Early in 2015, having procured the absolute minimum of equipment, Philip embarked on the most ambitious of his expeditions: a journey across South America at its widest part – along the Amazon valley. He set off by bike from a tiny Ecuadorian fishing village on the Pacific coast, crossed the Andes and summited the highest point traversed by the Equator – Cayambe (5,790 m). Entering the Amazon jungle he ditched the bicycle in favour of an inflatable boat and bought an Indian dugout. He survived on fish, spending the nights on the banks of the river.
Completely alone, Philip was left to the mercy of the elements and local people. His survival was put to the test – he lost a large portion of his equipment in an accident on the river, was robbed and targeted in a shooting.
At this point he sent the following message via satellite telephone: ‘Survival in the Amazon seems to be reserved for the strongest. I cannot fight the engine with a paddle, the gun with a machete! A secret war is raging here. The locals do their best to defend their lands but are powerless in the face of drug cartels, the military and the oil companies. I am trapped between a rock and a hard place but I am not the only victim – everyone here is a victim.
After almost three months on the road, Phillip is forced to abandon the expedition at the Colombo-Brazilian border. He succeeded in covering only about 40% of the intended route but he will not give up.
This mission awaits its completion.