We Have Added a New Boat, The Dawncita

by Captain Bill

We Have Added a New Amazon River Boat, The Dawncita

We always want to make our cruises look easy but things happen. This next expedition is complicated by flood waters, and my having had the flu and staying in bed for three out of the four days before we cast off.

On the morning of the fourth day the door bell rang. Marina yelled up to the crow’s nest, “It’s Mr. Jimmy.” I crawled out of bed feeling weak.

My friend and fellow jungle guide, Jimmy Two Bears, came up the stairs two at a time. His knees and ankles don’t hurt, and he does not have the flu. “I came by yesterday. Your girls said you were sick. You alright?”

“Yeah I’m alright. Let’s sit out here on the balcony and watch the river rise.”

“You don’t look alright. Hear you have a fishing trip. You able to go?”

“Of course I’m able to go, I have to.”

“Water’s up! Fishing’ll be hard. Won’t be good!” Jimmy knows fishing.

“That’s why I decided yesterday we’re going up the Napo River.”

“What’s the water like there?”

“Don’t know, can’t be worse than here.”

“Could be…” Jimmy stared off across the river looking like he remembered when it was worse.

I laughed for the first time in three days. We sat quiet for a while, watching and listening to the Blue-gray tanagers singing and flitting around in the palm trees. Beyond the palms, two fishermen worked their net from a dugout canoe.

After a while Jimmy got to the point, “Bill, remember a couple of years ago you told me if I ever want to sell my boat you would like first shot.”

“You want to sell the Bushmaster?” Jimmy knows boats like he knows fishing. He customized the Bushmaster with long fuel tanks that run most of the length of the twenty five foot boat on both sides, for balance, and ballast, and made comfortable padded seats. It is a reinforced, double-hulled, aluminum river boat, fixed up nice. “Is it registered? Paper work in order? How much you want?”

“Sure. Make me an offer.”

“You got receipts? How about half of what you have in it?”

“That sounds fair.”

My two motoristas went to check over the boat and make sure it was still in good shape. They gave it the thumbs up, “Buen bote.” Then I sent them to the company that manufactured it to get a bid for how much a new boat customized just like it would cost to build. The price for a new boat was substantially more than the half price for Jimmy’s and I determined it was a good price.

I proudly told Marmelita that Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises had another Amazon riverboat. I made her and my crew laugh by naming the boat Dawncita. She asked, “Are you crazy, don’t we have enough boats?” I rationalized the purchase to her, and to me, that Pacaya Samiria National Reserve has a new maximum limit of 40hp motors that can enter the reserve.

The Dawncita will be perfect for that, powered with a quiet 40 hp 4 stroke. We will tow it behind Dawn on the Amazon III, and use her for groups to make excursions into the reserve. Dawn III will be like a floating lodge tied up to shore as far into the reserve as the rangers will allow. We will have very nice accommodations for fishing, bird watching, dolphin spotting, and cruising.

No time to celebrate, or for buyer’s remorse to set in. Our guests arrive on the early flight the next morning. We have a lot of preparation left to do. I feel a lot better. We want this to look easy.

We Have Added a New Amazon River Boat, The Dawncita

Bill Grimes, Dawn on the Amazon Riverboats, Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave Bonnett May 8, 2007 at 10:27 pm

Congratulations on your new acquisition. What kind of electric power does the Dawncita have? Could it serve as an over night platform? In one respect I think it is good that there is a HP limit in the Pacaya but on the other hand I hope the Peruvian authorities well allow legitimate research parties to travel into the area with properly outfitted vessels such as the Dawn III.

We probably would not have been able to collect the range of underwater river dolphin recordings were it not for the extremely quiet and well equipped Dawn III

I still haven’t had the time to analyze the Dolphin Data but will be doing it soon.

Dottie just told me she doesn’t think she will be able to stay away until next year so we may be headed back sooner.

2 Bill May 14, 2007 at 11:32 am

Don’t worry Dave. We have a good working relationship with the biologists of Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. They are very interested in your work so we should have no problems with your scientific research as long as we use the Pacaya River entrance.

Here is the problem for tour operators. The Yana Yacu River is the closest legal entrance to Iquitos and therefore is the entrance most used by guides using small collectivo type boats powered with 8-12hp peke-pekes, frequently without mufflers. At the Yana Yacu entrance, horse power size is strictly enforced. If a guest to our area only has 4 or 5 days the Yana Yacu River, as the closest entrance is the only good choice. I am not allowed to take my cruse boat Dawn III into the Yana Yacu entrance. The second closest entrance to Iquitos is the Samiria River. San Martin is a village just inside the reserve on the Samiria. They have a Maloca style lodge set up, and like the Yana Yacu, do not want tour boats with cabins that do not have to pay to use their lodge. The next entrance is set up for canoes only, no motors of any type. That leaves the farthest entrance, the Pacaya River for my cruise boat, Dawn on the Amazon III. Guests going to the Pacaya River for 5 days could not have time to appreciate the natural wonders of the reserve on a 5 day cruise. For that reason, I need a nice excursion boat with shade and rain protection and a 40 hp motor, so that I can add four and five day cruises in my itinerary to Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, and still use Dawn III as a floating lodge inside the entrance of the Yana Yacu and the Samiria Rivers.

A couple of years ago during the low water season we could not enter the Pacaya River with Dawn III because the water level was so low. If that happens again The Dawncita will be very valuable

I have always maintained it is not the size of the engine that matters in the reserve. It is the speed that the boat travels, particularly as that influences the size of the wake, and the amount of noise the motor makes. Peke-pekes can push a small collectivo style boat 10 to 15 kilometers per hour and they sound like an old John Deere tractor. How is that better than a 60hp 4 stroke going 1/4 throttle at 5-6 kilometers per hour making hardly any noise or wake? For years PSNR maintained a 15hp limit. Tour companies could not do much with that horse power limit so they got special permission, which was ultimately abused by 100+hp engines going too fast to ever see a bird over the wake, resulting in their being banned from the reserve. The 40hp limit is seen as a compromise, and it is alright with me as long as my guests can still enjoy the comforts of Dawn on the Amazon III before and after our excursions.

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