Seven young explorers relive the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh. The explorers undertake a marathon five-day journey by dug-out canoe down a remote jungle river.
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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!
-Land to starboard!
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's all bad!
I hate you so much!
You having a laugh?!
It's too scary.
an unbelievable challenge - paddling 75 miles down a jungle river.
My bum absolutely kills. I just want to walk the rest of it.
And climbing high in the rainforest -
a rare encounter 100 feet up.
She's checking me out for dinner!
Previously, the explorers have spent a week in the rainforests of Guyana
-training in jungle survival skills.
Some, like Sammie, were spooked by the wildlife.
OK, take him back, take him back!
Unlike Regan, who's a total rainforest enthusiast.
Oh, it's a bumblebee poison dart frog!
Two-tonne dugout canoes proved tricky to steer.
The three-person canoe finally got the hang of it.
Just one stroke on the right.
But the four-person canoe struggled badly...
You're going straight into the bushes!
-Why are you there?
-I'm the director.
..leading to clashes between Nikita and the boys on the boat, Regan and Jake.
-Move that way!
-Where are you going? You need to work harder.
With the explorers' intense jungle training week finally completed,
it's time to discover what it's all been leading up to.
From here, we're going to be going by dugout canoe
down the Burro-Burro River for approximately 70 miles.
The epic journey has never been attempted by children before.
They've just five days to get to the end of the remote river.
-We've really, really got to pull together. What do you think about that?
-Yeah, I'm excited.
-Except for the jungle camp.
We're going to have some strong arms by the end of it, I'll say that.
When Sir Walter Raleigh came to Guyana 400 years ago,
he travelled whenever possible by rowing boat or dugout canoe
and he found it extremely tough.
"We began to despair, the weather being extreme hot.
"The further we went on the river, the weaker and weaker we grew."
The Serious Explorers have to take with them everything they'll need to survive for five days.
You should have four paddles in there.
They've a total journey of 75 miles
to where the Burro-Burro ends
at the Sipuruni River.
So each day they have to cover around 15 miles
to stay on schedule.
Let's get out of here.
Get that paddle.
It's going to be really tough.
Dugout canoes are not easy things to steer,
to paddle, to manoeuvre, they are just awkward.
I know it's going to be tough as, like properly hard, but I'm really looking forward to it.
Our boat will probably get stuck, it'll probably capsize.
A lot of things are going to happen. It's going to be very fun.
So, pretty cool.
-Oh, my God.
-Disaster strikes in the first five minutes.
-Straight for the bushes.
-Let's try and get this direction sorted, guys.
The four-person canoe crew are still failing to pull together as a team.
Oh, my God! That's just...aargh! You two paddle on this way.
-You two paddle that way, quick!
-It doesn't paddle as quick.
We went crashing into a bush,
because the people at the back are paddling the same way as us.
And that's the wrong way.
In contrast, the three-person canoe is in complete harmony.
With Michael steering at the back, they're getting further and further ahead.
Bushes ahead, guys!
But Nikita's boat is soon in even more trouble.
Are you joking?
Jake has dropped his paddle in the water.
We have to get it. We have to find it.
No, it's sunk!
The other team are so far ahead,
they've pulled into the side to wait.
-What was that?
Michael's paddle has also sunk to the bottom of the river.
-You've dropped another paddle?
Yeah. It slid off the boat.
You absolute muppets! How are you going to paddle downstream without a paddle?
We're going backwards and we're turning round!
It takes 20 minutes for Nikita's crew to catch up.
It's not been a promising start.
In short, sorry, not good enough, all right?
We have made half a mile in an hour.
All we've heard is you four bickering and shouting at one another.
At this rate, guys, we're still going to be paddling at midnight tonight. Get it sorted.
Each team is given a new paddle,
but, for the four-person canoe, things go from bad to worse.
-He's in a bush.
-Just let yourself drift backwards.
What are you doing? Don't push it in!
It doesn't work.
It doesn't work!
What are they doing? Are they trying to be awful?
Everything was OK. When people started moving, that's when we crashed.
She hits on any boy that's in her way!
No-one wants to be on the same team as her.
Every time I listen to them THINGS at the back - that pond life,
we end up going all weird ways.
Nikita actually is the best in the boat, she understands steering,
but she's getting frustrated with the lack of support
from everyone else in the boat.
Jake, just paddle, you don't need to do anything.
But, of course, we all know Nikita and her delivery of instructions can be taken the wrong way.
Oh for goodness sake! See, I told you!
Four hours in, the expedition stops for lunch.
Though it's nearly half an hour later before Nikita's canoe finally arrives.
Jake don't look too happy!
When you actually cut down the chitter-chatter, you actually do really well,
and so less gob, more effort might make more sense, huh?
-Can I just say something, please?
