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But for all that, the poor chiguires would not be certain of safety; for even in the water they might encounter another enemy, equally formidable and cruel, in the gigantic jacare the crocodile of the Amazonian waters.
At three o'clock in the afternoon we doubled the upper end of the island, and then crossed towards the mouth of the Teffe by a broad transverse channel running between Baria and another island called Quanaru. There is a small sand- bank at the north-westerly point of Baria, called Jacare; we stayed here to dine and afterwards fished with the net.
The river, which up stream will show a flood mark of twelve feet, here seldom rises above five, and further down three and four; consequently piles are not required, and the swiftness of the current keeps off the jacare. Formerly there were fourteen establishments, which licit trade in palm oil and ground-nuts, instead of men, women, and children, have reduced to ten.
They formed a beautiful sight as they flew up and wheeled about at a great height in the air. We obtained only one specimen. Before returning to Aveyros, we paid another visit to the Jacare inlet leading to Captain Antonio's cattle farm, for the sake of securing further specimens of the many rare and handsome insects found there landing at the port of one of the settlers.
A fine rain was still falling, and we had capital sport in three hauls taking more fish than our canoe would conveniently hold. On our way from Jacare to the mouth of the Teffe we had a little adventure with a black tiger or jaguar. We were paddling rapidly past a long beach of dried mud, when the Indians became suddenly excited, shouting "Ecui Jauarete; Jauaripixuna!"
We had gone on for some distance, when he exclaimed, "Jacare tinga!" I called True close to me, knowing that the words meant alligator. Duppo crept cautiously on. Every moment we expected to come up with the monster, though on dry ground we knew we had little cause to fear it. "What is that?" exclaimed John, and he fired his rifle at a creature which went bounding through the forest.
I was surprised at the great variety of species; the prevailing kind was a species of Loricaria, a foot in length, and wholly encased in bony armour. It abounds at certain seasons in shallow water. The flesh is dry, but very palatable. They brought also a small alligator, which they called Jacare curua, and said it was a kind found only in shallow creeks.
The island of Capitari and another group of islets succeeding it, called Jacare, on the opposite side, helped also to contract at this point the breadth of the river, which was now not more than about three miles. The little cuberta almost flew along this coast, there being no perceptible current, past extensive swamps, margined with thick floating grasses.