Firstly apologies for falling off the face of the planet for the last week. I’m going to hold my hands up that this is an utter baptism of fire for me in terms of responsibilities. I’ve just turned 25-years-old (here in the jungle – woop woop!) and I suddenly find myself leading two amazing (and already very accomplished) friends and six Wai Wai indigenous guides through an environment that scares me and that I am “processing” as I write.
I could not have predicted the stress that I feel; sometimes I feel like I’m going to vomit. I’m so fried about logistics, different people’s conflicting wants, sponsorship commitments, and simply leading the team through the jungle. We have timings to try and stick to if the cameramen are to swap out at the right time and I’m trying to juggle it all with really limited battery-power and headspace! To top it all I miss my son in a way that is indescribably painful. I knew it would be tough – but about a week ago it started stabbing me like a machete. Its more than tough; some nights I literally sob myself to sleep in my hammock.
So something had to give in our battle through the tangled jungle to get to the source and back – and it was social media updates over the last week. Sorry – my bad.
But this is not a sob story – far from it – I just wanted to give some context to the situation. In fact – its all incredibly positive…
The amazing truth is that we got to the source of the Essequibo, logged the position, took some photos (sensible and daft of course – you know me!), and we are now back in the Wai Wai village having a well-earned rest day.
If we had inflated our rubber kayaks when we got back to the cache we would have got them ripped to shreds so we paddled the heavy Wai Wai dugout canoes whist the undergrowth at the sides of the river was still dense and sharp. It was a case of make it up as you go along. It worked – so we adapted.
I’ll be honest again – getting back out on the water scares me. This tribal village is kind and warm and safe – but the vast majority of the Essequibo River – its waterfalls, rapids, gold-mining, jaguars, snakes and piranhas – still lies ahead. We’ve hardly started.
At least from here on in we are going in the right direction: towards the ocean; towards a world first; and towards home.