As I fought with Amazon ???
I swam to Belem. I became 13th person in the world that has passed the Amazon river system and the first person that has passed the Amazon from San Francisco to Belem in a canoe, it took 94 days. It was a big challenge and a lot of sacrifices – from the family side begining. For four months I had to leave two sons, 3-year-old Leon and 5-year-old Igor, as well as the house that should have been finished. Fortunately my wife is more resourceful than I am.
Crossing of South America is a logistical challenge. Just as big as winning the South Pole, because in this expedition from the very beginning logistic ruled. Starting from sending canoe after getting up the source of the Amazon Nevado Mismi. Please find below the video of the expedition to the source of the Amazon. That’s how it started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGw-Z1Vq4lc
Logistic from the beginning to the end. Then riding the bike through the Andes, enter the height of 4700 meters and then exit. The next stage- Apurimac river and the city of San Francisco, from 31st of May I started the flow and finished it on the 1st of September. So fast crossing of Amazon would not be possible without the cooperation with Kacper Jurak, who prepared me a special GPS maps and Adam Wasilewski, we spent together many weeks to prepare the project. It is also a big challenge in terms of the preparation. A year earlier, I swam the Rio Napo. You can not just like that take a canoe without any experience and swim the Amazon. I was taking the example from Piotr Chmieliński, who first floated the Amazon from the source. He swam the rivers of South America for almost 6 years he started to cross Amazon river. I was swimming for 7 years, but only the rivers of North America, and that’s a huge difference, that is why I decided to swim the Rio Napo. Chmieliński encouraged me to swim Napo, and then to swim Amazon and to Belem.
I replied immediately that I was not interested. Every professional traveler is one who has a clear goal clear and precisely knows what he wants from each other and from the adventure. My goal was one – to start from the place where it is possible to drain the canoe. I started from Apurmiack from the first rapids of water that could capsize a canoe. I began on 31st of May, there was no other expedition in the same time. Why? Because each of them wanted to cross the mountain river – one Mantaro, another Apurimac, as far as I know both of them are technically difficult, although Apurimac from what I know is more demanding. Piotr Chmieliński crossed that river in 1985. But hefloated in the most safety month for kayak (he sailed a dinghy or mountain kayak), it was in October, just as other expeditions followed. Because Triathlon was my goal, I started at the end of May and it was really very dangerous thing to do. According to the descriptions of „Nurtem Amazonki” pours and whirlpools of Ene river are 10 meters big in October-. It is known that most water flows from Andes in May, and it is known that at the time Ene and Tambo is not a lowland river, although according to descriptions of the case. In May and June they resemble mountain rivers and have huge vortices – in October they are 10 meters big, at the beginning of June they were 16 meters and you could safely hidden inside two connected paddles. It can be confirmed by Gadiel Sanchez Rivera, accompanied me as a bow in my canoe from San Francisco to Atalay – we sailed along the River Apurimac for 60 km, Ene and Tambo. At Tambo we had some problems – we had to enlist the help of a boat, that pulled us on the rope to the shore because the canoe was stuck in the funnel, it took so much water that I almost lost my boat. It was the same on Ene, but then we were lucky and we could manage everything without help. Craters were powerful, I never had the experience of vortices, I had the experience with rapids on Athabasca River, when I was sailing solo Mckenzie river system in 2005. Below you can find the video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKaS2UqsiFg
River Tambo tried to swallow us, from Pojeni the river became very fast. We reached Atalay. Gadiel Sanchez Rivera became the head of the logistics of the expedition,he accompanied me at various points on Ucayali river. We met and organized accommodation, food, safe places. He fulfills the same role during the expedition with Ed Strafford, when from Satipo he went on foot along the banks of the Amazon. Ucayali river is slow, but I was able to cross it in 19 days. That’s very fast for a slow river that meanders through the heart of the jungle of South America. Wall of the forest for the left and right side, heat, 40 degrees and me in the canoe. Packaging has always been the heaviest, I drank electrolytes, swallowed pills, vitamins and eat my space food like spaghetti or stew powder, etc. A few times a snake crept into the tent andI had therefore horrible pain than ever. I had to to crush his tail with the paddle or preferably cut off the head and tail with a machete. It’s a dangerous job, but excellent lessons of survival that gave me Gadiel Sanchez Rivera. Thanks to him I managed to cross Ucayali, which was really dangerous, people are less friendly, you can not just get in a canoe or kayak and sail as some kayakers from Tri-City did and paid for it with their lives. You have to have special permission on the river Ene, Tambo, Ucayali to show them the local ,, Marshals”, chiefs of villages. We had such an experience on the Ene, when the locals gave two warning shots up, and one aimed straight at us. The bullet struck the stone near the canoe. Then we knew that we had to stop. How heavy region it is you ca read in the book „The expedition along the Amazon,” in which Ed Straffor described the region. Many think that this is the region you can travel. If so, why Explorer Website provides that 12 people only paced in a kayak the Amazon-one of them – Ed Strafford. No other did not. It speaks for itself. Amazon teaches determination and perseverance.
