We were nine days into a trip deep into the amazon river. We packed up our kit and slung it all onto the inflatable boat we were using. Ready to start the day.
There were six of us all together. three of us formed a film crew documenting the other three who were scientists collecting evidence on water quality as we moved along the amazon.
It was raining hard as we got into the boat. Rudolph one of the three scientists said
"i have brought long snorkels for zis situation" he said putting a hand out to make point of the rain.
"ve shall tip ze boat upside down. holding onto the underside of ze boat and use zese snorkels as a vay to breathe. ze propellar will act much the same vay as on an aeroplane propellar when out of ze vawter. driving us forvard"
i looked at the others with disbelief. surely someone would speak out against this idea. i mean going into the river to avoid the rain? but no one spoke up and the authoritarian german was shoeing everyone out of the boat before we had a time to react. everyone clambered out the boat and unaided rudolph turned the boat upside down with the outboard propellar waving in the air.
this surely couldnt work could it? the propellar working out of the water?
"come. come. let us go" rudolph said. he handed each of us a ridiculously long blue snorkel. about six feet long with a ninety degree bend in the middle of it.
now the river was not freezing but it was cold and unpleasant. it got up to my knees before i had to raise an objection to this absurd plan.
"what an earth are we doing rudolph? this is madness. we will be much colder in the river than sat in the boat being rained on.
"nonsense Philip. ze vawter it is qvite vawm" he said standing waist deep in it.
I again looked at the others. But Rudolph was a clever man well regarded by everyone on the trip and in the scientific field he worked in. so the others were willing to follow his commands.
so i followed the rest out into the river. Rudolph put the kit we had in bags which i hoped were waterproof and then ducked underneath the upside down boat with them. he then reappeared without the bags. "ok ze bags are tied to ze lifeboat. okay?.... well let us push za boat"
we pushed the boat out to the point where we could no longer touch the river bed with our feet.
"ok now ve put on our snorkellz and svim under ze boat and take hold of ze seat bars. ok?"
everyone looked at each other now all rather uncomfortable.
Rudolph leading the way. putting his head under the boat till he had vanished except for his long snorkel sticking outside. his two fellow scientists followed suit. perhaps he'd done this before on a previous expedition and they knew how effective it was.
"this is stupid" i said to my two filming cohorts.
they looked blankly back at me. then rudolph reappeared
"come, come. you must all be in position so i can start ze motor."
fixing us with a steely stare. the other two donned their snorkels and vanished under the boat. i treaded water for a few more seconds then followed suit. putting the snorkel into my mouth and ducking under the boat.
once under the boat it was like a small dark cave. i found one of the two bars that were normally used as seating and lifted my torso onto it taking the top half of my body out of the water.
"hallo", "yeah im here", "hello"
another sploosh as someone entered the small airspace above the river, the upside down boat had created.
"ok so ve are all here?" said rudolph
"yes Philip is here" i said. the others followed suit. "yes rebecca is here", Susan is here", John is here""david is here".
"guut, guut. Ok i vill try to start ze engine now. ze boat may jump forward ven it starts so hold onto ze seating bars. yah?"
"ok", "right", "i will"
there was a bit of splashing as rudolph yanked the pull cord to start the motor. he thrashed about for a couple of minutes.
"i cannot seem to start za motor. it must be due to the resistance of the water"
the boat brushed my head. then pressed on it.
"i think the boat is sinking. it seems to be pressing more on my head."
"shit shit. it is. the boat is sinking"
"quick you must hold the boat up whilst i remove za equipment."
i pressed on the boat above my head hoping the others were doing the same. but the boat was sinking further. the neoprene pressing harder on the top of my head.
"Its no good" i said struggling to keep my mouth about the water as it rose and fell with the commotion inside the small airspace. I ducked down swimming under the boat and back out to the river outside of it. taking my snorkel out there were already my two other film crew there.
"for fucks sake!" said John
the three germans still battling to save the equipment as only a few inches of the boat remained above the surface. the weight of the equipment pulling it down.
then rudolph reappeared
"vat are you doing! ve must recover ze equipment and stop ze boat from sinking!
you have your snorkels yah. you must help us"
"it is hopeless rudolph the boat has sunk" i said as the last visible part of the boat was submerged. the two other germans reaapearing from under the boat.
we all treaded water for a moment not sure what to do now. then i headed back to the shore. the others following me. rudolph was the last to return still trying to recover the boat and equipment despite everyone else abandoning it.
we stood on the shore all looking back at rudolph as he gave up on the boat and swam towards us.
then a splash. the flailing crescent of water and the distinctive row of small blunt spikes rising above the water. an alligator.
"help him!" rebecca said. looking at me and the other two men.
no one moved as the alligator thrashed about tearing rudolph apart. rudolph could not be seen only the alligators fins and the top of its head showed above the water. then the alligator swam away lightly glancing the surface of the water as it did so. there was no obvious signs of blood in the brown water, no severed limbs. but Rudolph was dead that was quite apparent. any remains must of sank or been taken by the alligator.
now we were all in a dilemma. no supplies. nothing to sleep in or eat and about 200 miles into the amazon from the rivers mouth.
there were 5 of us now.
4 of us didnt make it.
i died being bit by a snake. the two girls both fell in a pit full of spikes. John my filming compatriot died either from starvation or poisoning it wasnt obvious as he had eaten some rather unsavoury things.
now herman the german was the only one left. after trekking through the rainforest for two months he was in rather poor shape. following the rivers edge all the time downstream. then on his 7th day alone he saw a vast ship approaching. a gleaming white super yacht approached. monumental in size. herman waved frantically at the yacht. yelling and screaming
"helloooo!, help me ! here! im here! please help me"
after thirty seconds screaming and waving a man in a suit appeared.
"i am in need of rescue"
"oh you can speak english?" the man said concerned the raggy human was some sort of primitive tribal character with malicous intent.
"yah. yah i am german. but i can speak the english qvite well."
"ok well. i will tell the driver to stop the ship and you will have to swim out to the ladder at the back of the ship"
the man on the ship went out of sight and sure enough the engine stopped. herman swam out to the large yacht. climbed the 30 foot ladder to get onto the deck then was greeted by the man in the suit presumably some sort of butler and another man in a dressing gown.
"well, well well" the dressing gown man said. "this is quite an interesting development in our little trip" the man said with an american accent.
"oh thank you. thank you i was sure i was doomed"
herman then told the man his story of stupidity and disaster.
"what are you doing this deep in the amazon?" herman asked
"we are on a little jaunt looking for the heart of darkness"
"oh no this place is in Rio De janeiro" herman said. "it is also much nicer than the amazon with its beaches and resorts"
"oh ok well rio it is" the man in the dressing gown said. "i will ask the driver to turn the boat around.
the boat however was too large. it would not turn around without grounding the front and back of the ship. so instead they had to go back down the river in reverse. from there they sailed to Rio.
now it was no accident herman was saved from death. for he had helped his mother and father in his youth. and was a conscientious young man so god saw fit to spare him.
ok i ran out of patience with this after a while and blitzed the end of the story. it would be nice if anyone read the whole thing please leave me a comment if you did or TL DR or any other critique would be appreciated.