How they were captured by pirates:
The band of a half-dozen armed pirates surrounded and took control of the vessel Andorinha, or Swallow, on Oct. 29, brought the vessel ashore and confined the Harteaus and the crew in a tugboat. After several hours being held hostage and intermittently threatened at gunpoint, the family decided to make a run for it.A warning for naive Westerners:
Authorities say piracy and drug trafficking are rampant in the Amazon, a forest the size of Western Europe where roads are nearly nonexistent and rivers provide the only means of transportation for people and cargo. In Pará state alone, police registered 641 pirate attacks from 2011 through last month, with many others thought to have never been reported.
The Harteaus’ travail was the second instance in little more than a month of foreign tourists being ambushed by pirates in the wild reaches of the Brazilian Amazon, highlighting what many say is an intractable threat in a region where human settlements are few and far between and law enforcement scarcer still.
In September, police said 43-year-old Emma Kelty, a British teacher, was murdered by a gang known as Water Rats while kayaking on the Solimões River, in neighboring Amazonas state.
“The area is huge, and we don’t have resources to monitor it all,” said Rilmar Firmino, police chief in Pará, a state twice the size of Texas, where the Harteaus were found. “You’ll travel the whole day and see no police at all.”
Wall Street Journal:
In October 2012, Adam and Emily Harteau, a California couple in their early 30s, set out on an overland journey to the southernmost tip of South America in their Volkswagen Westfalia camper van. With colorful travel photos, $16,301 raised on Kickstarter, and the hashtag #vanlife, they drew an army of social-media followers intrigued by their seemingly blissful existence.
“As we grow older, time is punctuated by appointments and alarm clocks, and we forget how to live at our own pace,” Ms. Harteau wrote in a photo essay published in the New York Times’ travel section in August, nearly five years into what was initially planned as a yearlong trip. “We wanted to slow down time again by raising a family on the road and use their questions about nature and life as our curriculum. We are world-schooling our kids.”
The Harteaus’ adventure came to a harrowing end on Nov. 1, when a ferry captain plucked the couple and their two daughters, 6-year-old Colette and 3-year-old Sierra, from a river in Pará state in the Brazilian Amazon. They had spent the previous three days hiding in the jungle after pirates in a wooden canoe ambushed the barge carrying them upriver on their return journey to California.
From CIW NEWS Contributor
Breves, Pará, Brazil
Brazil (BR) is estimated to have a population of 207.0 million with a growth rate during 2010-2015 of 0.9% pa.
At the same rate of change, in five years' time its population will increase by 9.5 million.