Eight young explorers relive the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh. The epic expedition sets sail from Trinidad and Tobago to South America in the wake of the Elizabethan adventurer.
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Eight explorers are taking on the toughest challenge of their lives,
an extreme expedition in South America.
That is mad!
They're attempting a series of astonishing world firsts.
Oh, my god!
Going where no children have been before,
to get to some of the most awesome places on Earth.
We've reached the top!
The team are following in the footsteps
of the great Elizabethan, Sir Walter Raleigh,
the first Englishman to explore Guyana
as he searched for Eldorado, the Lost City of Gold.
Led by survival expert Ben Major
and record-breaking adventurer Polly Murray,
the epic journey will push the eight explorers to the limit and beyond.
Coming up. Nikita reaches dizzy new heights.
I'm at the top!
But life on the ocean quickly hits a low.
Oh, I feel so sick.
The eight Serious Explorers arrive at London's Gatwick airport
ready to begin their extraordinary adventure.
-I'm not crying!
-They'll be away from their families for five weeks.
Final wave goodbye.
The team have a ten-hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean
to Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean, from where,
just like Sir Walter Raleigh, they'll sail to South America.
Oh, my god! That is awesome.
Their ocean voyage will be on the 80-foot classic boat Scaramouche.
The explorers will be learning to sail it themselves.
-This is Martin, the skipper.
So, this is home for the next few days. What do you think?
I love it. It's like so old-fashioned but it's dead nice.
It looks really cool. I'm really excited.
I don't think we'll get seasick on here. We'll be too busy.
Scaramouche is an old wooden schooner,
and below deck, it's very basic with no cabins or beds.
So this is where you're going to be sleeping.
Yeah, on the floor. Good old roll mats, sleeping bags.
They're still at anchor in the bay, but there's an early warning of troubles ahead.
-I think someone's feeling sick already.
-Who's feeling sick?
-We've been downstairs for two minutes!
-That doesn't bode well.
-Are you all right?
-Yeah. Can I go upstairs?
-Yeah, no worries.
On that note, I will show you a very important place.
OK, we call it heads on a boat.
If you can try and make it, great. Otherwise, we've got buckets.
We don't want puke down here because everybody's sleeping bags, roll mats will get covered in it.
We haven't even set off yet, and I already feel horrific,
so I'll spend most of the time being sick over the side or in a bucket.
It's worrying when you're setting off on a voyage
and before you have the picked the anchor up, people are seasick!
The explorers will be following in the wake of
the great Elizabethan adventurer, Sir Walter Raleigh.
400 years ago,
he sailed to South America on a search for great riches.
He had heard tales of a legendary golden city called Eldorado.
Writing in his journal, "I have been assured by those who have seen Eldorado that for its riches,
"it far exceeded any of the world."
He was the first Westerner to explore
what is now Guyana and Venezuela,
and the young explorers will recreate key parts of his adventures.
Beginning with a four-day ocean crossing.
Three, two, one. Drop!
-That's one sail. We've got another four to go.
Other boats, you just push a button
and it does everything for you, but on here, you have to do everything.
You all right down there?
It's time to relive the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh.
There's a dolphin there! There's a dolphin!
They've a journey of nearly 200 miles to reach South America.
Today, they'll hug the coast of Tobago to anchor in King's Bay,
before heading out into the Atlantic for a three-day crossing to Guyana.
None of the explorers have sailed before,
and one of the most important tasks on board
is to steer or helm the boat.
It's really, really nice to handle.
It takes a few seconds to respond to what you do,
but it's just such a nice way to travel.
And it's also helping stop Josh feel too queasy.
Steering, you're concentrating on something,
so it takes your mind off being sick.
In contrast, Michael's seasickness has gone from bad to worse.
Oh, I feel so sick.
-You all right, mate?
-No. Look at the horizon, yeah?
Look at those rocks, the islands over there.
If you can focus on something, that will help.
But the advice comes too late.
And unfortunately, as Michael heaves his guts up,
it blows into the others.
I've sick on my hand! Urgh!
He's being sick in our faces!
He puked over the side of the boat,
and then cos of all the wind
it went in my mouth and on my hands and everywhere, it was disgusting.
I'm worried about Michael.
When you do get a big bout of seasickness,
there's nothing you can do. You feel absolutely useless.
But others are enjoying the ride, with the best seat in the boat.
It's a long way back to the driver.
I love it. It's just pure amazing.
It feels really cool and you can see everything underneath.
The ship looks gorgeous from this view as well.
-Are you all right?
-I'm all right.
By late afternoon, the team are steering into King's Bay, where they'll spend the night.
Good man. Need you to help Megan bring down the sail.
-It's been a hot day's work in the Caribbean sun.
That's brilliant. Brilliant.
