In 2010, Gareth Jones and Aaron Chervenak quit their day jobs and split for the Amazon with little more than a portable canoe, paddles, cameras, and camping gear. They paddled for weeks, ate piranha, drank coffee made from river water, set up their hammocks, and drifted off to sleep, or not, to the growl of jaguars. They caught a bug for the region, and two years later they've returned with a bit more of a goal. In early October, the men will set off on a 15-month quest to paddle, hike, and bike from Brazil’s northernmost point to its southernmost point. Here's a bit more on the expedition they've named "Brazil 9000."
WHO: Gareth Jones, of London, is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Aaron Chervenak, of Los Angeles, California, is a filmmaker and photographer.
The journey. Photo: Courtesy of Brazil9000.com
WHAT: A 5,592-mile (9,000 km) human-powered expedition that begins on Monte Caburaí, at Brazil’s northernmost point, and ends in Chuí, at Brazil’s southernmost point. The pair will hike through dense tropical forest, paddle through the Amazon and down along the Atlantic coast, walk to Rio de Janeiro, and then pedal through the south of the country to the Uruguayan border.
WHEN: Jones and Chervenak plan to head south from Monte Caburaí in early October and expect the journey to take 15 months.
WHY: "Brazil 9000 will present an unprecedented portrait of Brazil and the Brazilians; visiting indigenous territories, deforested ranch lands, industrial ports, deserted beaches, fishing villages, pristine jungle and huge metropolises."
"The project will reach a global audience, with content in both English and Portuguese, through live Web updates, TV and film productions and a series of photographic exhibitions to coincide with the Brazil World Cup (2014) and the Rio Olympics (2016). Ideas for an educational program linking U.K./U.S. and Brazilian schools are also being developed."
"Until recently the coastal town of Oiapoque was wrongly seen as marking Brazil’s most northerly point. It took until 1995 for a Brazilian military expedition in the remote Amazonian state of Roraíma to officially confirm that the nation’s true north lay hidden in the mountainous jungle on the border with Guyana at Monte Caburaí. School text books are slowly being updated."
"A handful of Brazilians claim to have gone from Oiapoque to Chuí by foot or bike but they have all resorted to using motorized transport along the way; taking a ferry for 24 hours across the Amazon delta, for example. This, combined with the fact that they began their journey at the ‘false’ north, presents the opportunity to become the first people in history to genuinely cross the length of Brazil." —Brazil9000.com
SPONSORS: The team has listed a number of partners on their website, from the Royal Geographical Society to Arc'teryx.