-I can just see you're waiting.
-The thing what gets me annoyed is he states the obvious.
-What do you mean he?
Who is that?
-Is that Jake?
Seriously, he states the obvious. Me and Simon said, "We need to go faster a minute,"
and he's, "We need to go faster! Keep going!" Really(?)
That's because you two were slowing down.
The first two hours, me and Sammie were doing everything.
Nikita, I can assure you that
for the first two hours, you weren't doing all the work.
-Not a chance.
Jake and Nikita just can't seem to get on together.
She needs to communicate a lot more,
I cannot see from the back of the boat. She can, she's at the front.
And try not to be so cocky and try not to be so cheeky as much.
If I get annoyed, I just cannot control myself,
I just go in a big mood swing.
But today he's annoyed me so much and I don't have clue why.
After Ben's chat, both are on best behaviour through the afternoon.
Obviously not, thicko!
Most of the time at least!
The right is that way, and we need to keep away from it.
Looking better, keep it up. Well done, guys!
And after seven hours of paddling, they cover the day's 15 miles.
-Wahey! We have arrived.
-We've done it!
They're just one day into the five day marathon,
and it's already starting to take its toll.
My shoulders hurt by the time I got off.
But it's your bum that hurts,
because its so uncomfortable sitting on those wooden blocks.
All my blisters are coming off my hands and that really hurts.
I've got blisters along the top of my hand.
It's OK, it's just keeping it up.
And their day is far from over.
The tired team now have to set up an entire jungle camp from scratch.
From putting up hammocks, to digging a poo pit.
-Can you dig this bit, cos I can't do it.
-Well, how did you do that?
-Yeah, I did try!
The team feel that Sammie's not pulling her weight.
'I'm just a bit lazy tonight.
'I'm a bit lazy every night, but I'm a bit extra lazy tonight.'
I can't be bothered.
You've got so much potential,
but you just allow other people to do stuff for you.
You've got to start thinking for yourself.
We just want to get you thinking, "I'm Sammie and I'm a go-getter!"
-You know what I mean?
-Fair enough, because it's true.
I get like...
lazy, like you said. And I don't bother.
But I am going to try not doing that.
Cos I know it's unfair on the rest of the group and that.
As they prepare for bed,
Megan is latest to fall victim to the blood-sucking ticks.
That is huge, like a spider!
-I wanted everyone to see it!
-That is big!
Well, can you please get it off me?
I don't want everyone having a look at my tick!
It's started spreading its legs out and made itself comfy!
Expedition doctor Fi hopes to remove it with tweezers.
Might just be able to pull it. Let's hope so anyway.
Oh, let go! That's not fair!
Let go! Ohh...
-Make sure that's dead and killed.
-That is well and truly dead.
Jake has a different problem.
I've got a bit of a headache from today.
From Nikita's voice going through me!
We were all just arguing all day.
But towards the end it was fine,
but just like the start and through the middle
it was just "Nyah, nyah, nyah!"
15 miles to go. Up for it?
Yeah? All good? Let's get paddling!
Day two, and they've got it all to do again.
But the four person canoe team are soon back to their old tricks.
Hello?! Go to the left!
Just a little, just a little!
Paddle! You have to paddle now.
And they quickly fall well behind.
THEY SING "THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT"
Josh, Megan and Michael are powering ahead as usual,
but for once, being in front proves a major disadvantage.
They plough into a wasps' nest in some overhanging branches.
Get them off my head!
-Ah! Oh, my head!
I've been stung about 30 times on my head.
Three times on the arm and it kind of hurts!
There's one in my head there.
Expedition doctor, Henry, checks them out.
-Nobody's allergic to wasp stings or bee stings?
Luckily, they're not the worst kind of jungle wasp.
The stings have not swollen up hugely and everybody's in good spirits
and not showing any signs of great sensitivity to it.
So we've just given them something to treat the pain and the sting.
One, two, three, four, five...
Six, seven on your back. Two on your back.
Seven, and I've got two on my tummy. So it's about nine times.
My head kills!
As the rain starts to bucket down,
the four person canoe is now badly stuck on a submerged log.
We have to move it towards you.
Get somebody in charge and then on the count of three, push it out.
Three, two, one!
It'll never go forward. I go forward.
Sammie, are you OK?
They're soaked through and starting to get dangerously cold.
The more exercise you do, your bodies will warm up a little bit.
So you need to be paddling,
you need to get out of this rain sooner rather than later.
Get paddling. It's going to warm you up.
We have been awful, awful, awful, throughout today.
We tried new positions and we went faster -
faster into the tree trunks, that is!
At the next break, Ben decides enough is enough.
Morale has gone zzzzt.
I've never seen Jake look so down.
Nikita's just silent - which says a lot in itself.