And they are rewarded with a sunset dip in the bay.
OK, go for it, Regan.
No, it's not.
While Michael's still feeling rough,
he joins in, hoping it will make him feel better.
I'd do anything to cure my seasickness.
The worst feeling in the world, being sick.
On your own. Whoa!
But Sammie is remaining firmly on deck.
I'm trying to psych myself to do it but...
Can I say, it's very important we get you in that water today.
I need to see you swim.
Sammie's terror of swimming became clear during auditions boot camp.
-I'm nervous, really nervous.
She courageously overcame her phobia in a freezing lake.
Well done, Sammie. Brilliant.
But now, the fear has returned.
I will go in the water first.
If you're not happy jumping off the boat, that's absolutely fine.
We'll go down the ladder. OK? Come on. Let's walk down together.
Though far from comfortable,
she forces herself to take a dip in the bay.
Good girl. That's it. No need to swim any further.
-It's cause there's no bottom.
-You're fine. Absolutely fine.
Please can I go back?
'I think it is really essential that we got Sammie in the water.'
She's not very confident and I need to know that all eight of these guys
are good, strong swimmers.
-You've done that now. You are fine.
-I feel better that I've done it now.
I guess I won't have to do it again, if I don't want to.
Right, team, dinner is served.
Michael doesn't feel up to tucking in.
Today has been a horrific day for me.
All I've really done is been sick.
Hated every minute of it.
I haven't been able to enjoy it.
I just felt so rough.
I'm going straight to bed. I'm tired.
The team are looking forward to an early night.
It's very uncomfortable and there's loads of bags everywhere.
I've just been squashed into a corner.
But the hold is cramped and very hot.
We will get to sleep eventually, I think. You just get used to it.
While the explorers have to get through just four days on Scaramouche,
Sir Walter Raleigh's men spent around six weeks
in even more basic conditions,
as they crossed the entire Atlantic Ocean from Britain.
With around 70 men, crewing the Elizabethan galleon,
it was not unusual to lose several to disease
or even falling overboard.
That's it. Keep going.
Day Two, and the team are heading into open ocean for the first time.
As they sail out of the bay,
Polly takes them through a vital safety briefing.
What to do if someone falls into the sea.
"Man overboard!" And I mean shout.
But you will be amazed how quickly a person can disappear.
Unknown to the explorers,
Ben decides to give a demonstration of the dangers.
-Somebody keep an eye on him.
-Keep an eye and point.
As predicted, Ben is quickly disappearing into the distance.
Someone still pointing at him? Keep an eye on him.
Agonising seconds pass, as the boat turns back.
Watch yourselves, watch yourselves.
OK, good, he's got it. A couple of you, do you want to come with me?
-Right, heave, heave.
-Pull him in.
Pull him up.
You all right, mate?
You can see how difficult it is to get people back in the boat.
'It was really scary.'
You were worried for him and then you had to keep concentrating
so that you didn't leave him in the water too long.
'They've got to be aware of basically the severity.
'If someone goes over the side,
'you can die very, very quickly in these kind of waters.'
As they sail away from Tobago, the wind gets up
and the sea becomes increasingly choppy.
I've been sick again, same as normal. I just feel so rough.
This time it's not only Michael suffering.
The ocean waves are turning almost everyone's stomachs.
I feel like I'm going to puke.
Every time the boat goes up and down it makes me feel worse.
Oh, it's coming on board.
It's horrible because you lie down, you feel fine, you get up and then you're sick.
Lie back down, get up and you're sick, eat something, get up and you're sick.
You can't go five minutes without someone being sick.
Hang on, Megan, just keep your head over the side.
Hang on to the side.
With only Nikita left feeling OK,
Ben shows her how to use the compass to steer the boat.
-Look at the instruments, yeah?
-Just sitting at about 180.
She is just beginning to go over so bring her back a little bit.
This is quite stiff.
For the other seven explorers, the voyage has become sheer misery.
Everyone, bar one, has gone down with seasickness.
The boat just stinks of vomit. What can I say? We haven't got a crew.
Sometimes it does get quite lonely and a bit boring.
They are seasick. It's not their fault.
No one but Nikita has eaten all day
and by late afternoon, some of them try to brave a sandwich.
I'm not really feeling much better at the minute.
But maybe the sandwich will help.
It's terrible, isn't it?
I guess the cheese sandwich didn't go down that well.
My whole career plan for when I leave school,
going in the Navy, in the Marines, I don't want to do that any more.
I've been here for two days and just through hating this boat,
it's already changed my life.
-Josh, can you chuck me that bucket, please?
Down below, they face a grim night ahead.
Josh was sick in the toilet
and it seems to have overflowed.
You get really, really dizzy.
You get a really sore head very quickly down here.
