrows indicate a point of reference so that you can get a better idea of how the river changes.

Taken in September

Taken in October

Taken in November

Taken in February

The next couple photos were taken from the community of San Martin. I am missing a photo to show how high the river is now but  I will hopefully be able to upload one by next week.
Here the river in some spots is less than a meter deep.

The river here is starting to rise and now is over a couple meters deep.

These last 2 were taken in front of the Yoi EcoLodge.

Taken in August

Taken in February
Not every year is exactly the same in terms of how high the river is at certain times and nor when the river is at its highest and lowest points.  Some times the river will rise and then drop drastically only to rise to the same level a couple of weeks later.  Its unlikely that climate change is helping the variability of  the river.  Unfortunately it may be challenging for those of you who do not live here to have the opportunity to see all the faces of this incredible river.  I hope that you will come and see at least one. 

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