Snail’s pace.

Yesterday we managed two miles in a full walking day. That’s with the help from the Wai Wai guys too. It’s both absurdly dense but also increasingly hilly with steep muddy jungle-clad walls blocking our path. Imagine taking part in Tough Mudder, add a heavy rusksack, and a sprinkling of plants with spikes and thorns on them, then just keep going for day after day. Its bonkers – we are running on black humour, stubbornness, and farine.

I’ve had a few comments asking me to put our current trek into some context so here goes…

We are attempting to be the first team to kayak the Essequibo River in Guyana (South America – not Africa – that’s Ghana!). It’s South America’s third longest river and yet, unbelievably, no team, man, nor woman have ever navigated it’s full length. Huge sections in fact have never been recorded or documented.


Photo: Pip, Ness and Pieman (cameraman) using the BGAN to contact home.

To even begin our attempt we must get to the source of the river. That entailed chartering an aircraft from Georgetown, the capital, and flying to the indigenous Wai Wai village in the south of the country on the Brazilian border.

On arrival we were greeted with huge warmth and the Wai Wai have embraced our project agreeing to help us in both finding the source but also agreeing to paddle with us down much of the river.


Photo: The Wai Wai are able to literally produce food from the jungle. Fruits, fish and even animals. 

Their knowledge of the jungle is something that has to be seen to be believed. Hunting and fishing with bows and arrows, flicking cumbersome dugout canoes around with a deft stroke of a wooden paddle. We have already made great friends.

The search for the source began in dugout canoes but we are now on foot – the river became too slow with fallen trees and tangled vines. Our trial at the moment is simply patience. We have come too far for there to be a debate about what to do. We just have to cut a route through the dense palms and brambles and somehow make it to the source.

If the pace stays the same we’ll be cutting for the next week.

Ness in water

Ness, Pip and I are honoured to be here and privileged to be in this position – but at times the progress has been incredibly frustrating. Leading the group is a massive challenge for me too – mouths to feed, morale to keep high, tasks to allocate. I climb into my hammock at night and wonder what on Earth I was thinking.

And last night, at just such a moment, and just to keep me grounded (literally), my hammock came undone and I fell to the jungle floor with an undignified thump. No real harm done: I have a grazed leg and bruised ego. Humility is a gift that keeps on giving 😂

Laura x


A bit of logistics detail…

Laura, Ness and Pip are now just over a week into their search for the source of the Essequibo River.

They are (as the crow flies) now 25km from where they think  the source is. The coordinates are far from laid down in stone but they are on the longest tributary and they intend to get to the very very top!

The water levels are higher than they would normally be at this time of year. This is both good and bad. Some trees that they might have been able to pass under are now acting as barricades across the river. These have to be machete’d or chainsawed through for the boats to pass. The flip side of the higher water levels is that they had not expected to get this far upstream in the wooden dugout canoes – so the high water is also assisting them.

In the next day or so Laura will decide if its the right time to make camp, cache their kayaking equipment with the Wai Wai boatmen, and start the trek on foot to the source. Needless to say there are no paths and every single step of the journey will involve cutting a physical channel through the jungle to walk through. Its gnarly and dense up there – and they haven’t hit the reported bamboo yet.

Once at the source they will document it and then return to the boatmen. The boatmen will bid them farewell and return to the village and the team will begin to paddle the 1000+ kilometres of river to the Atlantic Ocean.

If they succeed, and these are three determined people, they will have done something that no human has ever done before. Pretty cool.

Update over.





The Search for the Source.

It’s been four days now of winding our way up impossibly beautiful rivers that are flanked by curtains of lush jungle on both sides. Vines hang down from the trees like ropes and fallen trees often barricade our path and cause our little convoy to stop and work out a way through / under / over.

From the Wai Wai village we hired villagers whose knowledge of the jungle is nothing short of humbling. They hunt and fish with their bows and arrows and they can light fires in the torrential rain in seconds. We’re supplementing our food with fish caught by the men and occasionally other hunted animals such as armadillo. This is not a policy as much as it’s simply necessity – and how you do things out here.

As much as the first two days was breathtaking and I was just absorbing the rawness of the jungle – I’ve started to get restless. Sitting in these dugout boats with their little outboard engines all day is giving me too much time to think. Will we find the source? Is this taking too long? If I was bitten by that snake would I be able to be evacuated in time? I just want to physically get paddling now. I’m a person of action and this is too contemplative a period.

The team is a happy one but one that is aware just how remote we are. I don’t think any of us are what I would call relaxed. I’m sure once we start exerting ourselves the mood will change.

I will aim to update as often as I can. I hope we will start the trek on foot to the source tomorrow. Or maybe the day after.

I just saw my first ever jaguar foot print.

Laura 🙂

Sponsors sponsors sponsors

The real start line of any expedition is finding sponsors. Money, money, money – because let’s face it, it takes a long time to monitorize life as an adventurer and it takes a lot of begging to companies. But with time, experience and some cool adventures behind you, it is possible.

My days are spent sitting at my laptop emailing. To an outsider it probably looks like I’m faffing because only 5% of my hard work gets a return. They just see that 5% and think the other 95% of the time your just secretly watching Netflix! As privileged and lucky as I know I am, I can assure you that an adventurer has to be putting in the hours calling, emailing and meeting potential partners. Its a stressy option at times – but an extraordinary one too.

Thankfully our hard work is paying off! We have successfully achieved about 40% of our sponsorship goal which feel phenomenal! We are getting there. So a huge thanks to Nuzest, the Transglobe Expedition Trust, and Mooncup for the support so far. 🙂

Laura x

Announcing our plan.

If you’ve landed on this page then it means you’ve taken an interest in finding out more about The Essequibo and our plan. So firstly, thank you for taking an interest.

The three of us, Ness, Pip and myself are cautious nutters. I fell in love with the idea of canoeing from source to sea, seeing the diverse life that resides within and around the river, all I had to do was mention the idea to my fellow friends and they were hooked too!

So we will leave the UK at the start of February and begin a two month journey to set a new world record!