The End of the Journey
Last view of the raft
That morning we woke early to the sound of the market next to us. We began to sell our supplies including the machete, water container, plastic tarp and other items. The local children took what was left, including the oars and cooking pot. The raft was left at the dock next to the market. The people at the market said it would be their “recuerdo” of the crazy gringo and Chilean that floated down the river.
We later learned that it takes less than 12 hours for a riverboat to make the journey that took us five days. We spent the rest of the day exploring the town and making arrangements to catch the next riverboat to Iquitos. We eventually found a boat and loaded our gear. It would take us two days to get to Iquitos on the riverboat. I was told that it would have taken us 20 days to do it on a raft. Of course, the fishermen were wrong about the time that it took us to get to Contamana. George, the man from Pucallpa who helped us build the raft, said it would take about eight days to raft from Pucallpa to Iquitos. It was quite clear to me that no one rafts the river so nobody knew for sure how long it takes to raft distances.
I don’t think I would ever float down the Ucayali in a raft again. I would prefer a canoe that I could easily navigate and a nice mosquito net. I immensely enjoyed the adventure though. It was definitely an opportunity of a lifetime.
About the Author
Charles Brennick spent over two years in the Peace Corps in Paraguay as an environmental education teacher and did a one-and-a-half year internship in Costa Rica, where he worked to market sustainable development projects on the Internet.
He now works as a natural resource planner for Snohomish County Parks in Washington State and also directs a non-profit organization called InterConnection. The non-profit donates computers and websites, as well as Internet training, to organizations which are dedicated to benefiting local communities or the environment in developing countries.
Contact Charles: firstname.lastname@example.org