The seaworthy vessel
In the morning we took a bus to the port Captain’s office. I was told that we had to get a permit to make the river journey to Iquitos. As part of the permit process, Pali had to type a letter that explained the motive of our trip and the final destination. The captain requested that one of the port inspectors look at the raft before he gave his permission.
I was a bit worried because the Captain said that life jackets would be required for the trip and we did not have any. Before the inspector looked at the raft, Pali went to one of the nearby riverboats and convinced a staff person to lend us three life jackets. The inspector looked at the raft and the life jackets and when I told him that George was going to be our guide (a small lie), he signed the papers for the trip.
After we got permission for the trip, we went to the market to buy supplies. We bought food essentials, like rice, potatoes, noodles, fruit, salted fish and ketchup. We bought a 10-gallon container for water, a machete, a foam mattress, charcoal, kerosene, a lamp, and a bottle of rum.
That evening, Pali and I walked around town a bit and talked about our hopes for the trip. We were pretty excited and couldn’t believe what we were about to do. Maybe because I was a little scared and as a precaution, I called my mom in the States. I told her we were going to take a trip down the Amazon and I would not be in contact for a few days. I didn’t tell her about the raft but I did tell her what town we were leaving from and our intended destination.
That night we slept in the raft for the first time.