jueves, 19 de septiembre de 2013

The source of the River Orinoco

The source of the River Orinoco

An important step forward was the French and Venezuelan expedition to discover the source of the River
Orinoco. The  Upper Orinoco is one of the largest pieces of unknown conuntry in the world. The river itself is almost as great as the Amazon. but its source had never been seen. The expedition was planned to collect facts about the plants and wild animals and birds of the country as well as to make a mapa of the river. Nearly eighty men took part in the expedition, planned by Joseph Grelier, a French student of geography.

The expedition was planned in the same way as an Arctic expedition. A base camp was made where equipment was collected. The expedition did not need to protect themselves against cold, but they needed protection against heat and rain and disease. The supplies were carried in a large number of flat boats.

The explorers advanced slowly up river. From time to time, they were stopped by rapids and waterfalls in the river. Often they had to empty the boats and carry their supplies along the river banks past the rapids. A path had to be cut through the jungle, while the empty boats were pulled through the river. It was equally hard work for the men who were cutting down trees in the hot jungle and for the men struggling in deep water.

Loading and unloading, pulling and pushing the boats, they struggled
through rain and mud. The further they went the worse the river became. There were only short distances between the rapids. Many men fell ill with malaria in the wet, hot jungle and they had to be sent back to camp.

The expedition passed the Michdena Falls, where every second, through a space eighteen feet wide, forty-five thousand gallons of water fall into a deep crevasse. Beyond the fall they found a great lake. For a day they sailed comfortably across smooth water. But then their troubles started again. The river became narrower. Some of the men were worn out. It was decided that the expedition should divide. A small party would go forward to the source of the river. The rest would have to go bak to base. Poor Grelier, who had spent so many years planning the expedition, had to help the party of sick men back to the camp. So he missed his chance to be first at the source of the Orinoco.

The party in front moved on. It took them a whole day to travel one mile. Their boats were often turned upside down and their valuable collections were lost in the river. Two boats were sunk at one waterfall and other was lost the next day.

The last forty miles of the journey were made on foot throught the jungle. They had to cut a path through jungle so thick that only a snake could get through. In one hour they were only able to move a few yards forward. Most of the time it rained and rained. They could see nothing in front of them. They could not even see the sky.

It was 27th November, 1951, more than four months after they left their base camp, when the first party
reached the source of the Orinoco. It did not look very important. A little stream of water coming out of the hillside made a tiny lake. This was the beginning of one of the great rivers of the world.

The men climbed to the top of the hill. At last they could see over the tops of the trees. In the same hills lies the source of the great Amazon River. Looking south they could even see the Amazon stretching across Brazil.

By the end of their journey only twelve boats remained out of the thirty which had started the expedition. But they had greatly added to our knowledge of South America.

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From Exploring our world.

1 comentario:

posodo dijo...

Resulta curioso que publiques una anotación sobre las fuentes de un importante río cuando...

Belén 2013

Belén 2011