Expedition to travel the length of the Amazon River.
October – December 2016

This was an arduous, colourful and sometimes dangerous expedition. We travelled through deep jungle and principally Kichwa, Achuar, Candozi and Quechuan Indian land, these tribes have historically never got on. We travelled by wooden dug-out and aluminium canoes, small motor boats and once on the Maranon and Amazon River itself, public ferry boats. The local people we met were friendly, vibrant and diverse and we considered ourselves privileged to have spent time with them.

We left from Quito in the Andes and on to the Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, full of birds, wildlife, flora and fauna but sometimes a moonscape of destruction was encountered, as the dark side of modern decimation and contamination of the Amazon Basin was witnessed.

The Amazon is the greatest river in the world and one of the longest and our team travelled its entire 4,200 miles length; starting at the Chambo as a stream, near Banos in Ecuador to Brazil, where the Amazon River can stretch to nearly 7 miles wide. Jacki and team member David succeeded in completing the journey without the assistance of fast boats or cabins.

The team were interested in documenting changes on the Amazon River since the early explorers, principally La Condamine, Jean Godin and later Isabela Godin, all from the 18th century.

Isabela Godin was also the first known woman to travel the length of the river and her story was retold along the river as each landmark of her tragic story was reached.

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TEAM

Jacki Hill-Murphy:

jackiJacki has spent the past few years exploring and filming some of the most inhospitable and remote places on earth; she enjoys sharing these experiences in speaking engagements, making films and her writing.
In 2007 Jacki left her job as an English and Drama teacher and set off down the Bobonaza in the Amazon Basin in a dug-out canoe. This became the first adventure in her project to recreate the journeys of the early women explorers; spurred on by the fusion of amazing, unsung women from history and her love of travel. So far Jacki has recreated journeys in Ecuador, Cameroon, Ladakh and Siberia.
Jacki has been dreaming of this journey down the entire length of the Amazon for some years, she will be documenting the changes she sees in the region since the first explorers travelled along the route through photography and writing.

Art Huseonica:

artEver since Art was ten years old, he has loved learning about survival, peoples of the world, their culture and geography. He has tested his ever-increasing survival skills. He has traveled to or lived in Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, the lower 48 USA, South America (Ecuador 2x), Greenland, Caribbean, and Iceland. Plus, sailed with the US Navy the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
Art’s most recent adventure was also his most difficult one. As part of a team of seven people, he enrolled in Bear Grylls’ survival academy in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. One of Art’s goals on this expedition is to satisfy his desire to document the sanitation habits of Indians and other locals in villages and small towns. He is also interested in learning more about how communication between villages and towns has changed with the proliferation of cell phone technology and the Internet.
Lastly, fitting his nature, he is looking for another challenge that will satisfy his constant need to learn more about countries, cultures, and peoples.

David Parker:

davidDavid is an experienced and passionate Explorer, Marine Biologist and lover of all things Wild. His particular interest lies in driving positive changes in the way we look after and utilise our natural environment without compromising the needs of society, especially those who depend upon nature the most.
He holds an honours degree in Marine Biology and an MSc in Environmental Management & Conservation and Practical qualifications including a Day Skipper Sailing Licence, Powerboat license, Advanced Open Water SCUBA Diving and the four fishing tickets required to work on commercial fishing vessels including firefighting and first aid at sea.
His current employment involves creating positive change in the marine environment globally as the head of sustainability for a seafood company in the UK. Previously David has worked in the environmental NGO sector working on marine conservation issues for WWF and The Marine Conservation Society. He has also worked as a biologist for the Welsh Government and the South Wales Inshore Fisheries Management Committee, as Crab & Lobster fishermen in the Bristol Channel and enjoyed a sabbatical on a small island off Tanzania protecting coral reefs and helping to develop a sustainable fishery for the locals.
David has often dreamed about experiencing and exploring the natural flora and fauna of what is one of the last bastions of pristine wilderness on our planet, the Amazon. When he heard about the opportunity to realise this aspiration combined with a real opportunity to help to drive positive change here for people and planet he jumped at the chance. The fact that this expedition involves following in the historical footsteps of the little known yet intrepid and brave female explorer Isabella Godin with five like-minded courageous individuals really adds the icing on the cake for him!

