Friday, August 13, 2010
AUG 13 BRITON FIRST MAN TO WALK ENTIRE AMAZON RIVER
Earlier this week, a 34 year old former English Army Captain named became the first known human to walk the entire length of the Amazon River. It took ED STAFFORD a total of 859 days (two-and-a-half years) to complete. But today, the tenacious man from Hallation, Leicestershire can boldly state that he has done something NO MAN HAS EVER DONE BEFORE. And...something no one will likely ever do again!
During the course of his journey from the tiny APURIMAC RIVER (the source of the Amazon, high in the Peruvian Andies) to the sandy beaches of the ATLANTIC OCEAN, Ed encountered obstacles that would baffle ordinary people. The Brazilian government has little control over the indigenous peoples who live in the heart of the world's largest rain forest. So in order to cross large patches of jungle, he had to negotiate with tribal chiefs for permission to walk across their lands. He soon learned that leaders communicated with other villages using short wave radios. It was wise to ask neighboring villages ahead of time to avoid conflict. However, once this planned backfired. A chief had replied "No gringo may walk on our soil" and really meant it. When he arrived, poor Ed was imprisoned in a cage for two days before things got worked out!
While PEOPLE were could be negotiated with, the AMINALS could not. As everyone knows, the largest carnivores in the world are found in the Amazon Basin. The most ferocious are the CAIMAN CROCODILES. The largest one Ed saw was a whopping EIGHTEEN FEET LONG. However, Ed blogged that they were not very interested in humans. Neither was another obvious foe, the giant ANACONDA snakes, who also eschewed eating British explorers. No, the worst natural enemy Ed had to face were the giant colonies of LEAF-CUTTER ANTS. These voracious insects have extremely sharp teeth. Within seconds, they could lacerate his legs or suddenly rip his tent to shreds. However, there was one enemy that Ed managed to turn the tables on: the mighty schools of man-eating PIRANHA FISH. Ed caught them, smoked them, and ate them with sea salt for dinner!
Although he raised the $100,000 to fund the expedition mostly through non-profit corporations, Ed insists he no left-wing-eco-warrior. He says he loves adventure and the thrill of exploration. But, through his blog, he does want to bring awareness to the real situation occurring in the rain forest. While he believes the average Amazon resident is acutely aware of the dangers of de-forestation, many renegade, corrupt tribal leaders are not. They operate in areas federal governments cannot reach and are to blame for much of the illegal logging. However, Ed 'keeps his fingers crossed' that the next generation of Amazon leaders will be 'more in tune with the delicate situation' and will work with outside help to best preserve the earth's largest producer of live-giving oxygen.
How does Mr. Stafford feel about his accomplishment? He said: "It's been an incredible journey with some amazing highs, but also some pretty horrendous lows as well. But I just couldn't consider giving in." Another question reporters asked: What's next? Stafford replied that he does indeed have another exploration planned, but he wouldn't divulge any secrets. He didn't want anyone else beating him to it!
NOTE: Watch Ed's videos and read his blogs at ManWalksTheAmazon.com