MARAPANIM, Brazil – He fought tropical disease and deadly snakes, was held captive at one point and collapsed just short of his goal.
Still, Ed Stafford, 34, ended his 2 1/2-year journey Monday as he planned – leaping into the sea as the first man known to walk the length of the Amazon River.
Stafford had collapsed at the side of the road early Sunday, just 53 miles short of his destination. He was back on his feet after a few hours of rest, however, and looked like he had all the energy in the world as he ran into the Atlantic Ocean at Crispim beach Monday morning in northern Brazil.
It was not the quest of an eco-warrior, Stafford is quick to point out, though he hopes the feat will raise awareness of the Amazon and the complex forces that are leading to its destruction.
Rather, it was the personal challenge for a man who left the military to be a stockbroker, was bored by finance and ended up leading student expeditions in Belize, then supervising the building of a BBC base camp in Guyana.
“The crux of it is, if this wasn’t a selfish, boy’s-own adventure, I don’t think it would have worked,” he said before completing his quest.
“I am simply doing it because no one has done it before.”