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Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Cruz do Cruzeiro (Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brasil)

It started with an international flight aboard a small single engine plane from the jungle city of Pucallpa, Peru going due east to the city of Cruzeiro do Sul in the state of Acre, Brazil. Sumajhuarmi and I were accompanied by a non-geocaching friend who was interested in the sport. Our flight departed from the Pucalpa airport about noon and flew at 7500 feet above sea level. Below we had nothing but a carpet of jungle for as far as the eye could see. The distance we flew was about 120 nautical miles but with the headwind we had it meant about 1 hour and 10 minutes in the air. As we neared the border between Peru and Brazil we saw a spectacular sight. Cerro El Cono, a perfectly cone-shaped mountain rises up out of the flat jungle canopy and can be seen for miles around. Soon after passing El Cono we crossed into Brazilian airspace. We crossed some more small mountains called the Sierra del Divisor. Click on video to see a beautiful video of El Cono, the Sierra del Divisor and what we flew over. We flew for another 15 minutes or so before we began to see small clearings and an occasional hut. Finally we could see the Cruzeiro do Sul airport in the distance. We landed at a modern but small airport. Once the plane was positioned, engine off and the brakes set we unloaded our things and carried them across the tarmac to the airport. Since this is not an international airport and we were a chartered international flight we had to track down the Federal Police to get our passports stamped. Since they aren't used to chartered international flights they must have suspected us. They questioned about who we were, where we are from in our native countries, where we worked, who paid our salaries, how much we made, where we were staying, who we would see and so on. They they went through all our luggage with a fine toothed comb. Our time with the Federal Police took longer than the flight from Pucallpa. When I told them what geocaching was they found it hard to believe that a person would take a vacation and fly a chartered flight internationally to look for a geocache. Even with the explanation that we operate a small non-profit in Peru which promotes geocaching they had a hard time getting their minds around the idea. I guess this made them all the more suspicious. Since we were clean and since we had legitimate ten year tourist visas to visit Brazil, they let us through. We met a friend who took us from the airport to our hotel in town. What a nice city! Rolling hills, cool breezes, the Jurua River, a beautiful new bridge over the river and more. Check out the link and listen to some Portuguese if you want to see a little of the city. We knew that GTAbusquedor had placed a cache here so high on our list of activities was to find it. Off we set to find the cache, A Cruz do Cruzeiro (GC3NNG2) . From the center of town it was just a short hike up the hill to find the cache. If one wishes to take a motor bike taxi one can pay a small fee for the ride up to the top of the small hill. There was a radio tower and some buildings at the top. This is a hill tourist visit to get a good view of the city and the Jurua River, including the new bridge. Our GPSr was true and took us to the site. Within a minute we had the cache in hand, signed it, got some pictures and then stopped to enjoy the beautiful view. Thanks GTAbusquedor for the opportunity to come to this place. I can't wait for tomorrow to head out looking for two more caches just a little way out of town. This is my first cache in Brazil and this is definitely one of the western-most caches in the country.
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