Escaping Pirate Territory in the Amazon
Through May, Maldague averaged around 12mi per day paddling into the heart of the Amazon. As he progressed up the Rio Solimoes he was repeatedly warned about the danger of river pirates. He stayed alert but found the people he encountered to be very friendly. Plenty of small communities lined the banks of the river, with larger villages every 300mi or so.
On May 19, he made it to the Rio Purus. This was a massive relief for Maldague as it (in theory) meant the end of the main danger zone for piracy. Two people had been shot dead in the area 10 days before Maldague passed through, so the threat was very real.
Maldague had been sticking only to the northern bank of the Rio Solimoes because locals advised him it would be safer. Unfortunately, this took a mental toll. “It’s full of people which is a bit tiring…this northern stretch of riverbank is all farmland,” Maldague explained, noting that finding camping spots was proving very difficult.
Madlague’s first major stop on the Rio Purus was the town of Beruri, where he stopped for a few days to relax. He left as tired as before having enjoyed himself a touch too much in the town!
From Beruri, he still had about 1,500mi of the Rio Purus to cover, so he determined to pick up the pace a bit, aiming for 20mi per day. The river is winding and he was also able to take some shortcuts to shave off some paddling distance.
On route to the next major town, Tapaua, he stayed a night with some forest rangers who helped him fish for piranha and showed him around their area. The respite was welcome, Maldague had been struggling to find suitable spots to camp along the river because water levels were so high.
Now in Tapaua, Maldague is taking some time to make some repairs and rest up before he continues on down the river.