Enormous Wave in the Amazon
Pororoca: the big rumble and the mega wave
Whoever is on a trip to Brazil in the Amazon during spring in the Northeast of the United States has a great chance of witnessing a stunning natural spectacle. Every year between February and May, at the end of the rainy season, a giant wave is created in the Atlantic Ocean, which makes its way for miles upstream. The water reaches a height of up to 13 feet (four meters) while it pushes itself up the Amazon river like an avalanche. The masses wash over huts and jetties, sweep away trees and canoes and cause even large boats to capsize. For many surfers, this is the beginning of the hunt for the perfect wave.
The loud rumble that announces the spectacle is called "Pororoca" by the natives in the language of the Tupi Indians. Translated this means "big noise". Alarmed by the background noise, one usually has thirty minutes to leave the shore zone. It is advisable to stay well over a 328 feet (hundred meters) away from the mega wave. But how does the phenomenon occur? Due to the tides, i.e. the extreme water levels during the full and new moon, an enormous amount of water moves directly from the Atlantic Ocean into the river mouth. Since the Amazon river has only a slight gradient, it can advance extremely far until at some point it loses its power. The water reaches speeds of up to 40 miles per hour (sixty-five kilometers per hour) and develops a massive force that swallows everything in its path.
But anyone who now thinks that the spectacle is a pity for the flora and fauna of the Amazon region is mistaken. The opposite is the case. Nature has adapted perfectly to the conditions. The enormous amount of water contributes to the fact that the Amazon river does not silt up. It brings fertile mud with which the indigenous people who cultivate the land fertilize their fields. The animal world also senses what is in store for it and takes shelter in time. The diverse life in the Amazon is not in danger, but only in turmoil for a few minutes.
Since 1997, the surfing scene has been involved in the happenings in the Amazon. The dream of every surfer, because where else can you ride a single wave for twenty minutes? So it's hardly surprising that the best in the world meet and go on hold. You have to be able to climb the wave right away. Those who miss it have to wait for days or even months for the next one. It is not without danger, because often branches or trees are washed away. You also have to be on your guard against alligators, anacondas, and piranhas. But even these harassments do not stop the crowds at the annual "Pororoca Surf Championship" in Sao Domingos da Capim. The Brazilian Picuruta Salazar achieved an impressive feat: he surfed the wave for thirty-seven minutes, covering a distance of more than 7 miles (twelve kilometres). The number of onlookers is constantly growing. Recently, more than two thousand participants, spectators, and journalists flocked to the small town to witness the event. It is undoubtedly one of the most impressive attractions in the region and is an unusual idea for the next Brazil vacation.