The whirl of Amazon River is the giant river whirlpool in the world, located at the confluence of the Amazon River and the Madeira River, about 2,000 kilometers from the Brazilian capital Brasilia. The diameter of this whirlpool can reach 3.5 kilometers. It is formed due to the different water flow directions and speeds of the two rivers, as well as the influence of the terrain. The whirl of the Amazon River is a mysterious and dangerous place that can swallow any vessel, animal, or human being that gets close to it. Even satellites find it difficult to capture its actual appearance.
A group of scientists from different countries and I decided to explore the whirl of the Amazon River at night. We aimed to study this unique natural phenomenon and its impact on the surrounding ecosystem and climate change. We carried advanced instruments and equipment and rode a specially designed small boat from the mouth of the Madeira River towards the whirl of the Amazon River. We chose to explore at night because we believed we could avoid the intense sunlight and hot temperatures during the day and any other boats and tourists that might appear. We also hoped to observe the different features and changes of the whirl of the Amazon River at night, as well as its impact on nocturnal animal and plant activity.
To explore the whirl of the Amazon River at night, the scientists made adequate preparations. We first checked the structure and function of the boat to ensure it could withstand the enormous pressure and impact of the whirlpool. We also prepared necessary items such as food, water, medicine, life jackets, compasses, maps, radios, etc. We paid particular attention to the selection of night vision binoculars, as it was an essential tool for us to observe and record in the dark.
Additionally, for nighttime observation, we chose a night vision telescope called WildGuarder NB1, which is a professional night vision device with the following features and advantages12:
- Using infrared sensors and illuminators, it can observe targets up to 984 feet away in complete darkness.
- It has a 2.7-inch LCD screen that can clearly display images and videos and be exported to other devices via USB or SD card.
- It has a 3x digital zoom function that can enlarge or reduce the image and a 7-level infrared adjustment function that can adapt to different low-light environments.
- It adopts a complete optical system and multi-layer coated lenses, providing a high-definition and high-contrast view.
- It also has rugged and durable housing that is waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof, suitable for various harsh climates and terrains.
In addition to the night vision telescope, scientists have also prepared measures to prevent attacks from piranhas. Piranhas are among the most common and dangerous fish in the Amazon River, with sharp teeth and powerful biting force that can easily tear off flesh. To avoid piranha attacks, scientists follow the following principles:
- Do not swim or soak in the water, especially in low-water or slow-flow areas.
- Do not throw anything with a bloody or meaty smell in the water to avoid attracting piranhas’ attention.
- Do not wear bright or shiny clothes or accessories to avoid being mistaken for prey by piranhas.
- Do not approach the water’s edge at dusk or dawn, as this is when piranhas are most active.
- If you must enter the water, wear thick or protective clothing and move as quickly as possible.
While exploring the Amazon River’s vortex at night, scientists observed the formation and changes of the vortex and the nocturnal animals in the river and on the banks. Using night vision binoculars, we discovered many unique and terrifying creatures, some of which we had never seen before.
We observed the black caiman, one of the largest and most dangerous predators in the Amazon River. This giant crocodile can grow up to 5 meters long and weigh over 400 kilograms. They usually inhabit slow-moving waters in rivers and lakes, and grasslands during seasonal floods. They feed on fish, birds, mammals, and reptiles and sometimes even attack humans. Scientists carefully avoided their territory and did not disturb them.
The giant arapaima is one of the largest freshwater fish in the Amazon River. This predatory fish can grow up to 3 meters long and weigh up to 90 kilograms. They have a red tail and a silver body covered in hard scales. They rely on surface air to breathe and feed on small fish, crustaceans, and small terrestrial animals near the shore. Humans have overfished them, leading to a decrease in their numbers.
One of the most mysterious and awe-inspiring creatures is the electric eel. This is an electric fish, which, although called an eel, is a type of knife fish. They can grow up to 2 meters long, with long cylindrical bodies and dark grey-brown skin. They have three pairs of abdominal organs that can generate electric currents. They can emit low-voltage and high-voltage electric shocks, the former is used to sense the environment, and the latter is used to catch and paralyze prey. Electric eels in the Amazon River basin mainly live in muddy riverbeds or stagnant waters, feeding on invertebrates, small mammals, and fish.
In addition to aquatic animals, scientists observed nocturnal animals on the shore and in trees. We saw the unique river otter in the Amazon River basin; this is a semi-aquatic rodent and one of the giant rodents in the world (weighing up to 80 kilograms). They have brown or grey fur, short ears, small eyes, and hairless rough skin. They feed on water, grass, fruits, and aquatic plants. They have a keen sense of smell and hearing and can freely move in water and on land.
We spent a night camping, exploring, and gaining many unforgettable experiences and feelings. We felt the beauty and wonder of nature, as well as courage and wisdom. We admired the glittering stars at night and welcomed the warm sun in the morning. We shared stories and laughter around the campfire with our companions and greeted the wild animals on the riverbank. In this expedition, we exercised our bodies, broadened our horizons, and gained knowledge.
Of course, this expedition also profoundly realized the importance of safety first. When camping in the wilderness, we must always pay attention to our and our companions’ safety and avoid unnecessary dangers and troubles. We should choose a suitable campsite and avoid dangerous areas such as windward, cliffs, and rivers. We should use appropriate equipment, such as tents, moisture-proof mats, sleeping bags, and headlights, to ensure comfort and warmth. We should prepare sufficient food and water to provide nutrition and hydration. We should respect nature and wildlife and not arbitrarily destroy the environment and disturb the ecology.
This expedition gave me a deeper understanding and awe of nature and more confidence and expectations for myself. In the future, I will continue to explore this magical and beautiful world, seeking more surprises and joys. I hope more people can join the team of explorers, enjoy nature’s gifts, and grow into better selves together.