Kayak the Amazon: An Expedition from Source to Sea

by Ian Tokelove
Kayak the Amazon team at the headwaters of the Amazon

David Midgley, a computer programmer from London, England, dreamed of doing something BIG, and different. A wild idea in a Scottish bar became a ten year project: learn to kayak, and then kayak the Amazon from source to sea. David, better known as ‘Midge’ joined London’s Regents Canoe Club and started to train and plan.

Darcy Gaechter and Don Beveridge met Midge in Ecuador when he was travelling and training for the Amazon. Midge recruited Darcy and Don to help him run the whitewater portions of the source (the Mantaro river in Peru) and they decided to join him for the rest of the journey.

Having paddled for years in Ecuador’s Amazon basin, Darcy and Don wanted to take on the whole of the world’s biggest river. Darcy would become the first woman to paddle the entire Amazon. When they started the trip, more people had walked on the moon than had traversed the Amazon from start to finish. Now, with the journey completed, that number is tied. Twelve.

This video starts high in the Peruvian Andes at the headwaters of the Rio Mantaro, the newly recognized longest source of the Amazon, and ends 148 days later on a beach at the Atlantic Ocean.

The trip started with altitude sickness and went from snow and freezing temperatures through high desert to steaming jungle. The group passed through Peru’s notorious ‘Red Zone’ famous for drug runners, Shinning Path insurgents, and wary indigenous people and paddled through pirate infested waters in Brazil. The three paddlers had nothing but great interactions with all the people they met along the way.

Shot mainly on GoPro, but also some Sony handicam and Canon T3i, this video is a short compilation of the five month journey. Whitewater rapids, miles of flat water, mosquitoes, blazing sun and pouring rain couldn’t stop Midge from reaching his goal: the first Englishman to paddle the Amazon from Source to Sea.

Other ‘firsts’ of note:
Darcy Gaechter, first woman to kayak the Amazon from Source to Sea (and first vegan!)
First trip to compete source to sea on the Amazon in kayaks (other trips used other craft, or bypassed long sections)

For more information visit the trip website kayaktheamazon.com



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