When these features do not exist, you will not flow so great river. „Marcin, focus on the nearest ports and purposes” – marked the steady correspondence with me and my team Piotr Chmieliński. Times have changed, but the river did not. The same the Southern Ocean had not changed –it is still very dangerous. You need to think- then you can survive. Sometimes I say to others: „You know, why do I exist ?? because I try to anticipate the situation in advance .So much to be done in such a project. Starting with the flow of Iquitos, when the Ucayali river and Maranion link each other and Amazon begins , from that point the river gets big and fast Sometimes I could sail 100 km a day, because in June there is a large amount of water from the Andes, and the river flooded, the river was fast, sometimes 14 km per hour. Aleksander Doba, who tried to swim across the Amazon in 2011, wrote on the blog: „The river flows so fast as at Dunajec turn” and he is the only person who can say something about this, because he swam the Amazon in a heavy ocean kayak in June. This is what I have to say when I was sailing in a canoe, which weighs 40 kg? The river became even faster from Tabatingi to Manaus, the speed sometimes was 13 km per hour. But really fast it was at the end of June before the border with Kolumbia- the speed was 18 km per hour. I had one goal from Pucalpy – to cross this part of the Amazon in sport style as fast as possible. From Iquitos I started to dream about crossing Amazon in a canoe less than in 100 days. And I did it – I swam the Amazon in 94 days in a canoe and this is an absolute world record in long-distance canoe flow. You can not of course compare canoe to sea kayak, because it is the same as if someone would like to compare WRC to F1. This can not be done. I had different thoughts while doing this project. During Rod Stewart concert, my wife Ala began to cry, fearing that something happens to me. Coming to the airport just before departure to Lima asked me why I was doing such a huge project when we had children. Only now I had so much knowledge and experience that I could make it happen-I replied driving a car to Warsaw. Earlier, I swam the river Lena, many rivers in the Yukon as a guide, among other things canoe and the river itself Yukon, the Mackenzie river system etc but Amazon is a great river. Fighting with it does not make sense, you need to love it and live with it – if you want to do it differently you will not succeed. You can not to think about the final, but about short goals- that is what will happen in 10 days, not in 2 months. Otherwise I would have gone crazy. I rowed 11 hours a day, I could not more because it was getting dark, and I did not want to swim in the darkness, although a couple of times I had to. Near Ichitary I almost died. Entering the port I did not notice a large mooring which was moored to a buoy. A large line almost cut off my head. It was terrible. I was to meet with local port Captain. They knew that the large ships moor here and decided to come and greet me.They came just in time because the fast current just hated me on the rope, thick as a hand of MMA fighter. They saved my life, drew a canoe of 10 cm from the rope, I threw them then bow mooring line. It was my great good fortune and divine assistance. In general I received a lot of support from God, so I decided to give my canoe as a gift or left in Maritime Museum in Gdansk. Energa – my main sponsor decided to help me to bring a canoe back. I believe that keep his word as I have kept that I’ll swim the Amazon.
