Three female explorers take on world first

In some ways it’s funny to think that in one of the last under-explored parts of the world, in Guyana’s dense jungle, we can rely on an internet connection with the outside world, thanks to our communications partner Inmarsat.

However, the nature of exploration is changing and in this modern, hyper-connected world it’s a great comfort to know that as my team mates Laura Bingham, Ness Knight and I attempt a world-first attempt to paddle the Essequibo River, the third largest river in South America, we can share the experience on our Explorer 510 BGAN terminal – in many ways it’s what we’re looking forward to most.

Starting in the Acarai Mountains, southern Guyana, the Essequibo flows for 1,014km (630 miles) through remote Wai Wai land, untouched virgin rainforest, unknown rapids, waterfalls, contentious gold mining camps, tiny villages and latterly a sprawling city until it meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Great exploratory wonder of the world

A significant portion of the upper river is unknown to most, making it one of the last great exploratory wonders of the world. Remarkably no team (male or female) has ever canoed the river from source to sea. We hope to be the first.

Yes, there will be times when we will be absolutely disconnected: listening to the sounds of the forest, the paddle in the water, immersing ourselves fully in nature. However, it’s also reassuring to know that in times of trouble we have ways of contacting the outside world too, since we’ll have an IsatPhone 2 satellite phone which is of huge comfort.

Technology is such an important part of our everyday lives, but taking it into unusual situations it has the capability to help open your eyes to the incredible beauty of the world and enable you to travel further than you ever thought possible – in our case this will be two months on a river that winds its way through dense jungle. We can’t wait to dip our paddles in…

About the author

Pip Stewart is passionate about travel, exploration and increasing the profile of women in the adventure world. Pip has cycled halfway around the world – 10,000 miles from Kuala Lumpur to London.

Most recently, she cycled the Transamazonian highway, a 2,485 mile journey through the Amazon.

In her latest adventure, Pip is canoeing the Essequibo river in a three-strong female team aiming to establish a new world record.