Seven young explorers relive the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh. The explorers head into Guyana's spectacular virgin rainforest for a week of intense jungle training.
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Seven young 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 El Dorado,
the lost city of gold.
Led by survival expert Ben Major
and record-breaking adventurer Polly Murray,
the epic journey will push the seven explorers
to the limit and beyond.
-It hurts so bad.
-I hate you so much!
-Is he having a laugh?
-It's just too scary.
Close encounters of the creature kind.
-He is beautiful.
-No, he's not.
-I'm getting out!
-And a major bust-up in jungle camp.
No, Nikita does not have your head torch!
Previously, three of the team claimed a world record
as the youngest to reach the furthest point on Mount Roraima.
I'm really proud of myself, it's really exciting.
But as they made their way back up the mountain, Nikita bickered constantly with Jake.
She's been lagging behind, moaning.
He's doing my head in.
Meanwhile, the other four explorers were experiencing life as cowboys on a ranch.
Slaughtering a cow for supper left Megan upset.
Shall we take you away for a bit?
But Regan was in his element.
I'm enjoying this a bit too much, I think.
And after six days apart, the two teams were once again reunited.
The explorers are moving onto a tough environment.
For the next two weeks they'll head deeper and deeper into the rainforest of Guyana.
Sitting to the north of the mighty Amazon in South America,
Guyana's rainforest is even more spectacular, with stunning valleys
and waterfalls, and an enormous variety of creatures.
They've just an hour's trek into the jungle,
It doesn't take long to notice the heat.
It's really humid. I'm sweating.
As soon as you walk in it's like a little clicker that says,
"Turn on your sweat".
It's not the heat that's troubling Michael.
Every animal that can kill you lives in the jungle.
It's a prison for bad animals.
But it's a dream come true for Regan,
who's been obsessed with rainforests for years.
In his jungle-themed bedroom back home he keeps a variety of tropical creatures as pets.
I've been waiting for this more than half my life.
There's nothing that can beat it for me,
this is my number one experience.
The Serious Expedition is exploring in the spirit of adventurer
Sir Walter Raleigh, who came to South America 400 years ago
to try to find El Dorado, a fabled city full of gold.
His search led him deep into unspoilt rainforest.
'I never saw a more beautiful country,
'hills over the valleys,
'the river winding and every stone promising gold.'
Today, Guyana is still largely undiscovered.
Though bigger than England, only 75,000 people are scattered
across the entire rainforest,
leaving most of it uninhabited and untouched.
-Check it out.
The adventurers have a short journey up the remote Burro-Burro River
to reach their camp.
This will be our new home up here.
Carahara Camp will be the Explorers' base for a week as they undergo intense jungle training.
What a camp.
-What do you reckon, guys?
-It's really nice.
Leaders Ben and Polly first show the team their bedroom.
-This is luxury.
-I like this.
I think the camp's quite cool, I thought we'd be sleeping in the trees but this is a lot better.
-A lot more beasties.
-They'll bed down on the floor on roll mats,
using mosquito nets for protection.
This thatch... Spiders, tarantulas love it up there.
You've got scorpions, snakes up there as well.
All living in the thatch.
Make sure when you get into bed,
your roll mat is down tight and your mosquito net
is right under your roll mat as well so nothing can get in, OK?
Otherwise you'll have sleepless nights. OK?
-I'll have sleepless nights anyway.
-Same, I'll be too scared to sleep.
My worst nightmare, sleeping in there, but as long as I get
my mosquito net tucked under it should be OK.
Next it's off to see the camp toilet,
which is actually little more than a smelly hole in the ground.
Very simple - open the hatch. Do your biz. A long drop.
Put your top back on properly, that's it.
Like their bedroom, it's also a haven for wildlife.
At night time, when we come for a pee,
you'll have your head torches on.
Just do a quick scan first in case there's someone sitting there.
Not someone, but something.
There might be someone sitting there as well.
Also, look up here cos these are perfect spots
for snakes to hang out.
I'm worried about insects, bugs, snakes and spiders.
I'm not scared of them but I'll be cautious when I come to the toilet.
They'll be washing in the river, yet another place full of hazards.
Rule number one, OK? No peeing in the water.
And the reason being is there is a fish, called a candiru,
and if you pee that fish will swim up your...pee
and actually go inside.
And it has little barbs and it locks in on the inside,
so please do not wee in the water.
-Before it gets dark, shall we get in?
-Yeah, Megan, dive in.
-Do you want to come in?
But Michael and Josh decide to pay a visit first.
Erm, we just got told about these animals
that if you go for a...a wee in the water they fly up your...
-What is that called?
-Er, I forget now.
-The genital weeing bit.
So there's no way we're peeing in that water.
So I'm...emptying my bladder.
