Tales from The Amazon
In the beginning, it was only the Amazon jungle they said. To
me, that was enough. That was 1987 and that is another story for
another time. These stories begin with the opening of our New Amazon Opal Mine, circa October 2000. But things in the jungle dont change much.
Ive often wondered why it is that gemstone deposits are never
found at places like Miami Beach, or Long Island NY, or maybe
San Francisco Bay? No, that would be too easy. Only in the most
inaccessible, miserable, and forgotten corners of the globe do
we seem to find gemstones. Of course, the romanticists might ask,
what is wrong with the Amazon Jungle? Read on
The attached photos tell a lot of our story, but we miss a lot
too. On our first trip out to the Amazon Opal site, we had 2 ocelot
sightings. They were bright yellow with orange and black spots.
Both ocelots passed right in front of us, about 20 feet away at
a stream crossing. We assumed it must be a regular feeding and
watering spot of our new ocelot neighbors. They are simply gorgeous
in their natural wild environment. They were not at all intimidated
by our presence. After all, they own the neighborhood! Beautiful
to watch them bound away in the lush vegetation
Snakes are another popular local inhabitant. We saw one small
boa constrictor type snake, called anacondas in the Amazon. These things grow to incredible sizes, bigger
around than many grown men. The bigger ones have even been known
to eat whole cows in one unbelievable GULP. Whole cows! Incredible.
Some of the other colorful cousins of the anaconda include the
beautiful and quite deadly coral snake. Another venomous snake,
called locally a Jaboi, is a bright red which tells predators
to keep their distance.
The insects are a whole other story in themselves. Vast swarms
at times. There are even neon ones that I havent a clue what
to call. The sizes of some of them are hard to believe. There
is a river roach that can fill a big mayonnaise jar
flies bigger than a lot of birds
small black beetles that can
mosquitoes by the trillions
flies that bite
ants over an inch long
and many other unidentified flying objects
to numerous to mention.
The jungle is a world of its own. A biological and botanical wonder
of the ages. Tall trees that dont even branch out until they
are 30-40 feet in the air make up the canopy. That is where
the fantastic Araras hang out. Most of them have 2-3 foot long red, blue, and yellow
tails with red wings. We call them parrots or macaws in America.
It is stunning to reach a rare clearance in the jungle and witness
a whole flock of araras flying off
just stunning. The rest of
the jungle pretty much grows in the shade of the tall trees. The
humidity and dampness of the shadows is where everything else
Our Amazon Opal mine is over 2,000 miles up the Amazon River,
near the Bolivian border. We can take a commercial flight to the
nearest big city, called Porto Velho. You can find this city on
most good maps of the area. It is pretty much at the end of the
asphalt Brasilian main highway, coming in from the south. We leave
Porto Velho on asphalt for about 4 hours, then hit the dirt
mud this time of year.
Inserted below is a quote from one of Renes reports, our onsite
>>>> This working in the rainy season is pure h--- on the truck.
The mud is the
ultimate abrasive and does a set of brakes in a couple weeks.... grinds them away to nothing, not to mention the wheel cylinders sometimes go away first, making for some exciting moments on dirt roads with bad brakes. <<<<.
To get to the mine we leave a small village that itself is resides
at the end of a 50-km dirt road. We go out another 30km or so
until the dirt/mud road ends. From there, we hike in about 3-4
km through the jungle to arrive at our main house," a palm-thatched
roof on sticks called locally a barraca.
We worked our site the first few months to satisfy the requirements
of IBAMA, the local ecology police. Mining can be ecologically
damaging, but it can also be done in such a way as to minimize
the effect on the local environment with correct scientific planning.
We work closely under the supervision and guidelines of IBAMA.
We have constructed setting ponds and dams to catch our wash water
run off, so that we only drain back clean water into the local
water system. The Brasilian IBAMA is actually very knowledgeable
regarding how to care for the local ecosystems. If more of the
Amazonian projects would follow the laws and guidelines of IBAMA
there would be much less negative ecological effects. We at Jungle
Gems and Mineracao de Alta Tecnologia LTDA are making the best
possible effort to limit the impact of our presence. Some day
when our Amazon Opal deposit is exhausted and we pull out, we
will perform a complete re-planting project to totally return
our area to the natural environment.
As of this writing we have a small crew of only 5 men. They are
now completing the preparations for a full scale dig during the
next 6 month dry season. We will have more Tales from The Amazon in the future. Check back with us and follow the story of our
adventures in bringing Amazon Opal to the world.
We hope you will enjoy it
coming soon. Stay tuned!