Episode 10 Serious Explorers: Raleigh


Episode 10

Seven young explorers relive the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh. The expedition builds to an astonishing climax, as the Serious Explorers reach the spectacular Kaieteur Falls.


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Transcript


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Seven young explorers are taking on the toughest challenge of their lives...

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..an extreme expedition

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in South America.

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That is mad.

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They're attempting a series of astonishing world firsts.

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-Oh my God!

-..going where no children have been before...

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-Ah!

-..to get to some of the most awesome places on Earth.

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-We've reached the top.

-Land to starboard!

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The team are following in the footsteps of the great Elizabethan,

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Sir Walter Raleigh, the first Englishman to explore Guyana

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as he searched for El Dorado, the lost city of gold.

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Led by survival expert Ben Major

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and record-breaking adventurer, Polly Murray,

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the epic journey will push the seven explorers to the limit

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and beyond.

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-I can't!

-It's all bad.

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I hate you so much!

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-Get them off!

-Ah!

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It's just too scary.

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-Coming up...

-Careful, careful, careful.

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..the expedition reaches an awe-inspiring climax,

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trekking to the bottom of an immense waterfall.

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-You can't get much better than this, really.

-Whee!

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And abseiling off the top.

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That is the best view in the whole world!

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Over the last four weeks, the young explorers, all aged

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just 12 to 14, have clocked up an impressive list of achievements.

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They've become the youngest team on record to climb

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nearly 10,000 feet up Mount Maringma.

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We're at the top.

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And the first children to stand on the furthest point, known as The Prowl.

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CHEERING

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COWS MOO

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They've herded 100 head of cattle...

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SHOUTING AND CHEERING

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..endured a night surviving completely on their own in the rainforest...

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It's morning.

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I'm still alive.

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..and paddled a record-breaking 75 miles down a remote jungle river.

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Oh, it's static at the minute, just so glad that we've done it.

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Now after a month of amazing adventures,

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the explorers are entering the last week of the expedition.

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Though as yet, they have no idea what it holds.

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Obviously we're going to leave the biggest...

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till last.

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And you are going to be the youngest people ever

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to trek to the bottom of Kaieteur Falls.

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-Oh!

-Oh my God!

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Cascading 741 feet,

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Kaieteur Falls is one of the most powerful single drop waterfalls in the world.

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Over the next three days, the team will attempt a groundbreaking trek

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up the gorge, to get as close to the bottom as possible.

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It's so treacherous,

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they'll be the only children on record ever to attempt it.

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I like all the parts of the rainforest no-one's been to before

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and you can't get better than Kaieteur.

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I think it's pretty amazing, I can't wait to get to the bottom.

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What they don't know is that they'll also be the first children

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to try and abseil from the top of the falls.

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ENGINE STARTS

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Kaieteur Falls sits in the heart of Guyana's unspoiled rainforest,

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so the only way to get close is by light aircraft.

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They head to a landing strip overlooking the gorge.

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All right, gang. Last phase.

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But the terrain today is very, very steep.

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You've really got to watch your footing

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and make sure that we work together, OK?

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And let's go and have the most amazing experience, all right? OK?

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It will take the explorers three days

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to trek a total of less than three miles to the falls.

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Today, they've a two mile steep descent to their first camp

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at the bottom of the gorge.

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Careful, careful, yes?

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A big step down.

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It's extremely slippery and Sammie is soon struggling.

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Sammie is ever so cautious about where her feet are going, she's frightened of falling.

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We've got to try and get her out of that

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because it gets a lot worse, the further we go down.

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Along the route, they encounter all sorts of wildlife.

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I found it on the floor.

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My baby stick insect.

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-What's that?

-Is that a kangaroo?

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It's a capybara and it's the world's biggest rodent.

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I was going to say what is a kangaroo doing in the middle of the rainforest?

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Guys, go, where Sammie's going there, go left.

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Some of the boys are finding the slow pace frustrating.

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We're walking so slow, we can't get anywhere.

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It's like stop, start, stop, start.

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It's going to take forever if we keep going like this

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and we'll end up getting in to camp in darkness, which nobody really wants.