Splashing around in the river by day is relatively safe
but after dark it becomes a no-go area,
as creatures like crocs and snakes become very active.
Go on. Watch him.
Oh, it's quite nice.
After a hot, sweaty day, it's important to get clean.
But Nikita doesn't want to get in at all.
-I've got to wait for you.
-You get in before me and I'll go in.
-No, we'll go in at the same time. Compromise.
-If he splashes, I'm not going in!
-Polly, can you help me?
Polly gives her a playful splash to encourage her.
I'm getting out. I'm getting out!
She storms off and refuses to come back down.
-Will you take my apologies?
-I was just helping you a bit, but obviously you didn't take it...
-It doesn't help.
But I'm not going to make you go in tonight, cos it's getting dark.
Anyway, shake and make?
"I'm not doing it, I'm getting out!"
At the opposite side of the hut,
the boys joke about Nikita's various outbursts on the trip.
"Just back up!" Hi, Nikita!
We were climbing down the mountain, the waterfall,
I said, "Come on, Nikita," encouraged her. She just went, "I caaaan't!"
If he says one more thing about me,
I'm going to go over and smash his face in. He's talking about me now.
We were walking back and she went, "Oh, I'm tired."
"Come on, keep going."
"I'm going as fast as I caaaan!"
Nikita and Jake, the two youngest explorers at just 12,
have clashed repeatedly on the expedition
and leader Polly tries to defuse the situation.
He'll start saying really stupid stuff, and I'll just flip.
-So you're getting very cross.
-I'm going to knock him out.
Well, don't do that.
Before we get to fisticuffs, we need to get it sorted. Yeah?
So we need to chat to him about it. OK?
But before Polly can talk to Jake,
he fuels the fire by accusing Nikita of taking his torch.
-She's got my head torch.
-Who's got your head torch?
-No, I don't!
All your mates are saying you have. SHE SIGHS HEAVILY
-That's what I'm talking about.
-She's got my head torch.
No, Nikita does not have your head torch!
Nikita, come here.
Knowing how dangerous the riverbank is at night,
Sammy goes to get Nikita.
-He's being a muppet.
-It's a head torch, Nikita!
Do you know what it's been like with him for the last few days,
by myself with him?!
-Yeah, I understand.
-I hate him so much.
I don't like some people here too, but you just have to, like,
get on with it and not even bother with him. So come back up, please.
I'll come back up in ten minutes.
-No, I'll come back up in ten minutes!
Nikita, you can sit on your own up there, where you're safe.
Cos down here is not safe, so come on.
Leave her alone.
-She wants to sulk, let her sulk.
-That was so funny!
Let's not make it worse, OK? Cos she can hear you all...kind of laughing.
That's just going to make it worse. So let's be kind, OK?
He's being so annoying on purpose.
He knows he's doing it and then he apologises
and thinks everything's all right, but it's not.
I'm getting sick of him.
We need to just be a little bit more...
-But it's annoying.
-But you're winding her up.
-About a head torch.
-They wind each other up.
I know you do, I know, but we need to...nip this in the bud. OK?
So just, whatever comes out of your mouth,
-think about what you're going to say first. OK?
Over dinner, the atmosphere is still tense,
but there's a surprise in store.
They've been away from their families for two weeks,
and Polly has a special delivery from home.
Ta-da! Seven parcels for you guys.
One for each of you.
Nikita. That's for you.
-One for you.
We've got some hot chocolate!
Guys, I've got a picture of my cow!
Look. Look at Jo.
That is a great picture.
The cards and treats are a real boost for Nikita.
Well, Mum sent me lots of treats and photos with messages on the back.
I really like it. And there's a photo of my bed.
I didn't think I was missing home a lot until all this has come.
For Sammie, the letters from home trigger deep emotions.
You all right, Sammie?
It's nice to hear from Mum and stuff,
and to hear what they've been doing
and know that they'll have spent the time to put it all together.
I'm really missing them now.
It's made me want to enjoy it more
because I know that they're all supporting me back home.
I can't wait...for the rest of this trip. I can't wait to see them again.
Goodnight. Love everybody at home.
Guys, just come over here for two seconds.
Before bed, there's a stark reminder
of Ben's warning about wildlife in camp.
It's a tarantula. Come and have a look at it.
Just to show you guys...
-How far do they come down?
That's why, in the mornings, we've got to check our boots.
Before you go to sleep, you need to check your sleep area.
-These guys go everywhere.
-Well, that's brilliant.
Regan couldn't be happier.
I love it here. Different animals jumping out at you every second.
You never know what to expect.
Already seen a lizard, tarantula...
Brilliant! And I haven't even been here a day yet.
As they bed down under their mosquito nets
for their first night in the jungle,
there's only one thing on Michael's mind.
