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Expeditions:Return to the Amazon Gallery

The Amazon

The Ocean Futures Society Team completed a ten-month-long investigation of the great waterway—navigating upstream some 3,700 kilometres and tracing the river near its very source at a melting glacier 4,900 metres high in the Andes to its mouth in the Atlantic. There, the Pororoca, considered the world’s most dangerous tidal bore, roars into life, careening upstream, wreaking havoc along its path.

By air, water and land—flying by helicopter, float plane, the Ocean Futures Cessna, navigating in numerous inflatable boats and aboard the Ariaú Açu expedition vessel, and hiking for days through the rain forest—the Ocean Futures team explored the heart of the Amazon jungle, bringing back an extraordinary acoustic, visual and literary record of life in, on and along the river.

Please click on the thumbnails to begin the slide show and be sure to visit all four galleries!

SETTING UP CAMP: Matt Ferraro films as Céline and Fabien Cousteau, and Matthew Scott set up the OFS team’s tents. Their food was brought in from the Pantera Negra because they didn't want to impose on their hosts. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

MANIOC: Even at midday the windowless maloca is dark. Here, as a little girl keeps her company, a Marubo woman stirs boiling manioc, often called cassava. The process removes the toxin in the root. (Manioc starch is the source of tapioca.) © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

MALOCA: A young Marubo girl rocks a baby boy in one of the maloca’s several hammocks. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

MARUBO: The lower face and neck of this young woman of the Marubo tribe are painted with a dye derived from the fruit of a tropical evergreen tree (Genipa americana) to which ashes and coal have been added. The body markings, which last for about two weeks, identify her clan affiliation. Since there are outsiders in the village, she is wearing a bra. Her necklace consists of layers of snail shell while her blue earrings were not made locally. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

CATTLE RANCHING: Cowboy herding Nelore cattle. The breed has its origins in cattle originally from India. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

MIRACLE TREE: Moss grows on a tree at the Jari Sustainable Forest Stewardship Project. Each tree is tagged with its own number. In the central database can be found information, including species and age, concerning any particular tree. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

HEARTS OF GOLD: Gold capped teeth are popular among the Shipibo people of the Amazon. Nevertheless, this young man’s pair with their upside-down-heart-shaped inserts are unique. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

AERO CONTINENTE: A young boy paddles to the other side of a pond created after a heavy storm. While his tee-shirt promotes a now-defunct airline, "Aero Continente," the trusty dugout remains his unfailing mode of transportation. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

CAMU CAMU: Two young people gather camu camu in their shirts in a flooded grove. These fruits are used by Amazon Herb Company to make nutritional supplements, thereby providing a local income while also promoting sustainable harvesting of the botanical treasures of the rainforest.
© Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

SCARLET IBIS: The adult male and female of the scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) are both bright red, a result of their crustacean-rich diet. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

THE "BIG ROAR": The Pororoca-engendered waves look mild-mannered enough in this shot. However, spray from what the Tupi Indians call "the big roar" actually reached as high as the helicopter carrying OFS photographers filming from above. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

POROROCA: Their small boat’s motor pumping hard, not to mention their hearts, Fabien Cousteau, Jai Mansson and their driver race to stay ahead of the powerful waves. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

SWIMMING TO SAFETY: After filming the Pororoca, OFS photographer Carrie Vonderhaar spotted this lone horse floundering in the water, struggling to get to higher ground. After some anguishing minutes, the animal made it to safety. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

THE REDDER THE BETTER: Since a pale-faced white uakari shows a symptom of malaria, the more scarlet the face, the healthier the individual. This white uakari may look 1) old, 2) sick or 3) grumpy but is none of the above. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

BEAST OF COLOURFUL BURDEN: Oblivious to the grandeur of the 4,000-metre-altitude setting, the hard-working pack animal goes about its work. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

WARM HAND, WARM HEAD: This little boy wearing a chullo, the ubiquitous head covering in the region, and holding a relative’s hand was shy about having his picture taken. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

CUSCO, PERU: This woman, wearing traditional garb, including a flat-topped hat, and leading a blue-eyed llama, allows tourists visiting Cusco to snap her picture – for a price (50 cents US). © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

LIFE AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD: Céline Cousteau (foreground): "There was a picturesque little hut built of mud and stacked rocks, its roof thatched with long, coarse grass. I asked our guide, ‘How does somebody live here?’ And he told me that herders live in these huts seasonally to let their animals graze and then return to lower altitudes in the winter. We saw four such dwellings on our hike. Just when you thought you were really out there and there was nothing around, all of a sudden there was this mud house." © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

QORI KALIS GLACIER: Céline Cousteau contemplates the Quelccaya ice cap and the Qori Kalis glacier to the right. She is sitting at the edge of the glacial melt lake. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED

DAY FOR NIGHT: Despite appearances, this photo was taken at night from final base camp. The moon illuminates the scene, and stars show as streaks because of the camera’s seven-minute-long exposure time. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society