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What these guys don't appreciate is that if one was to take a slip,

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then the consequences of a slip are massive.

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Ooh.

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I feel kind of bad because I'm slowing everyone else down,

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so I'm going to try and hurry up but I find it kind of scary.

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Hold on to the roots of the trees. They'll help you down.

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With the constant hold-ups, Michael and Jake start to mess about.

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They should build a massive great slide in the park.

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Yes, and you just slide down it. Woo!

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On no! Look, I did it again!

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LAUGHTER

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Guys, if someone breaks their leg here, we're absolutely scuppered.

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Concentrate on what you're doing. Just... Sssh. Yes?

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WHISTLING

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After five hours of trekking,

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the explorers finally make it safely to their campsite.

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I think we might have arrived.

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Good effort, guys.

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Shall we call this Old Man's Beard Camp, yes?

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Because of the waterfall opposite, which looks like an old man's beard?

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-Long and wispy?

-Whoa!

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That's amazing.

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In Elizabethan times,

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Sir Walter Raleigh was also awestruck by the scenery

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he came across as he explored Guyana, especially the waterfalls.

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He wrote of one...

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"I think there is not in the world so strange an over fall,

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"nor so wonderful to behold."

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You know when you see on the TV when it all looks fake?

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This looks fake because it's that beautiful.

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That's literally 10 times smaller than Kaieteur Falls.

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Once we get there, that is going to be absolutely mind-blowing.

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WHISTLING It's time to do some work.

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We're going to lose the light a lot quicker because we're right in a big gorge here.

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After weeks away,

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the team are getting pretty good at setting up camp.

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But there are still the usual jungle hazards to content with.

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A cockroach crawled in my sleeve,

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I just had the biggest ant on my leg bit me,

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big, red ant bit me on the leg, that killed.

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Woo!

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Just get it light, get it started.

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As team leader for the day,

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Michael has come up with a special plan for the camp fire.

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We're going to try and get a massive fire going tonight

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so in the morning we don't have to start again, it will burn through the night.

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Regan's not feeling well so has gone off to his hammock.

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I need the toilet and I'm feeling a bit dizzy.

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I think I need to lie down for a minute, that's all.

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He needs to recover fast,

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as the route to the falls is set to get even tougher tomorrow.

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In the morning, Michael's chuffed to find his fire still smoking.

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I cannot believe that our fire has lasted the whole night.

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It was glowing red, so I blew on it a few times and put some sticks on it.

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-Is everyone up?

-Yes.

-Regan?

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Unfortunately, Regan's condition hasn't improved,

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raising a question over whether he can continue.

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I feel more or less the same.

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I really want to do this, I've wanted to do this for a long time.

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So I'm not going to stop now.

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It's a concern to Dr Henry.

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Regan's got a bit of diarrhoea and is a bit dehydrated.

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As a result, he doesn't have much energy at the moment.

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Give it a boost, you need the energy, all the energy you can get.

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-Try and force it down.

-I don't really want to eat any of it, though.

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Today's goal is to forge a route for half a mile

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alongside the river to Sandy Camp.

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If they make it, it will be a first chance to see Kaieteur Falls.

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But unusually heavy rain over the last week

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has given them a serious problem.

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The water levels are probably two, three metres higher than normal at this time of year.

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At the moment there's no river bed,

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so we're having to cut our route through the jungle.

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We really are genuinely exploring.

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If you reckon last night was the most amazing place,

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I'm hoping tonight will beat that by a long, long way, OK?

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-Excited?

-Yes.

-Let's do it.

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They set off into virgin jungle

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and the terrain is incredibly tricky.

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You can just about kill yourself on anything.

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That's why you've got to be on the ball the whole time.

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There's holes, there's massive rocks,

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there's boulders, there's trees...

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There's really slippy rock, just up here.

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You do find... Keep going, yes? Big leap.

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-Good girl, brilliant.

-Despite the difficulty,

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Regan is determined to keep going.

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Still feeling a bit tired,

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but pushing on and on, feeling better as the day continues.

