For this week’s Adventure Wednesday We Check in With West Hanson and His Expedition Kayaking the Amazon from Source to Sea


A King Toad eyes the team’s equipment suspiciously. Photo Credit Amazon Express 2012

This blog update retrieved from

The team arrived in Contamana tonight around 6:30 pm.  After paddling 65.3 miles, West was getting tired and they decided to stop for the night.  As they were looking for a beach to camp on, they noticed houses starting to pop up.  A man on the beach pointed around the bend and informed them Contamana was right around it.  The team paddled faster and, around the bend, were greeted by the Coast Guard who shouted out “what took you so long?  We’ve been waiting for you.”  The previous Coast Guard had radioed to be expecting our guys and escorted the kayaks into town.  The Team was pleasantly surprised.  They were invited to sleep on the Coast Guard base (which is basically a 3-story barge), use their showers and get cleaned up.  Once our Team was clean (and changed into their cleanest dirty clothes), the Coast Guard captain assigned two guards to act as escorts to the team.  Roy Paredes and Roberto both speak pretty good English, took them to a good place to eat, introduced them around town and did a great job as escorts.  I have their emails and will send them a note, thanking them for taking care of our guys.  In addition, the team met a young man by the name of Yonel Guzman.  Apparently, Yonel owns a logging camp ( further downriver and has invited the team to stay there tomorrow night, if they can make it.  I am going to touch base with him via email, as well.

Contamana is a town in the Loreto Region in northeastern Peru. It is the capital of both Ucayali Province and Contamana District and has a population of 9,859.Wikipedia They are celebrating their 100 year anniversary and there are festivals planned each night this week.  He said everyone is out and wearing very colorful clothing and dancing in the streets.

West was telling me about a very small village where the team stopped for lunch and to purchase water.  Tumbas was very quaint and a refreshing change from a lot of the villages the team has encountered.  They had a nice, but broken, conversation with a little old woman who ran the local store.  West said she was very sweet.  He said she would start whistling and West would whistle along with her.  Then it turned into a game.  She would start the song and he would finish it, and vice versa.  Everyone would stop to listen.  They talked about the town and the river and then everyone in the village turned up to watch the “aliens” launch their kayaks and leave.  The Epic 18x donated by Epic Kayaks is getting a lot of attention.  This and the other two kayaks are not what these locals are used to seeing on their river.  West has been very complimentary of the Epic 18x, stating it is very stable and performing up to very high expectations.  It’s the perfect boat for this expedition.  Erich is working on getting pictures of the Epic in action.  I’ll post soon. 

Another interesting tidbit West told me about the Amazon River, is there are low and high tides.  This morning, he had to hurry up and move his tent because the high tide came in at night and almost came up to his tent.  He said it’s a pretty significant change and its affect is generated by the moon.  I googled this and found it to be true.  I’m sure many of you already knew that…I didn’t.

The mosquitos aren’t quite as prevelent now as they were a few nights ago.  The weather during the day is hot and the nights are mildly cooler but the humidity is terrible.  The dolphins are still a pleasure to watch and there haven’t been any pirahna sightings, as of yet.  Tomorrow, their goal is the town of Orellana.  This is where the logging camp is.  Orellana was founded by a conquistador of the same name who actually named the Amazon River. 

West Hanson is a National Geographic Expeditions Council Recipient and is kayaking the Amazon from Source to Sea.  Along the way he is collecting data for the South American Biodiversity project.