Along the Ucayali River from Pucallpa towards Iquitos aboard the Tuky III is where we’re headed, maybe today, or whenever the cargo is loaded. The deck still has space, but the hold, accessed through the small hatches outboard, has been absorbing toilet paper, pasta, sugar, soda, wine, cooking oil and much more esoteric stuff beyond accounting. I´ve even seen corrugated boxes labelled butter – surely it´s canned?
Stevedore lines snake from trailer trucks backed as far down the hill as practicable. It’s blazing hot. There is action everywhere: a fleet of Henry (a company with 8 in their fleet ) boats are being loaded at the foot of the street 2 blocks up, and at the sawmills next door appear a steady stream of barges bearing big rainforest logs.
It’s depressing to think about all the places where all those trees used to be. But I can’t deny being excited by all the other activity on the waterfront, and I’m looking forward to this four- or five- day voyage of discovery (on somebody else’s boat!).
We’re on the Tuky III because of its clean and orderly aspect, because it’s smaller than the vessels of the Henry fleet, and because one of its four cabins was available for us. Otherwise we’d be swinging with a hundred hammocks on the covered second deck.In fact, we also have some budget hammocks, for a place to sit. As it is we still share the six toilets and three showers. The cabin is a small steel box with two bunks (clean mattress covers), a metal door that closes, and a ventilation grill, but it is all the way forward on the second deck and we’re hoping for a breeze as long as the boat moves. We’ve brought drinking water, fruit and juices, toilet paper, chocolate, oh, and some mosquito coils. Can’t wait to find out what else we should have known!
And, we just learned one important thing : Tuky III looks good now because it´s straight from the shipyard. We´re on the maiden cargo voyage! Also, Google Earth for this area is a revelation, as always.