Sammie - broken.
And Regan pretty much broken.
Any they're now freezing cold as well.
We have to take some drastic measures.
-We've got to make the distance.
-We've got nine more miles.
Therefore, Michael, you're going into their boat, OK?
Regan, you're going into the other boat, OK?
I'm not happy about going into the other boat, morale's not very good.
But if we can help everyone out, I'm happy to do that.
I think it'll help a lot and I'll shout quite a lot.
But I don't really mean to, so I'm going to try not to.
With top steerer Michael aboard,
the four person canoe undergoes an amazing transformation.
-Paddle, paddle, paddle!
But the three person canoe then takes over as the lame duck.
It's Michael, he must be the best at steering ever!
But I'm sure we'll get better.
I hope so, anyway.
Everything just went well since Michael came on the boat.
I'm paddling properly now and we're in front for once.
So I just think the whole mood's changed.
You have the biggest spider on your head!
Get it off me! Get it off me! SHE SCREAMS
Suddenly they spot something in the trees.
-Right at the top, you see it?
-Red howler monkeys, yeah?
-Oh, that is so cool! Oh!
-I want it!
The beautiful orangey-brown howler monkeys are only found
in the jungles of Latin America.
They're named after their howling call.
Oh it's got a baby on its back!
They were at the very top of the trees
and it was just so cool to see them swinging about and stuff.
There were three adults, and one baby on one of them's back.
They were sat on that tree and hopped along the trees.
That's amazingly cool!
In the end, they almost hit their target for the day,
covering 14 miles in eight hours.
Pretty fed up this morning,
pretty hacked off with certain people like Nikita and...
Just gobbing off and not shutting up all the time.
But then it got really good,
cos Michael changed, and he improved it really well.
I think he's an amazing motivator,
because he just gets you to do things
and if you slack off he is like, "You need to do it now!" OK!
It made a difference and we actually got somewhere.
Michael is capable, but also a little bit of a leader
and they tend to look up to Michael.
I said to them, just start fresh, and I think they listened
and they tried hard not to get annoyed with me as well.
So I think we worked really well together as a team
to get here without having too many crashes.
It's day 23 of the 35-day expedition,
and some of the team are getting a bit homesick.
I miss my sister so much. Like, oh my gosh.
I really want to get home and see my friends, family,
but I also want to be out here just every day doing something different.
It's a weird situation.
Polly has a surprise announcement.
We are now three and a bit weeks into the expedition.
We've actually been sent some messages from home.
Why would you do that to me?
The news meets with a mixed reaction.
When you're missing someone, seeing them again makes you miss them more.
# In the jungle, the mighty jungle! #
Each has a video message from friends and family.
It's brilliant you're on Serious Explorers, but you can't do this.
-Is that your little sister? Wow!
Hey Sammie, I'm enjoying playing Wii by myself with the two remotes.
You're in the jungle - enjoy the snakes!
I can't wait till you come back.
Love you and I hope you're having a brilliant time. Bye.
-They're all in my clothes!
-See you later! Love you!
Oh, that's my horse!
Boys are doing what they do best - eating!
That's my farm.
Hope you're enjoying yourself, not in too much trouble.
Who is that?
-Oh, my uncle and my auntie.
-Oh go away! That's my teacher!
Don't you want to come home now? Look at it - it's beautiful.
That's outside my grandma's house.
How much are you missing Regan?
I want one paw for a little bit, two paws for a lot.
Where is that paw? Where's the other one?
Oh yes, the little dog is missing you a lot.
Unfortunately we had to bribe with...
The explorers have now paddled 29 miles,
but with just three days left,
they've still got 46 to go.
The new canoe teams are still working well together
and spirits are high.
# All the monkeys in the jungle! All the monkeys in the jungle! #
Nikita's paddling hard, though her style is a little unusual.
I don't care if she does a handstand and does it,
as long as she goes fast, that is all I'm really bothered about.
This is amazing, we're doing four miles an hour, which is phenomenal.
I don't think they can continue this pace,
so things will slow down,
but it's a fantastic start. Can't ask for anything more.
Unfortunately, Michael has a small problem.
I really, really need a wee.
Rather than hold up the team by pulling in,
he tries to go from the boat.
Michael, have you not been yet?
No, I haven't even started.
I can't even go!
They're eating up the miles,
but paddling for day after day, their bodies are close to the limit.
It's been very tiring so far.
But we're going at a really good pace.
To be honest, I can't wait to get it over with.
I just want to get out the boats and start a new thing.
My bum absolutely kills, I just want to walk the rest of it.
As they approach the end of day four, they clock up
a total of 64 miles, leaving just 11 to go tomorrow.
But one of the explorers won't be with them
for the final stage of the journey.
