From deep within the recesses of adventure and lunacy, former British army captain Ed Stafford has braved numerous toxic perils to become the first known man to walk the entire length of the Amazon River.
Armed with an internet satellite phone for entertainment, Stafford spent his comfortable nights watching episodes of ‘The Office’ in between affairs with 5.5-metre-long caimans, titanic anacondas and “50,000 mosquito bites”.
Stafford and a friend embarked on the jungle jaunt on April 2nd 2008. However, three months into the trip, the pair had a falling out and the ex soldier continued on his own.
He was joined by various fascinated locals on legs of the journey, until a hardy Peruvian forest worker, Gadiel ‘Cho’ Sanchez Rivera, 31, decided to finish the mission with him.
The 9,650 kilometre slog cost $100,000 overall, which was covered by various sponsors. Stafford says the aim of the trip was to promote awareness of threats to the rainforest and its people, although essentially it was a “boy’s-own adventure”.
Along the way, Stafford was told numerous times by locals he was going to die. He was also twice accused of murder, imprisoned, had concrete shoved in his mouth by fiery anti-capitalist warriors, chased with bows and arrows, and had a bot fly removed from his skull.
Living on a diet of piranhas, beans and rice, Stafford was also welcomed by snakes, scorpions and eels and hugged by a resident skin disfiguring disease.
Famed British adventurer and fellow lunatic Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot, described the journey as a glistening wonder trek. He said it had never been done as it was considered an utterly “impossible route”.
Meanwhile, news of Stafford’s success has utterly titillated the head of British Terrestrial Intelligence (BTI), Colonel Juniper, who credits the army for turning what could have been a saggy Anglo office worker into one hell of a bush bashing British bulldog.