The Amazon River, Facts and Figures

We dropped our river pilots today at Macapa and a few minutes later at 11:35 am crossed the equator to the northern hemisphere for the last time on this trip.  The source of the Amazon is Lake Lauricocha in Peru. The total length of the river is 4195 miles from the point where the Ucayali river and the Rio Maranon merge to form the Amazon.   It is also known as the Rio Solimoes from when it enters Brazil until it joins the Rio Negro at which point it is again called the Amazon.  There are 15,000 known tributaries and sub tributaries of which at least 4 are over 1000 miles long. The volume of  the river at its mouth is 46,000 gallons per second (6000% of the Nile volume.) The river varies between 1 and 35 miles wide excluding the flood season, and at its mouth is more that 250 miles wide. Most of the Brazilian section is 150 feet deep but near the mouth some depths of 300 feet have been noted.  While the Guinness Book of Records says that while the Amazon is the largest river in the world, the Nile is the longest.  However, advances in satellite technology cast some doubt on the Nile’s claim, and the Amazon may in fact be both the largest and longest.  As for notable river species, piranhas live mainly in the milky waters of the Amazon. They live in other rivers only at the point where that river joins the Amazon. There were no piranhas in the Rio Tapajos in which I swam yesterday.  There are also two species of dolphins, pink and grey.  I did see pink dolphins but was never able to get a picture of them.  We will exit the river at the sandbar near midnight at high water, at which point we will have only a few metres of water under the hull.  We will have travelled a total 0f 1777 miles up and down the river at that point.

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