11 May 2017: Two former Royal Marines Commandos have completed a near 400-mile (over 630 km) trek across Papua New Guinea.
Louis Nethercott and Anthony Lambert battled through jungles, swamps and crocodile-infested rivers, relying on maps made by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during the Second World War.
On their Expedition 5 mission they aim to trek across the five biggest islands on Earth. They successful crossed Borneo on foot at the end of last year. Louis and Ant are also highlighting the mental health issues facing military veterans and fundraising for the Royal Marines Charity and Help for Heroes.
Papua New Guinea brought not just the challenge of largely unexplored terrain, but also the real risk posed by travelling along one of the world’s most dangerous highways, where kidnapping and murder are common.
Fortunately the explorers carried Inmarsat satellite equipment with them, meaning they could stay connected to the outside world and arrange to meet local guides to show them the way and introduce them to isolated communities unused to seeing outsiders.
Throughout the month-long trek, they were warmly welcomed in settlements, with villagers eager to hear about their mission and their experiences in the armed forces.
“Although the locals are hardened warriors every time we arrive at a village looking worse for wear we are taken to the elders who listen to our stories, feed us with what they have (mostly bananas and potatoes) and offer us somewhere to sleep,” they posted during the trek.
“This crossing of Papua New Guinea is one of most physically demanding things we have ever done but it’s a privilege to see this beautiful world.”
Next up is Madagascar, followed by Greenland and Baffin Island.