So, um, not feeling great.
Fortunately, by early next morning,
the weather has changed completely and the sea is much calmer.
Have we got anybody alive down here? Michael, you with us?
So, are we feeling a little bit better this morning?
Yeah? Come on, guys.
Did you actually sleep like that with your sunglasses round your neck
and your head torch on your head?
At the minute, I'm feeling pretty good,
but knowing my luck, I'll be sick again.
Most have at last got their sea legs.
Who wants strawberry jam?
Their reward for feeling better is to get the boat ship-shape,
removing all traces of yesterday's seasickness.
OK, scrub, scrub, scrub.
It's an interesting technique, this sitting technique.
I'm not sure how effective it is.
They're even up for a bit of fishing.
Well caught, but I'm afraid we have to chuck this one back in.
Not for eating.
-There we go.
This is my favourite day because everyone else is not sick.
-We're all happy.
-Yeah, everyone's happy and talking.
This is the first day in the trip that I haven't been sick, yet.
You came up, "Bleurgh," get up, "Bleurgh."
I was asleep, I heard you go, "Are you all right, Josh?"
You went, "Yeah, bleurgh!"
He just, "Pfff", all over my face. Ugh!
Despite the high spirits, most can't wait to get off the boat.
Really crave some land, some solid, flat land.
I just want to get there, you know what I mean?
Never thought I'd hate the sea as much as I do.
The explorers are past the halfway point
in their 200-mile crossing to Guyana,
and from here, they'll be doing all the navigating for themselves.
In Elizabethan times, navigation was very hit and miss.
Using basic instruments like astrolabes,
they would take readings from the sun, and then try to plot
the boat's route on charts, which were often very inaccurate.
0, 9 degrees, 14.264.
Unlike Raleigh, the Serious Explorers have
an on-board GPS to help them navigate.
That's where we are now.
And they've got an accurate map to plot their position
as they sail towards South America.
Can you tell me off the map,
how far we reckon it is to where our destination is?
They've got to reach Guyana by tomorrow
for the expedition to stay on schedule, but there's a major snag -
the wind has almost completely dropped.
Problem is, we've now come to a standstill.
That's why you can hear all this slopping going on with sails overhead.
We are literally floating around, no wind, going nowhere.
At the moment, there's absolutely no way we're going to make it.
While they wait for the wind to get up again,
there's a chance to learn another vital skill -
climbing the rigging easing rope ladders, known as ratlines.
I want to get you guys to go up the ratlines.
The reason being is to actually use them as a method of looking out.
Raleigh's men had the precarious job of shinning up and down the ratlines
in all weather conditions.
High above the deck, they'd adjust the sails
and also take shifts in the crow's nest, so they could keep a lookout.
Nikita volunteers to go first.
She'll be clipped on at all times for safety.
Just come round, because you're safe now. Up, that's fantastic.
You can imagine in the olden days, they actually didn't have harnesses,
they would just go up in the wildest of seas.
The higher she goes, the more it sways.
Oh, it's scaring me, just watching her do it. Oh, she's so high up.
If she falls, that's going to hurt.
Nikita presses on, heading ever higher.
She doesn't get seasick, she's not scared of heights, can you find a more annoying person?
I'm at the top!
-That set the benchmark quite high.
Michael may have only just got over his seasickness,
but he's very competitive.
I just hope that it's not too swingy up there, in case I get sick.
-It's really swaying now.
He's determined to make it all the way up.
Whoa! That was close.
You're pretty good, but you swing around everywhere.
-This time, it's others who feel the effects more than Michael.
-Right, you've done one rung.
-I know, and I feel sick already.
Please can I come down?
-Feeling all right?
-I feel sick.
I'm not good with heights normally, let alone at sea.
And once again, Regan finds himself heaving over the side.
I'm proud of how far I got.
Not quite sure how far it was, but I'm proud that I did something.
The boat is still dead in the water, and the leaders decide
it's an ideal chance to get a first proper wash in days.
Straight in, you get salty, out, fresh water rinse, not a problem.
But in the open ocean, miles away from land,
it's Sammie's idea of a nightmare.
I'd rather smell. I'm not going in.
Hold your nose. Whoa, brilliant.
-Why don't you come in for a jump with Nikita, Megan and myself?
Yesterday, it was a bigger swim away from the ladder.
-Literally, you get in...
-Sorry. I wish I could, but... No.
OK, fair enough, and I respect that.
But, there are other moments in this expedition
that I'm going to be looking to you to be confident in the water,
and I haven't seen that confidence yet.
I know you don't like it and I know you don't want to,
but I know that you can do it.
Please don't make me, I really can't.
Sammie, I don't want to make you unhappy about it.
All I know is that Polly and myself will be with you
every step of the way.
