Cruising the Amazon River

The Amazon is indisputably the largest river on earth by volume of discharge. At its mouth, its flow into the Atlantic Ocean is greater than the next seven largest rivers combined. Whether it is the world’s longest river is a matter of dispute among geographers, but most finally concede it may rank second to the Nile in length. It is between 110 and 180 miles wide at its mouth, again depending on which measurement you accept. Your voyage will navigate the river something like 1,000 miles from the sea. During some of that time, the river will be effectively a flowing ocean. Other times you will see one or the other of its banks. You will pass large numbers of vessels of all sorts and sizes, coming and going between the Amazon basin and the wider world. That basin covers 40 percent of South America and contains one third of all known living species. The river itself supports over 5,600 species of fish alone. Although it flows through Brazil, it is in many ways a country unto itself, with a unique, or rather many unique lifestyles and cultures. The life along the shores, both human and otherwise, is profoundly affected by the river’s ever-changing cycles of drought and flood. There is a lot to learn about the Amazon. Enjoy your journey along its fascinating shores.