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Matt Norman

Axe swings in soggy socks

Posted from: Logging Camp, Atalaia
Today we were to follow the process of how the loggers move the logs. They always select trees next to the river and once stripped of branches they are sawn into four metre lengths. The next step involved brute force and with Bruce right in there among them, the loggers used thick short braches to lever the log an inch at a time and with one huge effort the log was finally rolled over the edge of the bank and crashed down the slope into the water.

As the loggers were worried about the river dropping there was no time to waste and the process of jumping between logs and spinning them free from obstructions began. All of the loggers were involved with Bruce riding a log in among hem. The loggers are the toughest guys I’ve ever come across and were also the friendliest bunch of people we’ve encountered on this trip.

Matt, Rob and a logger in the logging camp
 Matt, Rob and a logger in the logging camp

From time to time the logs would become jammed between fallen branches so a logger would grab an axe that he had slammed into the log he was on. With huge blows he would then proceed to cut through the obstruction with the axe whilst himself balancing precariously on a floating log.

One time that was just awful to watch, a logger balanced on a branch and proceeded to take huge swings of an axe from above his head to strike just inches between his feet. Every time he was inch perfect but as he stood wobbling on the log in soggy socks and no shoes it was hard to keep my eye open through the viewfinder.

We drifted this way for several hours down the river. We left the loggers exactly how we found them, working hard in the jungle and just trying to make a living.


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