Mauro Fernandes Barbosa

mauroBrazilian native from the surroundings of the crowded São Paulo, southeast region of the country, Mauro is a recently graduated mechanical engineer who found himself not fit for the enclosed space fixed time work. Realising that he witnessed less of his own country than other continents and in need to find a new path to follow, he decided to leave the roads and think remote. That’s when he heard about the opportunity to join Jacki`s team.
Although outdoor activities such as trekking and diving are among his spare time activities, this expedition raises a new level of challenge to him. Mauro is very excited to learn new skills from experienced explorers such as Jacki and the other team mates, while fulfilling his role of bringing a native insight about the Amazon matters.

Rebecca Webb

rebeccaRebecca grew up in rural Australia and has a passion for the wild, the outdoors and adventure and has travelled extensively. After living in a rainforest in the Northern Territory in 2006 she decided to travel solo overland from Australia to the UK without catching a plane. In 2008 she spent 6 months in Central American exploring the jungle and satisfying her fetish for volcanoes. In 2011 she climbed Kilimanjaro and in 2013 Rebecca joined Jacki in her expedition across far Eastern Europe following the footsteps of early female explorer, Kate Marsden.

She is also training to become a recreational pilot. Both her grandmother and grandparents were pilots, flying their own Beachcraft Bonanza around the world in the 1970s and since a young age Rebecca has been keen to do the same and is in the process of learning to pilot gliders.

Rebecca holds a bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Biomedical Science and Masters in Philosophy of Science. She has been practicing as a Child Protection Lawyer for the past 10 years. Through her travels, particularly throughout South Eastern Asia and China she became increasingly passionate about the environment and saddened by deforestation and unsustainable development in the pursuit of economic growth. Early next year she will be heading to Nepal to engage in charity work to rebuild damaged housing and improve clean water supplies following the 2015 earthquake.
Whilst throughout the journey down the Amazon she is interested researching the impact that government enforced oil drilling and logging is having on the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and their environment. She will also document the journey through her sketch book.

Joining the second leg of the expedition:

Laura Withers

lauraLaura works hard to balance her career as a surgeon with her desire to travel the world. Upon finishing her surgical training she began working with Doctors Without Borders and has served in projects in Papua New Guinea, Haiti, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. She was drawn to work in the context of violence and disaster out of a deep respect for the resilience of the human spirit. She also enjoys teaching medical and surgical skills to those that will use them long after she has gone. Laura has made time to travel for her own enjoyment to many diverse and fascinating places. She especially enjoys traveling slowly and taking time to get to know people and their culture.
Laura is excited about this adventure in a region of the world that is new to her. The combination of historical perspective, environmental awareness and modern culture in an area that is changing so quickly makes this a particularly fascinating journey.
Laura is looking forward to studying the health issues facing the local people. From mosquito borne illnesses that are grabbing to headlines to daily nutrition changes as processed foods and environmental changes alter the diet the Amazon is a bellwether for the health of the planet as a whole.

Bruce Couillard

bruceAfter retiring from a career as an air traffic control manager for the Federal Aviation Administration Bruce has had time to embrace life as a musician and traveller. He is a multi-instrumentalist who focuses primarily on flute and saxophone, an instrument he took up at age 13. When he began composing in his late teens he was drawn to exploring the music of other cultures and traditions. Most recently he was fortunate to spend three months in Bhutan, where he taught at the Himalayan School of Music. Bruce is also an instrument rated commercial, single/multi-engine and seaplane pilot and an avid dancer (swing and Latin).
Bruce is inspired by adventure and challenge. He is looking forward to putting his past study in Environmental Sciences to use while documenting the wildlife along the river. He is also excited to experience the sights and sounds of the Amazon. He is looking forward to exploring the region’s modern, popular music and to tracking down traditional music as well.