An international team of elite kayakers enters the unknown amidst a newfound peace in the once volatile Colombian Amazon.

Southeast, Colombia,  March 28th, 2017 – The expedition down the mystical Apaporis River will take an international team of kayakers through one of the least explored territories in the Amazon basin, cutting through the heart of the Chiribiquete Mountains deep in the southern Colombian Amazon. The waterway snakes 700 miles through virgin rainforest, dropping over seven distinct waterfalls on its journey southeast towards the border with Brazil.

 

This roadless land is the definition of isolation and insecurity. Vast wilderness and more recently, the guerrilla group The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), have kept the area secluded from the outside world. On the heels of the recent peace accord ending fifty-two years of civil war, it is only now possible to attempt this epic mission.

 

In navigating the challenges of this environment, the team will interact extensively with the indigenous communities who maintain ancestral knowledge of the river.  Their wisdom and guidance will be essential to understanding the wonders and the region’s endemic hazards: ten feet of annual flash flood-inducing rain, disease-carrying mosquitoes and flies, venomous snakes, spiders, electric eels, caiman, and jaguars.

 

Amazon Unexplored, the name for the expedition, is comprised of the world’s most experienced expedition kayakers.  Ben Stookesberry, Chris Korbulic, Aniol Serrasolses, and Jessie Rice will be led by Frenchman Jules Domine, the leading force behind Colombian river exploration and conservation who founded Fundación Yumaná to promote and protect communities and their free flowing rivers. Talented filmmaker and visual storyteller Ben Stookesberry from the United States is a two-time National Geographic Adventurer of the Year who recieved a Best Film Award from the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Fellow American and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Chris Korbulic was also named one of the world’s 50 Most Adventurous Men by Men’s Journal and has completed more than 60 first descents in 20 countries. Spaniard, Red Bull Athlete, and reigning Extreme Kayak World Champion Aniol Serrasolses is known for running the biggest whitewater on earth, including a seemingly impossible  descent 130-foot tall Keyhole Falls in British Columbia. Jessie Rice, from the United States has been a top expedition kayaker, extreme-race competitor, international kayak instructor and guide for more than 20 years and brings a uniquely female perspective to the team.

 

The team’s collective mission, in its simplest form, is to paddle the 1,000-kilometer Apaporis River.   Ben Stookesberry is very honest about his goal of wanting to see his team reach the Brazilian border safely after what he anticipates will be a very long month with a largely unknown level of risk. For Jules Domine, the trip presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity to document a river corridor where flora and fauna unknown to the outside world still exist. Chris Korbulic sees the expedition as a combination of pushing mental, physical, and creative limits in experiencing one of the planet’s greatest natural amphitheaters. Aniol Serrasolses has been pushing the limits of extreme kayaking more than anyone, and recently paid the price with a significant shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. In this 1000 km paddle he sees not only the chance for rehabilitation, but also the opportunity to descend massive rapids and falls situated in the most far flung place he can imagine.  Jessie Rice is the group outlier, not only as a female but as mother of 8 year old son, Fletcher.  She certainly takes with her a maternal responsibility of returning home safely; but like the rest of the group, she signed up for this mission as an opportunity for a profound spiritual journey on a sacred river. Ultimately the team hopes to promote a new peaceful chapter for Colombia and celebrate its native cultures and still undisturbed ecosystems. But as to what story will ultimately unfold, only the Rio Apaporis knows.

 

You can follow the Amazon Unexplored expedition in realtime at http://zppr.io/apaporis

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