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He's been doing good so far. I wouldn't fancy doing all this if I was sick.

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Fast-flowing rapids are now right alongside their route.

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Come up here, you get a much better view.

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-Whoa. Look at that.

-Amazing.

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-Quite scary, isn't it?

-Just a bit!

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You wouldn't want to fall in, to be honest.

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You would not stand a chance.

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Just pass back. There's a rope that you can hold onto.

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Stop a minute!

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-Suddenly, there's a problem.

-What have you done? Hold on.

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Jake has fallen badly.

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Further down.

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HE WINCES

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Push on, guys, and just sit down round the corner.

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He's hurt his wrist and Dr Henry assesses the damage.

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-Keep going, Nikita.

-Can you just tell me what happened?

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My foot got caught in a vine and I tried to lift it up

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and it got caught and I just went forward.

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I landed on my wrist on there.

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And you took the fall...

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HE WINCES

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-Sorry.

-You took the full weight of the fall on your wrist and it bent back?

-Yes.

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He's got a bit of a nasty sprain, but fortunately hasn't hurt himself in any other way

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and we've given him some painkillers, bandaged his wrist

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and he should be fine, we'll just keep an eye on him.

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That's an indication of what the ground's like at the moment.

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It's very difficult to see where you're putting your feet and actually having good handles

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and you've just got to take your time.

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Jake bravely presses on through the pain...

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even managing to pull himself up on ropes rigged for the most dangerous sections.

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Pretty difficult when you've only got one hand.

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Just use your knees, Jake, if it's a problem. That's it.

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It takes the team six hours to trek a total of just half a mile.

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But at last, they reach camp.

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That is relief, to actually be able to walk a couple of metres without tripping over.

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We have arrived. I didn't actually think we'd make it.

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Nice one, folks.

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-Well done, Joshy, well done, Jake.

-We've arrived!

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That was proper pioneering.

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Today hasn't been easy at all. It's been, I mean,

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we've done a route that probably nobody's ever been down before.

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It puts the name "serious explorers" into reality, doesn't it?

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They've more than earned their first glimpse of Kaieteur Falls.

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-OK.

-Don't look, don't look, don't look.

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-Now, Polly?

-Yes, look up, guys.

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Oh, my God!

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CHEERING

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That's huge!

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THEY TALK OVER EACH OTHER

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-How beautiful is that?

-Wow.

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Can we get right down on the boulders, yes?

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Kaieteur Falls is as high as a 75-storey skyscraper

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and it's the only place in the world where such a huge

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volume of water falls over such a vast distance.

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It is just beautiful and it's absolutely huge.

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I'd say that's definitely one of the best,

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if not the best thing I've ever seen, it's just mind-blowing.

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So worth going two days hot and sweaty to be rewarded with that view?

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-Yes.

-Yes.

-But we're not there yet.

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They've already come where no group of children have been before

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but the aim tomorrow is to get as close as possible to the falls

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and the only route is at the other side of the river.

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We're going to do a river crossing, so we want to be able to swim across the far side.

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From there, we're going to pick a route up and over, underneath,

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whatever we can do, to forge a route all the way up, that is our plan.

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-Is that sounding good?

-Yes.

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With no way forward up the right-hand bank,

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they'll have to cross a fast-flowing river

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and then clamber along treacherous boulders as far as they can.

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But as the day draws to an end, there are ominous signs

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of yet more bad weather.

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You might be able to hear it absolutely chucking it down.

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Fingers crossed all goes to plan.

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I just hope this doesn't bring the water levels so high

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that we actually physically cannot cross the river.

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It rains on through the night, and in the morning,

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the river levels have risen, but the leaders decide

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the crossing can go ahead. Just.

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It's genuine exploration. We should be able to cross the river.

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That might be the end of it.

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But every single little bit closer, it's just the views,

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and the feeling of accomplishment is going to be even stronger.

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It'll just be the most amazing feeling, to have done all this

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and been through everything, from arriving to paddling

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and then to finally go out on a bang, basically, just complete the journey.

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The river is now flowing seriously fast.

