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Across Unknown South America by Landor

And also some surubim Platystoma Lima


we came to sand and gravel banks with islets 1 ft. high emerging from the water in the centre of the river, all those little islets displaying verdant grass on their southern side and pure white sand on the northern side.

The river was at that point flowing in a N.N.E. direction. Then came a long straight line of 6,000 m. of river flowing to 305 deg. b.m. About half-way through this long stretch the stream divided into two large arms, one in direct continuation of the above bearings, the other in a curve, encircling an island 1,000 m. broad. The basin--as still as a lake--in which this island was situated was not less than 1,500 m. across. The island--Charles Landor Island--was 2,000 m. in length. It had plenty of rubber trees upon it, and plenty were to be seen also on the banks. We went some 8 or 10 kil. farther that night, and at five o'clock we halted, having made poor progress that day--only 60 kil.

Immense quantities of fish could be seen in the river. No sooner had we made camp than we got out lines and hooks of all sizes, which we baited with pieces of _toucinho_. One end of the bigger lines we made fast to trees, as the fish we often caught were so powerful that on several occasions they had dragged us into the water and we lost not only the fish but the line as well. We had great sport that night and caught quantities of _trahira_ (_Macradon trahira_)--not unlike a giant salmon and quite as good to

eat; and also some _surubim_ (_Platystoma Lima_), a large fish belonging to the herring family. The surubim was flat-headed, and not unlike the pintado fish which I have described in a previous chapter. It had thin scales over the body, and an abnormally powerful lower jaw, with vicious-looking, sharply-pointed teeth on the edge of the upper and lower lip. These curiously situated teeth were far apart, and so firmly inserted in the hard lips that it took a violent blow to remove them.

Although after a few minutes we had killed fish enough to last us--had we been able to preserve it--for some weeks, my men sat up the greater part of the night hauling quantities to the bank. The excitement each time a fish 80 or 100 lb. in weight was hauled out of the water was considerable. The wild yells and exquisite language whenever one of my men was dragged into the water kept me awake the entire night.

We left that camp at 7.30 on July 17th, the minimum temperature having been 66 deg. F. during the night. Heavy globular clouds covered the entire sky. We were then in a region extraordinarily rich in rubber; quantities of _Siphonia elastica_ trees were to be seen. It made one's heart bleed to think that nobody was there to collect the riches of that wonderful land.

The river flowed in short sections from north-west to north-north-east, barring a long stretch of 4,000 m., when we came to a great basin 600 m. wide, with two large islands in it; the eastern island--Orlando Island--being 100 m. wide, the western--Elizabeth Chimay Island--220 m. broad and not less than 500 m. long. South of both these islands were islets of gravel 50 m. each in diameter.

Nine thousand five hundred metres below these islands an important tributary, 8 m. wide, flowed into the Arinos from the right bank. It came from the south-east. Close to the left bank, from which it had been separated by the current, leaving a channel only 5 m. wide, another island--Isabel Island--300 m. long was found.

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