Peeled Faces on the Amazon: The Story of the Amazon Express
Directed by West Hansen
This is the story of the first expedition to paddle the entire 4200 mile length of the Amazon River from its most distant source at 14,600 feet elevation in the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil. This source was discovered in 2012 using modern satellite mapping techniques after decades of having the most distant source located 500 miles away in southern Peru at the head waters of the Apurimac River. The new source is at the head waters of the Mantaro River, in central Peru and adds 50 miles (80 km) to the length of the Amazon, further solidifying its stance as the world’s longest river – roughly 120 miles longer than the Nile River.
An international team, sponsored by National Geographic, kayaked and rafted 500 miles of treacherous uncharted white water before reaching the Amazon rainforest. With 3700 more miles to paddle, they switched to sea kayaks and took on another crew of seasoned ultra-marathon canoe racers from Texas. While the white water posed danger from Class V+ rapids, the flat water dangers included gun-toting villagers, narcotraffickers, pirates, poor coffee, jungle rot, gastrointestinal issues, substandard whiskey, ocean going supertankers, massive tidal currents and eventually huge 30 foot ocean driven waves. As if the elements and distance weren’t enough, tension between team members caused riffs and eventually led to the team being reduced to just three remaining kayakers, out of the original 17 team members.
With Expedition members David Kelly and Jennifer Maxfield-Boucher IN PERSON
Director West Hansen says:
“This expedition, while momentous, has been merely the start of the second third of my life. Having led this expedition down the entire Amazon at age 50, I then moved on to the first descent of Europe’s longest river, the 2200 mile Volga River in Russia, which I completed in 2014 with Jeff Wueste. Every two years will be another adventure. Perhaps we’ll motivate a few people to get out there. If not, we’ll see you when we get back.”