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Once we start breaking out to the left,

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we'll enter the current.

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That's when we ask you to swim strongly. Fast as you can,

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and you'll go across but the current will sweep you down.

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Michael, if you go first. Nikita, you go second.

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-I don't want to do it at all.

-You don't want to do it at all?

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Although Sammie can swim, she has a fear of all but the calmest water.

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If we had the dinghy here and you in the water

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-and you held on to the dinghy...

-OK, I'll do that

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but I don't want to go it alone.

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The strongest swimmer, Michael, goes first.

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With the safety boat on hand and Dr Henry also in the water,

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he strikes out into the strongest part of the current.

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Swimming hard, all the way, fantastic job. You've got to

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keep working. You get the burn in your arms and legs.

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You've got to keep driving all the way to the end.

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Polly's waiting a little downstream, where he should end up

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in the powerful current.

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Well done, Michael.

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Nice one.

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When your head comes out, you can feel the current hit you

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and it's sort of a bit of a shock, how strong it is.

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They have to allow themselves to be taken downstream,

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and not waste energy fighting the flow.

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You've got to commit. It is like a 50m sprint, maximum effort.

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-Just power through the water.

-Good girl! Keep coming!

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It doesn't matter if you float down!

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Just keep going like that and you'll be fine!

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-You OK?

-Yeah, fine.

-Perfect.

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I had a good look at Kaieteur Falls. It's pretty cool.

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You can see all the mist bouncing off the bottom.

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Good, Megan!

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Just let the current take you! Good effort.

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You make that look so easy!

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OK, Josh!

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But Josh isn't such a strong swimmer,

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and he makes little headway in the current.

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Come on, Josh!

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You'll soon be out of the flow.

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By the middle he's struggling, and the leaders are getting concerned.

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Josh, don't go upstream. Just relax, yeah?

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Doesn't matter if you end up down there.

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But he digs deep to make it all the way across.

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It was pretty nerve-wracking in the middle.

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You're just dragged out of direction.

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But I did it and it wasn't actually too bad.

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That's it. Now hang on. Both hands on that line. Well done.

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Sammie takes a ride most of the way.

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But after getting through the worst of the current,

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she tries to swim the last few metres.

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That way. Just come up on the ramp.

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Swim forward.

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-Swim forward.

-Suddenly, she has a panic attack.

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Swim forward.

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It's all right. You're doing fine.

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-And Polly has to step in to help.

-Give me your hand.

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Sammie. Sammie. Give me your hand, darling.

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Oh, I spoilt it!

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Hey. Hey!

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Hey, look at me!

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-Only a tiny little bit and I couldn't even do it!

-Hey. Hey.

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Don't worry. You're here.

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I'm annoyed at myself because I couldn't even

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do the tiniest little bit and that's stupid.

0:18:400:18:43

I should have been able to do that.

0:18:430:18:45

I'm really annoyed at myself for freaking out.

0:18:450:18:50

From now on, every record-breaking step is treacherous.

0:18:510:18:56

The rocks are really slippy and just like a sheet of ice.

0:18:590:19:03

If you fall off, you'll go down a hole, go in the water

0:19:030:19:06

or knock yourself out on one of these rocks,

0:19:060:19:09

so it's pretty scary.

0:19:090:19:11

It's amazing, getting this close to the waterfall. It's just there.

0:19:130:19:18

Every single step that we take from now on

0:19:180:19:22

has got danger written all over it.

0:19:220:19:24

And I'm not hamming that up.

0:19:240:19:26

So please take your time, use your hands, stay low,

0:19:260:19:29

centre of gravity low.

0:19:290:19:31

No leaping, no jumping.

0:19:310:19:33

They inch ever closer to their goal.

0:19:380:19:41

Careful, careful, careful!

0:19:470:19:49

Nikita! Never again, all right?

0:19:490:19:52

You're too cocky, by half.

0:19:520:19:54

Don't get swept under there.

0:19:540:19:57

Concentrate on what you're doing and then head up onto there, OK?

0:19:570:20:03

It'll be really cool when get a lot closer

0:20:040:20:07

and see a clear view of it. We can only see a bit at the minute.

