Belem – near the Mouth of the World’s Greatest River

Submitted by Danny Catt on Tue, 2007/03/20 - 2:07pm.
The Port of Belem, Brazil

The Port of Belem, Brazil

It is hot and sticky today. As I write I am looking out across the brown silt-laden waters of one of the tributaries of the Amazon River. The Amazon is an amazing river. Its basin is the largest of any river on the planet and covers approximately 40% of the continent of South America (and 40% of Brazil).

All of the rivers and streams (big and small) that eventually feed into the Amazon are part of the Amazon basin. There are an estimated 15,000 tributaries (give or take a few) that all contribute to the Amazon and its mind-boggling volume of water. During the wet season (rather than having seasons of hot and cold like we do in the northern hemisphere, in the Amazon the seasons are wet and dry) an estimated 300,000 cubic metres of water per second enters the Atlantic Ocean when the Amazon meets the sea. What is astounding is that 20% of all the fresh water on the planet that enters into the ocean does so via the Amazon River. In fact the area covered by the Amazon River and its tributaries more than triples over the course of a year. In an average dry season 110,000 square km of land are water-covered, while in the wet season the flooded area of the Amazon Basin rises to 350,000 square km.

At approximately 6400 kilometres in length the Amazon is the second longest river in the world. The only river longer is the Nile, in Africa, but when you compare the volume of water of each, the Amazon contributes 60 times more fresh water into the ocean. Thus the Amazon is definitely worthy of the title, the “World’s Greatest River”.

Fruit Vendor, Belem, Brazil

Fruit Vendor, Belem, Brazil

The city that I am in now, Belem, is the capital city of the state of Para in north-east Brazil. With over 2 million inhabitants, it is the largest city along the Amazon River. Belem is one of two key ports along the Brazilian section of river, the other being Manaus, located approximately 1500 kilometres upstream from the river’s mouth.

Belem’s major exports include lumber, fruits, Brazil nuts, and a broad array of other commodities. It also has some eco-tourism activities for those travellers looking to explore a part of the Brazilian Amazon.

Riverboat Near Belem, Brazil

Riverboat Near Belem, Brazil

( categories: | | | )
Submitted by Atziri (not verified) on Tue, 2007/03/20 - 6:44pm.

Hi Danny: I hadn’t been able to check the web site for a while because I had a long exam period and then I went on a short trip, but know that I got to read and enjoy some pictures, I had such a good time! I felt as if I had visited some of those places myself. Congratulations. Take care. Atziri

Submitted by Danny Catt on Tue, 2007/03/20 - 7:16pm.

Thanks so much for your note. I hope your exams went well and I am glad you have been able to get caught up with the blog. I promise to add more photos and posts from my visit to Antarctica soon. Keep me posted on how you are doing!