Devil’s Island

We spent a day on Devil’s Island after reaching the Atlantic Ocean.  We booked a zodiac boat island tour to the main island where the prisoners were kept until the facility closed in 1953.  Our ship had the movie Papillon available on demand in the cabins so we watched it early in our cruise to catch up on the history and brutality of the penal colony.  Our tour was a go, then put on hold because of a missile launch from the island was rescheduled to the day we arrived.  Then the missile was rescheduled again but there was a port worker strike.  The strike was solved then 10 minutes before we left for the tour we were notified of an unplanned military exercise on the island.  So… they gave us the day on the adjacent island that housed the prison’s guard staff, hospital and solitary confinement.

The view of the island on approach by our ship’s tender. Very mysterious looking.

Such a lush tropical place!

Entrance to one of the cells. We had open access to most of the buildings. There was even a small hotel and restaurant on the island. We couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to stay, though. You can walk around the entire island in about 90 minutes.

The ruins of two solitary cells.

Scary things can become beautiful with time.

The grounds had beautiful flowering trees and bushes.

This is a missile monitoring tower that supports the French spaceport on the island next door.

This little guy is an agouti. They’re everywhere. They have cute orange rumps and feed off of coconuts and nuts on the island. They’re like a very large guinea pig with long legs and are used to people admiring them.

The island had a healthy colony (a muster, actually) of peafowl. The hens were ignoring the males completely, despite their best efforts.

Hello gorgeous!

Another photo. Just because.

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A Fun Day On The Amazon

We got off of our cruise ship onto a small boat for a half day trip on an outlet of the Amazon river for a closer look.  It was truly memorable.

This is called the meeting of the waters, and happens in a lot of spots along the Amazon river. This is where the Tapajos river feeds into the Amazon. We saw a ton of dolphins here, but they were too quick to capture in a photo. The most interesting were the pink dolphins, which were huge.

There were horses and cattle wading in the water everywhere. I imagine they find higher ground at night for sleeping.

We passed this family on our journey. Homes were few and far between, and always up on stilts. This farmer was very proud of the caiman he had freshly caught.

We passed this gorgeous river hawk. It reminded me of the one who lives along our driveway at home.

We saw a few sloths lounging in trees along our route. This one made me giggle. Our captain turned us around for a closer look and he didn’t like us staring at him. Rather than move, he slooowly grabbed a branch and moved it in front of his face. Dude, we can still see you….

Look at this gorgeous iguana! He couldn’t care less that we paused to admire him.

We stopped for about 30 minutes to fish for piranha. We used raw beef as bait (of course). Check out the teeth on this thing!

Our tour boat did quite well. There were white, black and red ones caught. These were all returned to the river as they only do catch and release fishing. These fish do attack and kill people on occasion, particularly during the dry season when food is scarce. We were happy to see them up close from inside our boat.

The trip back to our ship was gorgeous, back through the dolphins and next to where tons of soybeans were being loaded onto cargo ships.

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Boi Bumba

In Parantins, Brazil we were treated to an Amazonia folkloric festival show called Boi Bumba.  The actual festival happens in June and is the one of the largest in Brazil.  It didn’t hurt our feelings to miss the real deal.  You also won’t catch us in New Orleans during Mardi Gras or in NYC on New Years Eve!  They gave us an energetic one hour show with live music and gorgeous costumes.  They also served us caipirinhas, made from fresh limes, sugar and cachaca (a brazilian spirit made from fermented sugar cane juice).  Plus I scored a free CD from one of the performers.

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Just Back

We just got home from another great trip!  This one started in Brazil and ended in Fort Lauderdale.  I’ll start getting photos up when the mountain of laundry is done.

Tomatoes And Peppers

I’ve been busy planting tomato and pepper seeds for our garden and greenhouse this year.  I also plan to purchase some heirloom vegetable plants this year as we intentionally got a late start due to travel plans.  It should give us a later than usual harvest.  Not a bad problem once the Fall arrives.

When Your Garden Yells At You

We put up our own seeds after every growing season, including seed potatoes.  These were set aside in a dark corner of our laundry room after harvest last summer with a towel over them to keep them dormant until planting time.  Evidently, we’re running a bit late this year…  We got the message.  These went into the ground yesterday.  🙂

A Sure Sign Of Spring

Our dinner guest bunny is back.  It munches the grass and clover right behind our deck just next to our dining table whether we’re sitting there or not.  We haven’t started having meals back there just yet (snow is expected this weekend) but seeing this little guy makes us want to.

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