0:20:070:20:11

But to get still closer

0:20:110:20:12

to the falls, they have to try to forge a route

0:20:120:20:15

round and under giant boulders.

0:20:150:20:18

It's pretty nerve-wracking, the stretch from one rock to another.

0:20:180:20:22

You have to hold two hands on the rope and never let go.

0:20:220:20:26

It's amazing to see it, but it's really, really, really scary.

0:20:260:20:30

Eventually, they emerge from beneath the rocks...

0:20:320:20:36

..and find they've reached the end of their journey.

0:20:390:20:42

Come on, gang. Look at this!

0:20:450:20:47

ALL: Whoa!

0:20:470:20:49

They're the youngest group ever to reach the bottom of Kaieteur Falls.

0:20:490:20:53

Not bad, eh?

0:20:530:20:55

That is pretty much a lifetime mission. To come to Kaieteur Falls,

0:21:030:21:08

you can't get better than that, can you?

0:21:080:21:11

I never thought I'd say that about a waterfall,

0:21:110:21:14

but it is actually beautiful.

0:21:140:21:16

To come all this way and have that as your view,

0:21:160:21:19

it feels absolutely amazing.

0:21:190:21:22

What you guys have achieved to get here is absolutely phenomenal.

0:21:220:21:28

-Amazing job. Well done.

-Congratulations, guys.

0:21:280:21:32

Woo-hoo! Because, we are now Serious Explorers.

0:21:320:21:36

ALL: Yeah!

0:21:360:21:38

What the explorers don't know

0:21:400:21:43

is that it isn't quite the end of the expedition.

0:21:430:21:47

As they go back out of the gorge to see the falls from the top,

0:21:470:21:50

the leaders break the news of a final, remarkable challenge.

0:21:500:21:55

We've got an opportunity to...

0:21:550:21:57

abseil, from the point you can see where the ropes are coming down,

0:21:570:22:01

and get a really good look at the waterfall.

0:22:010:22:05

If you want. It's quite a brave thing to do.

0:22:050:22:09

We were down there and now we'll go down the falls. It'll be great.

0:22:090:22:14

You won't get to do anything like this again,

0:22:140:22:17

so it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

0:22:170:22:20

I cannot wait to do it!

0:22:200:22:22

I'd never, ever pass up anything like that.

0:22:220:22:25

Nikita volunteers to go first.

0:22:250:22:28

Polly will be down there and she'll give you a seat

0:22:280:22:31

to make you more comfortable.

0:22:310:22:33

Throughout the whole trip, she's shown nerves of steel.

0:22:330:22:38

Just work your feet down. Get the feel of it. Feet a little bit lower.

0:22:380:22:43

You'll feel awkward. You've done the hardest move.

0:22:430:22:47

Oh, that is immense!

0:22:470:22:48

That is the best view in the whole world!

0:22:480:22:52

Oh, my gosh!

0:22:520:22:56

Oh, my goodness! I cannot believe I'm doing this!

0:22:560:23:01

Oh, my gosh! The waterfall's just there!

0:23:050:23:08

There's a massive rainbow.

0:23:080:23:11

You can see all the valleys, and I'm literally, right,

0:23:110:23:16

next to the waterfall. This is amazing!

0:23:160:23:20

Wow.

0:23:220:23:23

Whoa!

0:23:260:23:27

Keep walking up. Good stuff.

0:23:270:23:29

That was actually the best thing I've done on this whole trip

0:23:290:23:33

and the fact that it was me controlling myself, it was amazing.

0:23:330:23:37

For some, taking their first steps over the edge is very nerve-wracking.

0:23:370:23:44

-Whoa!

-I'm right here, Jake.

0:23:440:23:46

-This is the worst bit.

-Feet down.

-All right, buddy? Cool.

0:23:480:23:52

Whoa, that is cool.

0:23:520:23:54

-Those waves are immense.

-Oh, God.

0:23:540:23:56

Regan has never been happy with heights.

0:23:560:24:00

Straight down the cliff. Absolutely perfect.