OK, I'm not going to push you any more.
Just think about it for five minutes, OK?
Don't use too much, everyone's got to use that.
Oh, oh, oh!
After much thought, Sammie takes the brave decision
that she's going to try to get over her fear, once and for all.
Getting into the water in the middle of the ocean
is a terrifying challenge for her.
Well done, Sammie, brilliant. OK, that's it.
Just get used to the water.
She's really scared of the water.
She won't let go.
And although she stays by the boat in the ocean swell,
she proves herself to the leaders.
-You've done well. Sammie?
-I need to come out.
That's all we're going to do.
well done, just come on up.
Well done, Sammie.
You done it, you said you wouldn't, but you got in, you did it.
When I think back at it, I'm really glad I did it,
because I know I would have been beating myself up, saying,
"I should have done it." I'm really glad I did it now.
The wind is at last getting up, but it's going to be
a close run thing to get in on schedule tomorrow.
So the team will have to sail on right through the night,
and they're heading into busy shipping lanes.
They've got to concentrate driving, watching out for these big, big ships.
Really, really scary.
What we're asking them do is two hours on,
six hours off in a rotation system.
We've just got to be on it.
I'm not looking forward to the late night shift
because I've got a horrible one, bang in the middle of the might.
I've got to do one more two in the morning,
which - that should be a bit of a bummer.
To stop them falling over board in the dark,
they have to put on harnesses and clip on to ropes.
The two explorers on duty will always have an adult with them
for safety but there's still a lot of pressure.
You have to concentrate and there's no time to be tired,
so like you're kind of really alert
because you're in charge of the boat, which is carrying, like, 20 people.
So you have that responsibility.
While one explorer steers, the other keeps a look out.
There's a boat over there, it's quite a distance away though.
Meanwhile, the others desperately try to grab a few hours sleep between shifts.
Steering in the dark,
Michael uses the stars just as Raleigh would have done.
I'm following the star which is right ahead of me,
and if I keep dead in line with that,
instead of looking at the compass, I can use that and it's a lot easier.
The night seems never ending,
and it gets harder and harder to stay awake.
I just want to go to sleep.
Can't wait to get this shift over and in my bed.
In their exhaustion Chanel and Sammie are having trouble charting their progress on the map.
This is where we were at 7.30.
Quarter to ten, if we did go via the way we've done it,
then we'd literally be on land already.
It's a magical board that can fly above land!
I've definitely done it wrong.
It's 5.00am and Megan and Regan prepare to take the very last watch.
It soon becomes clear the explorers' marathon night sail has paid off.
We're only 15 miles away to getting on land.
When the sun rises over there, we get to see Guyana.
They've broken the back of the journey
and they're rewarded with the most stunning dawn of the entire trip.
That's so pretty.
I think it looks gorgeous.
We're about ten miles to reach land so we haven't got far.
And at last, after four heavy days of sailing,
the sight they've all been waiting for.
Can you see the sandy beach? This is our final destination.
This is where we're going to be making land fall on South America.
I can't wait to get my feet on to that dry land for the first time in four days.
I have never been so happy in my life.
It's been a challenging start to their five-week adventure,
following in the wake of Sir Walter Raleigh.
To start off with, I really disliked the boat, because I felt so ill,
but as the journey's gone on, I've started to enjoy being on the sea, like a real explorer.
It's quite an experience actually,
to like know this is how Raleigh came on a little boat like this
and just sailed there, not knowing where he was going.
Getting ashore after so long aboard has an unexpected effect.
Welcome to South America.
Oh, I feel like land sick!
I feel really wobbly from coming off the boat. Sitting there, going like that.
You when you've just got off a roundabout.
And you go like that and everything's still moving.
You will be rocking for days.
The area's uninhabited and they'll be staying overnight in a basic shelter on the beach.
This is what Raleigh would have experienced.
He would have knocked up something not dissimilar to that
but the first stage was hitting the South American coast,
and that's what we've just done.
I've wanted to come here nearly all my life. It's amazing.
So beautiful. A postcard picture, that's what it's like.
It's so mind blowingly cool.
What they don't know is that their epic expedition is about to get far tougher.
It's time to toast their achievements so far.
Thank you to Scaramouche for safely delivering us to the coast South America.
Next time on Serious Explorers, a massive mountain to climb.
It's all bad.
Learning to go - the green way.
I can't go.
And a nightmare for Chanel.
I'm like the elephant man at the moment.
Eight young explorers relive the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh. The epic expedition sets sail from Trinidad and Tobago to South America in the wake of the great Elizabethan adventurer. But the ocean swell takes its toll, and almost everyone suffers from terrible seasickness. A hazardous sail through the night gets the young explorers back on schedule to make landfall in Guyana.