Explorers Connect

Amazon River Run

Trip ReportJames Hipkiss

In June 2015, two adventurers set off on an expedition to kayak the 4,000 miles of the longest and largest river in the world, the Amazon.They started at the source, 4,500m high up in the Peruvian Andes, and followed one of the seven natural wonders of the world through some of the worlds most inhospitable and deadly environments to Belm in Brazil where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

We faced a huge number of mentally and physical challenges. The trip began by walking 400 miles up and over the Andes, reaching 4,500m peaks on a regular basis. Having walked for 36 days the pairkayaked an arduous 10+ hours a day for the remaining 93 days. Food was rationed to what we were able to carry, stocking up with additional items when we passedthrough communities and towns.We were on the river for months on end with only one another to talk to. The every day stresses builtas we grew more tired further downstream. We will need to motivate ourselves and each other in order to push through these barriers and reach our destination.

The river is home to some of the worlds deadliest species including huge catfish, vicious bull sharks, aggressive crocodiles, flesh-eating piranha, giant centipedes, deadly spiders, electric eels and the worlds largest snake, the Anaconda. Its also home to many of the worlds rarest species including the endangered pink dolphin and the threatened Andean Condor.There was the risk of picking up one of the seven potentially fatal diseases contracted through the water and its marshy banks.We needed all our wits and negotiating skills on multiple sections of the river from the infamous Red Zone, the coca growing and trafficking area of Peru, to the pirate infested mangroves of the lower regions in Brazil.

We battled with high altitudes, heat, humidity, tropical storms, insects, wild animals and tribes at war to name a few. The climate varied along the route, starting at below freezing near the source. Downstream temperatures soared with extreme heat and brutal humidity, changing in an instant to tropical thunderstorms that lasted for days at a time. This is the Amazon River Run.