0:24:000:24:03

But he's never let his fear get the better of him.

0:24:030:24:07

Oh, my God!

0:24:070:24:08

It's just incredible. Everything's just perfect.

0:24:100:24:14

-Well, it would be if my feet were on solid ground, anyway.

-Whoa!

0:24:140:24:19

That is just...

0:24:190:24:20

Woo-hoo!

0:24:220:24:24

Wow. I feel like I'm in heaven, to be floating.

0:24:260:24:31

It's amazing!

0:24:330:24:35

It don't get much better than that. It was just so spectacular.

0:24:380:24:44

Wow.

0:24:470:24:49

Out of 100, that is 110, definitely.

0:24:490:24:53

I will always remember this. I'm never, ever going to forget it.

0:24:550:24:59

It's six down, one to go, but once again,

0:24:590:25:03

Sammie's getting herself into a state.

0:25:030:25:06

I'm really nervous. Since I saw Megan come up, I got butterflies.

0:25:060:25:11

Oh... Oh... Why am I doing this?

0:25:120:25:16

OK, I can do it.

0:25:160:25:18

-No, I can't, I can't, I can't.

-Don't worry.

-Oh, God.

0:25:200:25:25

It's Sammie's final chance to prove herself.

0:25:250:25:29

-Keep your legs straight.

-That's it!

-Now we're abseiling.

0:25:290:25:33

Look at that! Check it out.

0:25:330:25:35

Good!

0:25:370:25:39

After you get off the edge, oh, my God.

0:25:390:25:42

Can't even explain it.

0:25:420:25:44

This is surreal. This is like... not even real.

0:25:460:25:49

Oh, my God. It looks absolutely amazing.

0:25:490:25:52

Wow.

0:25:520:25:54

I was thinking I want to end this trip on a high.

0:26:030:26:07

It's once in a lifetime, so I might as well take it.

0:26:070:26:11

Well done, guys. Excellent.

0:26:140:26:16

It's been a fitting climax to an extraordinary expedition,

0:26:190:26:23

full of world firsts and unique experiences.

0:26:230:26:27

It has definitely been the most amazing, brilliant, outstanding

0:26:300:26:35

five weeks of my life.

0:26:350:26:37

There's been tough times - it hasn't always been easy,

0:26:370:26:41

but I've just loved every minute.

0:26:410:26:43

This experience is the best thing I've ever done in my whole life.

0:26:430:26:48

Seriously, I've never done anything so extreme or challenging.

0:26:480:26:53

It's taught me that when I put my mind to something, I can do it.

0:26:530:26:58

You learn so much, you see the environments,

0:26:580:27:02

and just realise how special this planet is.

0:27:020:27:06

It's just been mind-blowing.

0:27:060:27:08

So many dreams have come true.

0:27:080:27:11

If I hadn't found it so hard, it would have been so rewarding.

0:27:130:27:18

I have become a stronger person, I think,

0:27:180:27:20

and it's something I really want to do again.

0:27:200:27:22

It's been amazing, seeing the views and the environment around you.

0:27:260:27:30

And I've learned about how to make friends and not argue,

0:27:300:27:34

and matured a lot since the start of the expedition.

0:27:340:27:37

It's just immense.

0:27:370:27:40

You can't put a price on this. It's one of those things, it's priceless.

0:27:400:27:44

You'll never, ever do this again. I loved it.

0:27:440:27:49

Words can't describe how amazing it was,

0:27:490:27:52

to be setting world records

0:27:520:27:54

and being the youngest group to get places.

0:27:540:27:57

I've learned so much about myself, so much about nature.

0:27:570:28:01

It was by far the best thing I've done in my life.

0:28:010:28:04

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:040:28:06

E-mail [email protected]

0:28:060:28:08

The record-breaking expedition builds to an astonishing climax, as the Serious Explorers attempt to become the first team to trek up a treacherous gorge to reach the bottom of the spectacular Kaieteur Falls, the world's most powerful single-drop waterfall. They also get a unique - but terrifying - opportunity to abseil off the top of the falls.


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