New Amazon Hospital Boat, Tucunare`s Replacement

Dear Friends of the Amazon and of Project Amazonas,

It is with a bit of sadness that we officially retired our wooden boat, the Tucunare, two weeks ago. The "Tuc" was 10 years old, and as you can imagine, wood doesn't last a terribly long time in the Amazon.  The nature of the hull construction of the boat also made it very difficult to do hull work quickly and efficiently (though we have changed substantial parts of the hull twice before).  Many of you have traveled on, or seen the Tucunare in the past - it was a veteran of many medical service trips, hosted many educational groups and researchers, and also was home to many of you who first came to the Amazon on an ecotour trip and who have remained in contact since.

After extensive search in Peru, Colombia and Brazil, we have found a suitable candidate boat in Iquitos for this purpose at a sale price of $20,000.  The best boat mechanic in

New Amazon Hospital Boat

Iquitos (someone we have used for over 15 years) visited the boat with us and declared the hull to be in excellent condition and in a configuration that makes maintenance easy.  The vessel is only 2 years old, and the hull planks are a solid 1.5" to 2" thick with a barge base construction which means that even through the vessel is slightly shorter than the Tucunare, the amount of floor space would be about double that of our now-retired vessel, and the draft of the boat would be even less, allowing us to enter shallower water.  If we acquire the vessel we would take the engine from the Tucunare (a Perkins marine engine still in good condition) and use it to power the new vessel.  Engine work and refitting the interior of the new vessel would add $3000-$4000 additional to the entire cost, but that work could be completed within a month, and even with only the engine installed, we could still use the vessel for medical service and other trips.  The price is fair, the quality excellent, and the paperwork of the vessel is all in order and up to date, so with a legalized bill of sale and the transfer of a motor, we would have a functioning riverboat again.

Posted: 08-29-2009

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