If I was here now as a massive spider...going... Aaagh!
I wouldn't know whether to kill it or run away.
When Raleigh came to Guyana, he was guided by local tribespeople,
relying on their experience
of living in the hostile environment of the rainforest.
Everything the local people needed they got from the jungle,
often killing animals with nothing more than a bow and arrow.
Next morning sees the start
of the explorers' crash course in jungle training.
Like Raleigh, they'll learn many jungle skills from local guides.
-Come and say hi to Lionel and Milner.
-Nice having you in Guyana.
Lionel and Milner are from the Makushi tribe.
What they don't know about the forest is not worth knowing.
They know what all the plants are, where all the wildlife is,
they know all the medicinal uses. They live off the land.
Hunting with a bow and arrow is central to the Makushi's survival.
It's a quick move.
Oh, my goodness! Oh!
-And that's how it is.
-You've done that before!
That's your kind of rail that you guide the arrow with.
The explorers find it's far harder than Lionel makes it look.
That was terrible!
Release! OK, but you lost the guide finger.
I really want to hit the target. It hasn't been hit yet.
-I'm so competitive.
-This is the most competitive man I know!
That was a ricochet off the deck.
-Unfortunately, I haven't got one yet. Yet!
-He's just rubbish!
It's bad, but I hope none of them do it...
First clean hit!
But have the explorers got what it takes to catch their own supper?
The next challenge tests if they can spot an animal on the move.
There are four animal targets hidden in the undergrowth.
Oh, my God!
-That's quite scary.
-I'm never going to do it!
BEN: Jungle turkey.
Getting the speed and accuracy needed proves tricky...
-..especially for Sammie.
I got a bit ahead of myself and...
BEN: The deer lives for another day!
Oh, what are you doing?! THEY LAUGH
WHISTLE TWEETS Moving fast.
Your tendency is to run towards the animals.
Are you beating it to death?
Yeah! We're eating good tonight!
Make it a goodie, make it a goodie!
Sammie, I think we'll leave it there.
-Ready to go?
'With most explorers struggling, it's now a two-horse race
'between the highly competitive Michael...'
Just tickled it.
Oh! That was fantastic!
I couldn't see what I was aiming at!
-Does that count?
-Between the legs? I'm not sure.
One arrow, make it count.
Hit his backside.
-Ooh! Brilliant. Right in the head.
-I missed that first one.
-But you just killed the labba?
That's a winner, you've taken his eye out.
Has he done enough to win?
OK, four out of the seven -
Zero out of four.
Sammie, Josh, Jake and Nikita...
-I got four!
-You didn't hit a thing.
-Regan, you were in third with one out of four.
Both Megan and Michael scored two.
So, who's the winner?
Michael, you are the winner, well done.
-'He edges it by hitting more difficult targets.'
How does that feel to the most competitive man in the jungle today?
may have more trouble with lesson two
of the jungle crash course -
learning about the dangerous creatures
they might meet in Guyana's rainforest.
-Stamp on him.
The sting in the scorpion's tail is very nasty
and they love small, dark places.
BEN: Check your boots thoroughly in the morning.
What'd happen if you got bitten by that?
It would hurt.
Next up is a huge tarantula.
Look at the size of that baby!
And you know they jump four feet, don't you?
I don't want it crawling up my back!
Regan can't get enough of it.
Just to think these are all around us.
Nikita's also a fan.
I don't know why, but I think it's quite pretty.
The next spider is much smaller and very fast.
-No, get that away from me!
-He is beautiful.
No, he's not!
While wolf spiders and tarantulas can't kill humans,
their bite is very painful.
Really nasty bite.
Yeah, I don't think you'd want this running around near you.
-You wouldn't want to be bitten by it.
And there's an even smaller creature well worth avoiding too.
This is a bullet ant. If bitten, your hand would swell
to the size of a baseball glove.
-Have you been bitten?
Four of them on my leg...
get into my palms and...
-Oh, my goodness!
The next tiny creature can be fatal to humans.
-Oh, what on Earth?
-Oh, it's a bumblebee poison dart frog.
The poison dart frog is so-named
as tribespeople smear its deadly poison on their arrows.
That's pretty much fully-grown.
It's a chance for Regan to show off his great knowledge.
-Regan, go for it.
-In captivity, they're not poisonous.
Out here, their diets of insects gives them the poison.
The largest they grow is about 2cm.
It's not deadly to humans
unless you've got an open, bleeding cut on your hand.
Then you've an issue. Let's bring him across.
The final animal isn't venomous, but is still lively.
I think it's a rainbow boa.
Rainbow boa, a feisty, feisty snake.
This one's struck four or five times and nicked Lionel in the process.
Sammie has a real problem with snakes.
