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There are many crocodiles from the point where you quit the Orinoco to the mission of San Fernando, and their presence indicates that this part of the river belongs to the Rio Guaviare and not to the Atabapo. In the real bed of the latter river, above the mission of San Fernando, there are no crocodiles: we find there some bavas, a great many fresh-water dolphins, but no manatees.

"The Guamos are a race of Indians whom it is extremely difficult to fix down to the soil. Like other wandering savages, they are distinguished by their dirt, revengeful spirit, and fondness for wandering. The greater part of them live by fishing and the chase, in the plains often flooded by the Apuré, the Meta, and the Guaviare.

At San Fernando, as well as in the neighbouring villages of San Balthasar and Javita, the abodes of the priests are neatly-built houses, covered by lianas, and surrounded by gardens. The tall trunks of the pirijao palms were the most beautiful ornaments of these plantations. In our walks, the president of the mission gave us an animated account of his incursions on the Rio Guaviare.

We have seen that, in the tenth degree of north latitude, it stretches from Quibor and Barquesimeto as far as the point of Paria. A second chain of mountains, or rather a less elevated but much larger group, extends between the parallels of 3 and 7 degrees from the mouths of the Guaviare and the Meta to the sources of the Orinoco, the Marony, and the Essequibo, towards French and Dutch Guiana.

The Cordilleras of New Grenada, near which the western tributary streams of the Orinoco, the Guaviare, the Meta, and the Apure take their rise, enter no more into the limit of perpetual snows, with the sole exception of the Paramos of Chita and Mucuchies, than the Alps of Abyssinia.

In proportion as the activity of commerce increases in these countries traversed by immense rivers, the towns situated at their confluence will necessarily become bustling ports, depots of merchandise, and centre points of civilization. Father Gumilla confesses, that in his time no person had any knowledge of the course of the Orinoco above the mouth of the Guaviare.

The valiant Philip de Urre sought for the great city of Manoa by traversing the Guaviare. Even now the Indians of San Jose de Maravitanos relate that, on sailing to the north-east for fifteen days, on the Guape or Uaupe, you reach a famous laguna de oro, surrounded by mountains, and so large that the opposite shore cannot be discerned.

Although, on account of the abundance of rain, vegetation is more vigorous close to the equator than eight or ten degrees north or south, it cannot be affirmed, that the rivers with black waters rise principally in the most shady and thickest forests. On the contrary, a great number of the aguas negras come from the open savannahs that extend from the Meta beyond the Guaviare towards the Caqueta.

It is only where there are mountains that these majestic plants descend towards the plains; they seem to avoid perfectly flat grounds, as those through which run the Cassiquiare, the Temi, Inirida, and the Rio Negro. We passed in the night near a rock, called the Piedra de Astor by the missionaries. The ground from the mouth of the Guaviare constantly displays the same geological formation.

The vast tract of country lying between the Meta, the Vichada, and the Guaviare, is altogether unknown a league from the banks; but it is believed to be inhabited by wild Indians of the tribe of Chiricoas, who fortunately build no boats.