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Through Jaguar Eyes - Benedict Allen (book cover)

£25 + £5 p&p

Very limited copies available.

Through Jaguar Eyes - crossing the Amazon Basin (1994)

The story of Benedict's 3,600 mile journey to cross Amazon Basin at its widest point without a map. An attempt to look at the Amazon afresh, the journey took him from the Andes of Ecuador on a journey of almost eight months across the basin to Brazil, in the SE. Benedict took whatever transport was available locally, the greatest physical challenge being the drug barons of Columbia (who shot at him) and the dense forests of Brazil, which he was able to survive, often alone, only thanks to instruction from the remote Matses Indians of Peru.

Recommended for: those wanting a great Amazon adventure; a maturer Mad White Giant, but still with heaps of unlikely mishaps.

Most exciting moment: being chased by drug dealers in a canoe; or walking alone through the forest after having been abandoned by guides.

Benedict's comment: It had taken me ten years to re-visit the Amazon, and now I had almost as many misadventures as the first time! This book was my first along the lines of a conventional travelogue; my objective was simply to record whatever happened as I did a dissection of great Amazon rainforest and I added the occasional historical detail and scientific note. As it happened, I had a series of rather unlikely encounters – and afterwards some people even questioned whether all the events had taken place. Actually, I rather downplayed certain incidents (including the chase by the Medellin cartel drug people) just as, in hindsight, I did the incident (in The Proving Grounds) when I was marooned on a little rock in the Torres Strait. On the other hand, the journey was not perhaps as heroic as it might at first seen – although I didn't have any back-up, or maps to navigate with, I was helped (as the book tells) by many miscellaneous characters along the way. Notable among these were the Matses, whose "role-model" might be said to be the jaguar (with its intelligence, agility and power), and taught me (as the Niowra in New Guinea had taught me the value of banding together to cope with the rain forest, and being as robust in defending your niche as that other top predator the crocodile) how to operate alone, jaguar-like, in the Amazon.

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