Do you remember [the story on BBC](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4572215.stm) about the Internet-enabled Amazon adventurer Duane DeFreitas? The story started to interest me, so I tracked him down for an interview. And he was kind enough to share us an image from his big photo collection, of an ant-eater somewhere in Amazonia.
]]>Finding Duane was amazingly easy thanks to the powers of Internet search engines. So we got hooked up easily. But as the BBC story said and as you can also read below, he doesn’t have a microphone so he can’t speak, and we did this interview using Skype’s (text) Chat feature. And to thank Duane, we are sending him some Skype Starter Packs, containing a headset and some SkypeOut minutes, to get going on two-way speech. (Reportedly, shipping to Duane’s ranch is quite possible, so we’ll see how that goes.)
**How did you end up in that jungle in the first place? How did you become an “adventurer” — I would assume that you are not originally from Amazonia?**
Well, I came to this area in 1970 to work on a cattle ranch as a vaquero (Dadanawa Ranch). I was born in Georgetown which is the Capital city of Guyana. At that time, this area was very remote with no road in, only access by light aircraft.
In 1982 I started travelling in to the jungle on expeditions with people from this area, then after a while started taking guests. Birdwatching, fishing exploring etc. The land south-east of the ranch has no one living there or working and is basically pristine and rich in wildlife.
Also, my sons and friends became interested and are involved in conservation.
**Interesting! So… when and how did the computers and Internet show up there? I would guess that they were not around in 1970 or 1982 **
I had been looking for an affordable way to get internet for years, but no telephone or electricity or roads here. Eventually about 2 years ago a company started selling satellite internet out of Georgetown, so I got one as prices had dropped substantially since I first started investigating. To power it I used solar panels and charge controllers etc. And so have been online basically since then.
Last year I heard of Skype from my cousin who does computer stuff in the West Indies. He told me it was real good and free. Recently my niece started using it in Canada and sent me some info, so I downloaded. But i guess i need some other equipment as i can hear conversations real good but can’t talk out.
**Would I be correct to say that at this time you have no phone connectivity there? Or do you also have a satellite phone or something like that, apart from computer?**
No sat phone here. We use radio as other means of communication. A few years ago we were loaned a sat phone by a zoo who we were doing some work with and it was good, but that project is over.
**How is your impression on Skype so far? Have you chatted with old contacts or found new ones? Do you do text only or also one-way calls as you said? Is there any functions missing that would make your work and life easier?**
I have listened to my friends in Barbados, and to niece and daughter at school in Canada, and type replies to them. I really like it, it has been very clear and seems like no kind of delay, just wish I had a way of talking. I am sure when I do, will use it much more and contact friends and business acquaintances.
I am not sure of its possibilities as but just the ability to phone and talk is great. Can it fax stuff?
**Sorry, we don’t have the faxing capability at this time. But what we do have is that you can transfer files, so if the materials are on the computer, no need for fax.**
**One last question… would you have any message or advice, from your own experience, to people who are thinking of using Skype in remote areas where we would usually think that you cannot use computers and Internet? we’ve seen Skype being used also in Himalayas over wireless connections and such…**
Well my experience is very limited , but I think once you have a connection, probably satellite in any remote area, it is very nice to hear the person you are talking to and makes for much more personal and clear whatever communication is taking place and I would recommend it for people in similar conditions as my own. Also it makes talking over the phone a lot more affordable.
**Thanks for all your time and effort on this! Bye.**