January 2019 - Manaus, Amazonas

Another trip to memory lane. I haven't been back to Manaus since I moved from there in 1985, so it has been more than 33 years, more than half my life ago!! I really did not know what to expect after such a long time, both in terms of habitats and orchids or the city itself as I've heard that Manaus grew from a population of about 1 million to around 2 million in that period of time. So we decided, myself and a couple of friends, to see what was going on there now and for such we decided to stay about 10 days in Manaus and a couple of smaller cities in the vicinity; mind you, 70 to 140 miles in the Amazon is like you are just going to the suburbs...

So what we actually found out, one might ask? Yes, the city feels like twice the size. Areas around the city that were quite rich orchid habitats are now inside the city and of course totally destroyed in terms of habitats and teaming with human population. So that was not totally surprising but still didn't make us very optimistic about the status of nature on the surroundings. Our idea was to go visit a few habitats that I knew from the time I lived there and also explore new areas further away from the city and that I've never been before. What happens is that the main roads are now paved which makes human occupation much easier. When I left, they were just clay dirt roads that became unpassable with the constant rains. Even when they were not unpassable they were extremely dangerous with the wet slippery clay on the rolling hills ups and downs.

Now for the habitats, the two main campinas that I knew were still there, but the best one was only available by foot as the dirt road (about 10 miles long) that used to be there is essentially gone now after many years of no maintenance. Many of the large properties in the area that were active in the 80s are now completely abandoned so we were essentially on our own. But we still found a lot of plants, many in flower and that is what is shown here. For the new areas, mostly disappointment as many of the campinas we visited have been destroyed and some are in a slow recovery. A couple of far away areas that we could reach by boat were still good enough, with the native flora almost untouched. And then there were areas with conditions in-between, not totally destroyed but also not native...

In the balance, it was a good trip and now I know what to do and where to go next time. Which, trust me, is not going to be 33 years from now.

The pictures here are not in any particular order, especially time-wise but grouped in a way that makes sense (hopefully).
Open Campina
Encyclia fragrans Maxillaria
Cattleya eldoradoMaxillariaCattleya eldorado alba
Cattleya eldorado Cattleya eldorado
Cattleya eldorado Cattleya eldorado
Cattleya eldorado Cattleya eldorado
Galeandra devoniana Saprophyte
Encyclia Maxillaria
Scuticaria steeleiiBrassavola martianacatasetum