Manaus, Brazil - Meeting of the Waters

Submitted by Danny Catt on Tue, 2007/03/20 - 2:22pm.

The Meeting of the Waters, near Manaus, Brazil

The Meeting of the Waters, near Manaus, Brazil

With a population of around 2 million, Manaus is the largest city in the state of Amazonas, Brazil. It is located about 1500 kilometres up the Amazon from the river’s mouth and is situated on the shore of the Rio Negro just a mile or two up river from where the Rio Negro meets the Rio Solimoes.

The waters of the Rio Negro are black coffee coloured and are without sediments whereas the Rio Solimoes is a milky brown colour and is loaded with sediments and associated nutrients. The differences in colour and water characteristics are a function of what part of the basin each river drains.

The Rio Solimoes is a muddy, milky brown because it is loaded with sediments from the Andes (and other sources) while the Rio Negro is black coffee (or weak tea) coloured because it drains the nutrient poor upper Amazon basin (near Colombia & Venezuela) and has virtually no sediment in it.

The river we know as the Amazon actually changes its name a number of times along its route to the sea. It starts as the Acayali River in Peru (when I was in Pucallpa, Peru I was on the Acayali River). The Acayali joins the Rio Maranon near Iquitos, Peru. From Iquitos to the Brazilian border the river is known as the Amazon, but once the river flows into Brazil (from Peru) it is called the Rio Solimoes until it joins the Rio Negro near Manaus. Once they meet, it takes many miles for the waters of the two rivers to mix completely.

Once past Manaus the river is once again referred to as the Amazon, the name it retains for the rest of its journey to the sea. (That may sound a bit confusing but I hope it makes sense).

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Submitted by leah (not verified) on Thu, 2007/03/22 - 5:55pm.

Very cool picture - reminds me of where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet off the coast of Cape Town, though the colors aren't as vivid. I'm anticipating your blog+pics of Antarctica as it's a part of the world I've always been curious about. Plus wondering about the weather given your affinity for warmth :)

Take care,


Submitted by Danny Catt on Sat, 2007/03/24 - 10:43am.

Thanks for your note Leah. I did not see the colours where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet when I was in South Africa... but it sounds like quite the sight to see. I will have some Antarctica pics up very soon! It is raining hard here in northern Argentina... and we will see how things are in Ecuador when I get there next week. Thanks for the hello!

Cheers, Danny

Submitted by K. Bogen (not verified) on Sat, 2007/03/24 - 8:44pm.

Hello Mr. Catt!

A quick hello and a very special thanks for your endeavours so far and for packing around all the necessary equipment to make this possible! A big thanks also to your team at home, who are doing a terrific job! :)  

I was keenly interested in your geographical text of the amazing Amazon River! To comprehend the magnificence of this river, I did a quick mathematical comparison to our 'mighty' (mini) Fraser River...apparently the Amazon drains an area approximately 32X larger than the Fraser and it is 5X the length. The significance of both these rivers to our sustenance, regardless of size, is probably equally similar. Simon Fraser (the Canadian explorer) took a month and a bit to canoe down the Fraser travel down the Amazon in a canoe could take half a year!

Be safe, 

Ms Bogen :)

PS I think perhaps in Vancouver, Canada we would consider 'winter' and 'wet season' to be synonymous terms! ;) Although, it is officially spring, and, still very wet.

Submitted by Danny Catt on Mon, 2007/03/26 - 1:08pm.

Hola Ms. Bogen and the Coast Class!

Thanks for your post... and for taking the time to make a global comparison between the Fraser and the Amazon. I guess, for those of us living in British Columbia, the Fraser River is our Amazon. The Fraser, despite its shorter length (it is still almost 1400 kilometres long), is the world's greatest salmon river, provides fresh water for agriculture along its route, is critically important to wildlife and has been an important transportation route (at least sections of it) since the days of Simon Fraser. Its importance to the province and to British Columbians is immeasurable. You are probably aware of the Heart of the Fraser initiative that our Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Centre of Excellence (through the hard work of Mark Angelo, Dr. Marvin Rosenau, Bob Gunn and others) is involved in at the moment. If not, check out: 

I really appreciate you taking the time to say hello in the blog and hope that you and your COAST students continue to follow along!

Thanks again!


Submitted by Leopoldo and Joaquin (not verified) on Mon, 2007/03/26 - 6:08am.

Hello, we are from Rio Cuarto, Córdoba. We just wanted to say that we really enjoy your talk. We will follow you though the web site.


We must be leaveing now... its break time  =)



Submitted by Danny Catt on Mon, 2007/03/26 - 12:57pm.

Thanks for signing into the website and for sending me a hello. Please say hi to your classmates and teachers for me!



Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 2007/03/26 - 9:28am.

mouhaha lol

anybody knows sites about long and wide rivers in national parks?


Submitted by Danny Catt on Mon, 2007/03/26 - 1:11pm.

Hello and thanks for your post on the blog. Off the top of my head though I am not familiar with websites specifically describing rivers in national parks.  If you can be a bit more specific about what you are looking for I may be able to help find some information for you.

Cheers, Danny

Submitted by Ken Zaiser (not verified) on Tue, 2007/03/27 - 1:22pm.


 Been nice following your wild journey...some of those pics with the water crashing onto boat would are wild and scary.

Keep up the good work and look forward to seeing you upon your return.

 Take care dude, Ken

Submitted by Danny Catt on Wed, 2007/03/28 - 7:11am.

Hi Ken!

Many thanks for the hello. I am glad that you have been able to follow along. Yup, the heavy seas crossing the Drake Passage were amazing... I am so fortunate not to have suffered from sea sickness! I hope all is well back at BCIT and I will look forward to connecting when I return.

Cheers, Danny