It's not right. It should have legs.
I don't get how it moves,
it's just wrong.
What are you doing? It's dirty!
It's like holding a dog's tail.
OK, take him back! Argh!
I was always really careful where I sat down with him,
but I'm glad I know what is in the jungle
and what I need to be aware of.
Back in Elizabethan times, Raleigh would often be taken round by canoe
as local tribespeople helped him search
for the lost city of gold.
In a jungle, the river is like the main road.
And the serious explorers are building up to their own
marathon canoe journey in less than a week's time.
Jungle training lesson three is learning to paddle dugout canoes.
You're steering, Regan.
The two-ton boats are each carved from a single tree.
They're really tricky to control
and it literally becomes a crash course.
-Oh, no! Disaster strikes!
It's great fun, but at the moment we've gone two miles
across the river, rather than two miles down it.
We've only gone 200 metres!
Working together is the key and the team of three -
Josh, Megan and Michael finally start to get the hang of it.
On the right a bit, Megan. Just one stroke on the right.
But in the other boat, Jake and Nikita
are again squabbling furiously.
If everyone else is telling you left...
-Why are you there, then?
-I'm the director.
Come on, Nikita. You're going straight into the bushes.
Pop Regan at the front.
We need to get that boat going in a straight line.
Jake, you're just steering.
-Move that way!
You paddle right, I'll steer left.
Regan, you need to work harder.
'No-one's really working well together at the moment,'
We need to get this properly working
otherwise we're going to be terrible on our journey.
Right, OK, guys. Start rocking the boat, rocking the boat!
Ben has an important exercise to end the day's canoe training.
It's a capsize drill.
Really rock it, go on. And again.
When the explorers undertake their canoe journey,
it's vital they know what to do if their boat capsizes.
And you're sinking!
They must stay with the boat and work as a team to roll it over.
Maintain control of the boat.
Get control of the boat, Nikita.
Go on to the far side, roll it back up.
Regan, don't get in front of the boat as it hits that log.
Nikita and Sammie have made a dangerous mistake,
allowing themselves to get downstream of the heavy canoe.
It's drifting and trapping them against Ben and Polly's boat.
-Her leg's trapped underneath!
Sammie has to be pulled out of the water.
Regan, don't worry about the paddle.
Meanwhile, Regan also makes a mistake -
leaving the boat to try to save one of the paddles that's floated off.
Can you help me? I'm struggling a little bit.
Regan, swim towards us, not the other bank.
I can't, I'm... running out of breath!
He's struggling and also has to be rescued.
OK, don't worry.
You all right, Pol?
With everyone safe, Ben calls the teams together.
The key thing is people got trapped on the downstream side
of a two-ton floating weight going down river.
Regan realised the water's strong
and got swept into all the underwater debris over there.
It was a very valuable lesson to show you how powerful water is,
without looking at it, and you think, "This is flat calm.
"There're no dangers in here." Well, there are.
The record-breaking canoe journey
will take them 75 miles down river, camping rough as they go.
And the next training exercise comes as a bit of a bombshell.
The last few days
you've gained a better understanding for what the rainforest is like?
So tomorrow, you're going for a night out.
All right, so you will be experiencing it
at its best and at its rawest, OK?
I just hope I'm wrapped in tight.
Make as much noise as you can, scare everything away from you.
Back in camp, the Makushi tribe
have laid on a traditional ceremony to protect the explorers
while in the rainforest.
When we come into the forest we believe
there is a connection, a spiritual being.
Therefore, before you leave for the forest, you have a blessing.
It's carried out by the tribe's medicine man, known as a shaman.
The spirit from the forest and your spirit will now be one.
Enjoy your stay with all living beings in the forest here.
The celebration carries on into the evening,
with traditional food and dance.
It's so different to what I'm used to. It's hard to take it all in.
It's just brilliant, that's all I can describe it as.
It's really funny dancing with tribespeople around the fire.
Aw, I've got to go!
The Makushi ceremony works its magic, leaving the explorers
much more confident about heading into the forest.
I loved it, I thought it was amazing.
It's given me peace of mind knowing that there's a bigger spirit
or a bigger thing that's looking out for you.
I'm ready to face the jungle, cos we know there'll be
really bad creepy crawlies and snakes and everything,
and we've been blessed so hopefully, we've luck on our side now.
Next time on Serious Explorers...
Oh, you're joking!
Bugs and beasties on the lunch menu...
..and Megan gets that sinking feeling.
It's coming over the sides!
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The explorers head into Guyana's spectacular virgin rainforest for a week of intense jungle training, from paddling dug-out canoes to using bows and arrows. Several of the team are spooked by spiders and snakes, and in the hot, humid environment the adventurers have their first major bust-up.