Instead they'll be going on a unique trip to observe a harpy eagle,
becoming one of the few people ever
to see the world's most powerful eagle in the wild.
We have an amazing treat lined up for one of you.
And that person is going to be...
And the reason being is that you're the all-round star
that just gets on with things, doesn't complain.
So the treat that we've got for you
starts off with a helicopter ride out of the jungle...
And this particular bird is about eight months old.
So it's now standing about a metre tall.
Chick! It's a chick, yeah?
It's going to be amazing, I'm really looking forward to it now.
I'm sorry all these lot have got to paddle down the river though!
It's the final morning on the Burro-Burro River
and Nikita is in charge of breaking camp.
Where are you going? Help me with all these barrels.
The team work hard under her command.
-Get all the rubbish off the floor
and put it into that black bin bag.
A lot of them have a few issues with her
and they would be within their rights to refuse to work for her.
But actually they've buckled round and worked really hard for her,
-which has been brilliant.
-She did a really, really good job
and I actually think she quite likes taking command.
Right, guys, let's get out of here.
Bye Megan, have fun.
The canoeists have half a day's hard paddle to complete 11 miles.
While Megan heads to a clearing to wait for the helicopter.
It's full of pale sulphur butterflies taking in moisture
from the riverbank.
But there's another, more deadly creature lurking nearby.
I just spotted a 30-foot anaconda!
It's a little bit scary, because that's a whole lot bigger than me!
If it wanted, it could just, like, eat me for dinner.
Anacondas are the world's largest, heaviest snake.
There are tales of them eating humans,
but in reality they're very shy.
The local guides head closer.
They're trying to catch it!
But it's off like a shot.
It's coming! I'm really excited!
I'm going in a helicopter! It's my first time ever!
Megan gets a birds-eye view of the unspoilt rainforest.
They look like little broccoli trees, it's really funny.
Back on the river, they're slowly closing in on their epic goal,
but they're having to dig deep.
For the past mile, we've been doing four miles an hour.
And we've got seven miles to go.
I was hoping it was a lot less than that.
My shoulders are starting to burn a little bit.
Suddenly, an unwelcome passenger climbs aboard one of the canoes.
There's a tarantula there and..
I don't want to sit on my seat just in case it, like, jumps.
That is tiny.
But it's disgusting!
Come on, something that big, what you're 20 million times bigger than?
You're scared of it?
Regan comes to the rescue.
I didn't kill it, it swims.
You can see it, it's back there on the water.
At the harpy eagle nesting site, Megan is in luck.
The chick hasn't flown far away from the nest.
It's really exciting, because I'm finally getting the harness on
to go up and see the big birdie!
It's a little bit frightening,
because apparently I'm not far off prey size!
She needs to climb 30 metres up into the rainforest canopy.
Wow, you're cruising!
I'm just hanging in the air!
I feel like I can fly!
I'm coming to get you, birdie!
This is really fun.
Oh my God, look down there!
Well done, Megan.
And she fearlessly makes it all the way up.
Very good. Stay there.
Before long, the chick will be preying on animals
as big as howler monkeys.
Cor, look at her feet!
Her claws are like that long!
The huge chick seems equally intrigued by Megan.
She's looking at me now!
She's checking me out for dinner!
She's a really little baby.
The adult must be absolutely huge.
It's a magical and extremely rare encounter.
That was absolutely amazing.
I crossed my fingers last night that it would be here this morning.
And he stayed there and I got to see him.
On the river, the end is almost in sight,
and they're making one final superhuman push.
I'm enjoying it a lot. It is hard though.
Because obviously something like this, you've got to work to get.
And that's what we're doing.
Over five days, they've paddled a phenomenal 75 miles.
And at last they approach the end of the Burro-Burro river,
where it joins the larger Sipuruni.
What can we see?
We have completed the Burro-Burro, yeah?
Another record-breaking achievement for the young explorers.
Ecstatic at the minute.
So glad we've done it, completed our mission of getting here.
That's a long, long way in anyone's book,
let alone in one of these things.
So really, really amazing effort on all their parts.
There have been low parts during it and we have thought,
"Why are we here in the pouring rain?"
But this is just worth it, it's just incredible.
Next time on Serious Explorers:
the expedition reaches an awe-inspiring climax,
trekking to the bottom of an immense waterfall.
Can't get much better than this, really!
And abseiling off the top.
That is the best view in the whole world!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
The explorers undertake a marathon five-day journey by dug-out canoe, attempting to be the first children to paddle 75 miles down a remote jungle river. The demanding challenge leads to much bickering and argument, but the team also have some amazing animal encounters, spotting howler monkeys, tarantulas and a massive anaconda, the world's largest snake.
One of the team earns a remarkable treat, climbing 100 feet up into the rainforest canopy for a rare encounter with a harpy eagle chick.