Across the seas and beyond
"Up there, you can see a green-backed heron. And behind there is a yellow-tufted woodpecker." With his three-day beard and steel-rimmed glasses, lecturer Alexander Hofmann was in his element as he pointed upwards. Guests on board the HANSEATIC were taken by Zodiac up the Rio Jutai into the Igapo forest, one of the flooded forests that line the river. The trees stand submersed in the water up to several metres deep, so that even plants growing in the tree tops and the animals that make their homes there can be observed almost at eye level. Sometimes the boat approached so cautiously that the guests almost forgot to take a breath. It was a truly breathtaking trip.
The Amazon, South America's lifeline, is one of the world's best-kept secrets, with a new adventure around every bend. The manoeuvrable expedition ships, MS BREMEN and MS HANSEATIC, travel up the mightiest river on earth and penetrate deep into a fascinating world. A world where the traditional hunting grounds of the native peoples stretch out before you and tropical plants flourish in luxuriant profusion. In the narrow tributaries, where even the small expedition ships reach their limits, robust inflatable expedition boats - Zodiacs - carry you further into the heart of this hidden paradise.
In our seemingly fully developed world, there are still some big surprises - regions that have no beacons, pilots, harbours, hotels or airports. These are the expedition destinations of the BREMEN and of the HANSEATIC, the world's only five-star expedition ship. Both are ideally suited to conveying the magic of true voyages of discovery. The small size of the ships enables spontaneous course changes. Each day, the captain, expedition leaders and experienced officers will decide which route or landing will offer the guests the most impressive experience.
Thanks to their shallow draught, both expedition ships can travel a long way upstream on the Amazon as far as Iquitos in Peru. They are the perfect choice for travellers who want to experience the wonders of nature with a small group of like-minded people - on the BREMEN there are a maximum of 155 guests, whilst the somewhat larger HANSEATIC has space for a maximum of 175 guests - and allow their curiosity to set the course. The motto here goes like this: intense discoveries from A to Z instead of fixed itineraries from A to B.
On expeditions in South America, passengers can enjoy particularly close encounters with the exotic animals and plant life of the Amazon. Macaws and toucans fly suddenly overhead, brightly coloured butterflies flutter about the boat and, with a little luck, pink river dolphins pop their heads above the water. A night-time Zodiac ride promises to be an unforgettable experience: in the conical beam of the searchlight, accompanied by a chorus of frogs and cicadas, watch out for nocturnal animals such as night monkeys and caimans, their eyes reflecting in the light.
On the way back to the HANSEATIC, the guests in the Zodiac came across a young woman with a boat full of yams. She was probably on her way to the next market. It was a brief but intense encounter. The green river glistened as the sun shone through the canopy of leaves. The young woman looked over once again at the white faces. "Sometimes it's not easy to tell which one is the exotic foreigner," laughed Alexander Hofmann as he pointed out a pretty praying mantis, which then sat patiently on his hand having its photograph taken.
Guests on board - and PAUL
When our ships travel up the Amazon, they take with them not only admiring passengers but also some aid supplies. For example, PAUL - the Portable Aqua Unit for Livesaving. This portable life-saving unit has a membrane filter with microscopic holes. The membrane collects bacteria with a diameter of greater than 40 nanometres. As a comparison: cholera bacteria have a diameter of around 300 nanometres. The system filters 99 per cent of all germs from river water. This technology, which was developed at the University of Kassel, can filter up to 1,200 l (264 imperial gallons) of water per day. A PAUL system was delivered by the HANSEATIC to a village in the Amazon region.