Big tanker traffic is increasing on the Amazon River. Marcin exposed in his canoe.
courtesy Marcin Gienieczko, SOURCE
The canoe seat broke when a big wave hit the canoe.
courtesy Marcin Gienieczko, SOURCE
Approaching the town of Itacoatiara in the dark he did not notice the powerful rope mooring a tanker.
courtesy Marcin Gienieczko, SOURCE
Crossing the Amazon River sometimes becomes a miracle, Marcin Gienieczko writes in his blog.
courtesy Marcin Gienieczko, SOURCE
Amazon canoe update: close encounters with tanker and big waves

Posted: Aug 17, 2015 09:19 am EDT


(Correne Coetzer) Marcin Gienieczko has covered 5544km of his planned 7000km across South America, according to his tracker today. On August 12th he reached Santarem on the Amazon River where he spent a few days doing some repairs. Latest report from 140km beyond this town is that he is grounded by very strong easterly winds. 


Polish canoeist had close encounters with big waves and a tanker mooring rope, while fatigue sets in and he struggles a lot, he reported.


Tanker encounter


A few days ago Marcin had a close encounter with a tanker; approaching the town of Itacoatiara in the dark he did not notice the powerful rope mooring the tanker. "When I flowed past the rope taut rapidly and only by a miracle, ran about 5-10 cm near me. It could cut me and my canoe in half. Somehow, the sailors pulled me up. Otherwise the eddies from the ship would have grinded me with the canoe."


Huge waves


On August 9th, Marcin reported from Obidos about the “really huge waves”, which hit him but fortunately he survived. Crossing the river sometimes becomes a miracle, he wrote.   


"Near Obidos I crossed the river, in the middle there were 2 meters long, standing waves, which just spun my canoe. I did not know from which side I should expect another wave that would turn my canoe upside down.”


Fighting the waves all alone in the canoe becomes more difficult and he is not as fast as earlier in the expedition, he says. Sometimes his speed is 8 km/h, other times 4-5 km/h. He explains that the tributaries and channels connecting to the Amazon cause the big waves.


Physical condition


Marcin says he is getting weaker, fatigue is setting in and he is struggling all the time. Sometimes blood pours from his nose and he has heart problems, probably from the stress alone on the river, he reckons. 


He also struggles with minor breaks since May 17th and his seat snapped in the big waves near Obidos. Recently the wind has increased daily from 10:00 to 15:00. Daylight is from 06:30 to 18:00.


Brazilian people


The canoeist fortunately crossed the pirate and drug zone areas without incident. He says in general the Brazilian people are friendly and they allow him to sleep in their floating homes. Near the end, at Belem, he expects some pirate activities.


SPOT Tracker


Distance traveled: 5544 km

Timestamp: 2015-08-17 T13:49:38+0000 

ESN 0-8273849

Latitude: -1.75272 

Longitude: -53.11752 


Marcin Gienieczko kicked off his expedition in Lima on May 17, 2015, and, with a support team, cycled to the Village of Chilca on the Pacific Ocean from where he turned inland to San Francisco (Peru), a total of 700 km. From there Gadiel Sanchez Rivera canoed with him to Atalaya, and later again supported him to Iquitos. He covered 60 km on the Rio Apurimac, defeated drug traffickers, survived the Rio Ene’s 10-meter-in-diameter vortices, and covered the Rio Ucayali, where two Polish kayakers were killed, in 19 days. 


Gienieczko plans to end 7000km later in the East, at Belem, Brazil, on the Pacific Ocean. 


He uses a Mad River Canoe, Royalex 16. It weighs 30 kg and it is made of Royalex materials. Marcin has used a similar canoe the entire McKenzie River system and on the biggest Siberian river, the Lena


Note: to reflect style. Marcin is claiming doing this expedition “solo”, but according to the Rules and Definitions of Adventure at AdventureStats, a solo expedition may not receive any assistance or car support.




Amazon update: Marcin Gienieczko arrived at Manaus


Best of ExplorersWeb 2012 Awards: Christian Bodegren, the great Amazon paddle


ExWeb interview with Amazon adventurers Gareth Jones & Aaron Chervenak (1 of 2): dangers and a mysterious military border marker


ExWeb interview with Gareth Jones & Aaron Chervenak (2 of 2): “Three Amazon fishermen schooled us for a few weeks”


Amazon Davey reflecting the attack and help: “a spirit for adventure is very, very difficult to lose!”


The big Amazon paddle: ExWeb interview with record kayaker Christian Bodegren


ExWeb Interview with Ed Stafford, Amazon walker


Expedition Amazonas interview, final: "The entire journey is etched upon my mind and my heart for eternity" (Mark Kalch)


First Amazon kayak run documented in comic flipbook


West Hansen’s Amazon kayak from then newly discovered scource



True source of the Amazon


Wiley Online Library Feb 2014: 

Correct placement of the most distant source of the Amazon River in the Mantaro River drainage 


True Source of the Amazon by Canoe & Kayak (2012, James “Rocky" Cantos)


From the Gallery: Peru’s Apurimac Abyss by Canoe & Kayak (2015)



Marcin’s pages:



South America traverse via Amazon website

(follow his blog in the Dispatch Feed on Explorersweb)





Charity (info below tracker map)