|Saturday 14th September
This morning, the main body of the NASA team and the Museo Noel Kempff Mercado biology team flew on a Bolivian Air Force C130 (seen here on a laterite runway) from Santa Cruz to Riberalta. The C130 had more than enough cargo space for the expedition team and their gear. Since the Bolivian Air Force training center was adjacent to the commercial landing strip we stored all but personal gear securely at the training center until the next stage of the expedition flying by RDTF helicopters from Riberalta to Puerto Araona.
Once in Riberalta, the team was housed in the Continental Hotel (once the home of a rubber Baron ). Bob, Allen, and Gunther immediately set out to investigate the flood deposits along the river, where the water level fluctuates about 10 meters during the contrast from rainy to dry season, and determined that at least one meter of sediment is deposited each year. The trio then took advantage of the most common wheeled land transportation - mopeds - for a bit of exploring. These rented bikes had to be fuelled at unconventional gas stations where the gas was dispensed in small plastic containers which are filled from a larger plastic storage tank with a funnel. In the evenings, countless motorbikes go round and round the town square in slow motion. Many of these cruisers are couples out on the town for a date.