Rafting the Amazon: Building the Raft

Building the Raft

I woke early and met George at his house. We had breakfast and than took a long walk to a saw mill on the outskirts of town. We went to the mill to find scraps of wood that could be used to refurbish the raft. The wood would be used to build a platform on the raft and shelter.

Pali and George

Pali and George digging through the woodpile

We found a sawmill with a huge pile of long planks and slats. I climbed the pile of wood and began to dig for appropriate pieces. The day was hot and I sweated as I pulled pieces from the pile. We finally had a large pile of good pieces of wood. The next task was to figure out a way to get the wood from the sawmill to George’s home. I talked to a man who was loading wood from the scrap pile for firewood into a small, blue pickup. Unfortunately, he did not want to help us. We decided it might help to bring our pile of wood closer to the road so we carried the slats and planks to the sawmill entrance. George walked down the road looking for people to ask about hauling the wood. We finally found a man in a white pickup that would haul the wood.

We unloaded the wood and carried it to the raft. George lived in a house built over the river. We had to carry the wood through George’s house, down a ladder and to a dock that was alongside his house. George began to cut the wood and I nailed it to the logs. We used the planks to create a deck over the logs that would provide a place to sleep and store goods. We used the slats to create an A-Frame like structure that would be used for shelter.

The A-frame

Building the frame

The roof for the A-frame shelter was made of coconut tree leaves. I cut the coconut leaves from the trees growing in the patio of our hotel. The leaves had to be dragged from the hotel, through the downtown streets, to George’s house. It was bit embarrassing and everybody stared at me. I’m sure people wondered what the gringo was going to do with a bunch of coconut leaves.

The leaves were nailed to the A-frame shelter. We bought 8 meters of blue plastic to cover the leaves and make the shelter waterproof. We finished the work in the evening. To celebrate, we drank a few beers with George and his family.