7 Nov 2011

Iguazu Falls and Itaipu Dam

Upon seeing Iguazu, Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed "Poor Niagara!"

As we approached Pam asked Ben why he didn't look more impressed.

As the morning progressed and we got up close and personal with the 'Devil's Throat' that position changed somewhat.

The only word that comes close is 'awesome' - from the days when it meant massively ridiculously bigger and more impressive than anything you have ever encountered, ever.

They are beautiful, majestic, frighteningly powerful and well worth the two days we spent exploring and touring on both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides.

And then there was the crazy boat ride into the falls themselves - beats any power shower previously enjoyed...

anyone apprehensive?

 from this point the camera was safely packed in the bag and heart in mouth

Itaipu Dam

Moving on from the awesomeness of nature to what man can do when he puts his mind to it, one of the '7 wonders of the modern world', Itaipu Dam which was built as a joint Paraguayan and Brazilian project and currently produces approx 95% and 20% of their national electricity demands respectively.

It is just gargantuan in size and output - the dam itself is just over 7 kms long (225 metres high) and within it there are 20 turbines each generating approx 700MW (Hinkley Point B, the UK's most powerful nuclear facility produces 1260MW in total!) and a freak power outage in 2009 apparently affected close to 50 million people.

Despite the obvious environmental damage (this is prime jungle region) and social devastation caused (approx 10k families displaced) with the damming of the river/creation of the lake (it took enough concrete to build 210 stadia and steel to construct 380 Eiffel Towers) there is no doubt that the benefits today are huge in terms of clean electricity production.

The Brazilians are very proud of this project and also of the research centre that now adjoins it, the continued preservation of the wildlife and eco systems of the national park that surrounds it, the education of all visitors and the long term investment in their country's efforts with clean energy.

And rightly so, for if they were to burn oil to produce the same amount of energy it would require over 400,000 barrels of oil a day, which wouldn't do a great deal of good for these chaps who were kind enough to pose for us along the way...

who know what might happen...


  1. There's a lot of 'mac wearing' on this trip... you sure you're not in Peckham really? happy hugs to you both! vx

  2. Hi there,

    This is all very impressive indeed. Some of the delta works in Holland ar just like small bumps in comparison to this huge dam.

  3. I love the nerdy, if you don't mind me saying so, facts! I've been impressing my friends with my new found knowledge of South American things. Keep it coming. You both look so well. Big Love, Karen

  4. Brilliant!! Great to see you both having such an amazing time. Elizabeth x