The objective of my most recent expedition to the NE Amazon, where, as a mere twenty-three year old, I found myself attacked by two goldminers. Back then, I fled for my life - and nearly all my provisions were lost when my canoe capsized. I then faced the prospect of walking for weeks to the outside world. How I survived - to add to my difficulties I contracted two strains of malaria - has always been a mystery to me. In fact, it's no exaggeration to say that I've been haunted by the event ever since.
This time, I wanted to gain a better understanding of why I didn't die all that time ago - but also gain a better understanding of the region, and the various threats posed to it, by gold-miners and others today. What I hadn't anticipated, of course, was that two journalists, Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, would go missing on the very day of my departure - though over on the Javari tributary, at the Peru border. It was an unnerving echo of my own experience of forty years before: knowing that region - and the threats faced it by illegal loggers and drug traffickers, I was fairly sure that 'foul play' was involved, and as I headed off alone, retracing my footsteps as best I could, the two men were very much in my thoughts. I'll be posting an article about my own experience very shortly.