Just after sunset a group of men approach the boat in dugout canoes. Two of the Aqua’s guards immediately jump into a waiting skiff and escort the canoes away from our boat, while four more guards take their positions, with automatic weapons, at the two entrances to the boat.
The Aqua has fallen victim to Amazon River pirates more than once and there are now guards on watch 24 hours a day, as well as a coastguard speedboat that follows us throughout the night. Throughout the day and night guards patrol the decks and, when it is dark, a spotlight shines up and down the river, looking out for approaching boats.
In 2009 the passengers on the Aqua were robbed by six armed pirates, who boarded and raided the boat at the beginning of the cruise. Only two months later the Aqua was again raided by nine masked pirates wielding guns and hand grenades. They bound and robbed the passengers despite the two police officers being stationed on the boat.
Our visitors were probably harmless and left without causing any trouble but the guards stay by the entrances of the Aqua for the remainder of the night.