Big problems started from Santarem, when the river became even more demanding. When I influenced Para river, my daily distance was almost 30 km, sometimes 40 km a day. High boards of a canoe on such large basins are like recessed. At such high waters canoe is not able to flow. But I fought. In 2012, I sailed from Bornholm to Darłów for 28 hours – non-stop rowing across the Baltic Sea. Then I swam 5 km per hour, I was able to do it because I had the weather window , there was no wind, no ripples. It was 28 hours, but you can not have such a lucky to have it for 14 days. Ocean wave from the Atlantic to the Gulf in front of Belem was 2 meters height. Sailing at the shore tidal wave capsized me, everything was wet and again I had to prepare everything from the beginning. It was a struggle. But before Belem it was getting harder and harder, large tides began, the water rises and falls every 6 hours and swims once up, once down the river. Within six hours I could do 45 km. Piotrr Chmieliński from Brewis to Belem sailed in four days, I wonder how it is possible, but a sea kayak is like a F1, they quickly penetrates and flows. They crossed the bay boldly,my canoe would not have a chance, so I had to sail down the bay to inter-island do traverse the bay, which was tough and demanding, but at this stage I had a boat that government of Para state guaranteed me – governor and commander of the Para state security thanks to the efforts of the Polish Embassy. Peter Chmieliński in 1986 in a sea kayak from Manaus to Belem sailed in 31 days I did it in a canoe in 36 days. From Brewis to Belem he sailed in four days, I did it in 10 days, but all the time I had to underline that I did it in a canoe. I think that canoe gives better opportunities, but it is slower and has more resistance, so it has an impact on wind and speed. On the fast riversit may be equal to the canoe, which confirms the legendary race of Yukon River Quest. Competitors in a canoe end their voyage approximately 4 hours after the fastest kayaks, so it’s not bad, worthy competition.
My trip was purely sporting .As I have two sons, my motivation was to quickly return home. But it was also a wake-up call for me to make a sports trip because I know I’m good at long-distance swimming. For this reason I decided to do it in sporting style. I reached Belem on 1st of September at 15.26.
And I decided to finish canoe sailing, this step is behind me. Someday I will swim with my boys on the Yukon to Alaska. Now I am going to concentrate on the race. Tomorrow, 4th of September I start may longest run in the whole life- 80 km toward the Atlantic to finish South America’s traverse. It’s hard- hot and humidity, but the challenges have to be like that , otherwise the world would stop. Amazon traverse I dedicate to my youngest son 3 year old Leon. I want him to know that nothing does exist until we find a new solution. Amazonka taught me that- look for solutions and push against. For the rest of my life.
More about the expedition you can find on: www.gienieczko.pl
Gienieczko reaches South America, 700 km by bike through the Andes, 5980 km in a canoe, 80km of slow-run = unsinkable
A man must be stronger than the conditions he found. Gienieczko belives that : Everybody dies but not everyone knows how to live a life without being afraid of the sky, deep sea, big lizard, I squat only before God and move forward. In this world survive only those who see in the dark in advance. 4th of September 2015, 21.40-14 hours and 40 minutes of slow-run after 94 days of sitting in a canoe, the same final handle is a success. Goal achieved. 111 days of pushing since 17th of May. This trip showed me that in order to survive you have to look for solutions in every situation. Thank you for your participation in this project, reading about the adventures of my strength and my pushing.
Once I asked my friend how to live? The answer was simple, be honest to yourself. I have two sons, I fight since my childhood, everything in order not to prove myself (this lifetime is behind me), but to show the children from different places in Polandthat if you want to achieve anything in life you have to be persistent , you need to have a strong focus combined with life’s mission . Olympic champion Robert Korzeniowski said: I walked a lot in my life to achieve something. And the same is with the exploration, competitive sports, business, family life. Triathlon through South America showed me that if you want to achieve something you should have three qualities: perseverance, enthusiasm and motivation. The mission was successful.
The project was presented in the biggest daily TV in Poland FKTY TVN. We encourage you to take a look at the summary of the expedition.
Each of you, my dear friends, find its Westerplatte.
It is worth to listen and understand, you must demand from yourselves that means to be more for others.
Marcin motivation: Jan Paweł II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2ZPCuMj4ik
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I would like to thank Piotr Chmieliński for his help, experience and many useful information. Hi is the first kayaker who sailed The Amazon River from the source of a river to Atlantic Ocean,Thank you for Miroslaw Raiter and Energa and Uniqa.
Photo story about expeditions amazon