One of the bigger expeditions we’ve been following over the past few months came to an end yesterday when the Amazon Express crew completed their paddle of the Amazon River. The team worked late into the night and battled unexpectedly heavy tides, to reach the mouth of the river, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Brazil. That final push brought an end to a journey that took nearly four months to complete and crossed over 4000 miles (6437 km) in the process.
The past few days have not been easy ones for West Hansen and his companions. The closer they got to the finish line the more difficult the paddling became. At times they were averaging just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) per hour as the incoming tides from the Atlantic made it difficult for them to make any kind of headway. The team took breaks where they could and rested during high tide, but over the final two days they slept for just a couple of hours as they made a mad, desperate dash for the end of the river.
Reading the most recent post to the Amazon Express blog it is clear that the final leg of the trip has been an exhausting one. The three paddlers miss their families and homes dearly and are more than ready to wrap things up and head back to the U.S. They’ll do that tomorrow, but for now they’re enjoying some basic creature comforts they haven’t had for some time and relishing in the feeling of having accomplished their quest to paddle the Amazon River from source to sea.
No word yet on whether or not this was a new speed record of any kind. Originally when the expedition was conceived it was meant to be an attempt to paddle the entire 4000+ mile length of the river at a record pace. There really hasn’t been much mention of that goal since the early going, so we’ll have to wait to see if that remained a driving factor in the end or if this simply evolved into an adventure along the world’s largest and most powerful river.
Congratulations to West and his team for completing this epic journey. I can only imagine some of the things that they saw while out on the water.
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