The Amazon… she is an immense, lush, sultry, sweaty, dangerous rainforest, and a powerful, vast, convoluted river which both gives and takes of life. Her forests cover over 1.6 million square miles and span the borders of eight South American countries. Her over 40,000 species of plants and trees produce more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and rivers carry more than one-fifth the fresh water in the world.
The Amazon is also home to over 300 species of mammals, 1,500 species of birds and 300 species of reptiles, with an average of 120 new species discovered each year. She is as impressive as inhospitable, and we humans cling to her shores in stilt villages to protect again the floods. Each year, when the rains come, her waters rise and fall with the rains, up to 30 feet, inundating thousands of square miles.
Right now is the time of flooding in the Amazon Basin, and last week I made my first visit to photograph and write a travel story for Traveler Overseas Magazine.