World Premiere of the Documentary about the Expedition! 1

Amazon express expedition Peru

Saturday, February 21st at the Stateside Theatre on Congress Avenue in downtown Austin, Texas. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a meet/greet cocktail hour. The screening of the feature length documentary begins at 7 p.m.

Immediately after the screening there will be a question/answer session with door prize drawings featuring gear sponsors from the expedition.

Here’s where you can buy tickets:


Remembering Juanito Antonio de Ugarte Reply

Amazon express expedition PeruAmazon express expedition PeruAmazon express expedition PeruAmazon express expedition Peru

Juanito De Ugarte--look him up on facebook.  Very impressive.

Juanito De Ugarte–look him up on facebook. Very impressive.

Juanito--White water coordinator 1st and 2nd team

Juanito–White water coordinator 1st and 2nd team

goofing off pic before morning launch

Juanito de Ugarte was instrumental in guiding West and his team down the whitewater of the Mantaro River by raft and kayak.  He was an excellent leader and was all business with navigating the river and rapids safely, with safety always first and foremost on his mind.  He had a lot of patience and, through his guidance, made sure every member of the team succeeded.  Today, we received the news that Juanito has passed away due to a kayaking accident.  While all the details have not been made available, we want to express our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the entire kayaking community, of which he was an huge part of.  Through all of his latest blogs, communications, and pictures, he left this world doing what he loved most, kayaking the falls with his friends.  Rest in peace, Juanito.  You will be remembered, fondly.

Rocky’s report of the new source is finally published 1

Area Magazine has finally published James “Rocky” Contos’s report on the newly discovered source of the Amazon River.

Amazon express expedition Peru

Team members at Lago Acucocha about to launch the first expedition to paddle the entire Amazon River from it’s newly discovered source to the sea.

Documentary Update Reply

It’s been over a year and a month since hitting the Atlantic Ocean, marking the end of the easy part of the expedition. Since then, I’ve been readjusting to life in this world and working on the book and documentary about the expedition. The Kickstarter campaign to fund the expedition was a bust, but some really great supporters have donated funds to the cause and every dollar sure does help. Great news is that we’ve secured permission from some of my favorite musicians and bands for the soundtrack for the documentary. Please go out and buy the CD’s from these folks, because they really are incredibly talented. Yesterday, for example, I got a really quick response from Takenobu (Nick Ogawa) who not only gave us permission to use his treatment of “Shady Grove” for the title credits, but is recording an instrumental version for the opening sequence. Please go to his website and order all of his music. You won’t be disappointed. He blends voice and cello into one sound so seamlessly it’s almost hypnotic. My old friend, Darrell Mayers (who lives on our street with his lovely wife and daughter) has granted us use of his music from his two bands “Mundi” and “Motes Float Aloft”. Mundi has an old English feel with clean, eclectic lines while Motes Floats Aloft adds the ethereal and mysterious tones. Finally, grand and wonderfully unclassifiable local band, “Mother Falcon” has given us permission to use their music. The trailer features music from both Mother Falcon and Mundi.
Here are links to their respective websites. I recommend checking out their videos to see them in action.

We’re still looking for a band with some driving rock, so if y’all know of a generous band wanting to be part of the experience, please contact me. Thanks –West

Documentary Trailer Reply

The production of the documentary is moving forward without delay. The kickstarter campaign to raise funds didn’t pan out. The fifty generous supporters did a really great job and their pledges were really appreciated. The way kickstarter works is an all-or-nothing format, so none of those who pledged had their credit cards charged and no pledges were collected. So, we are still funded primarily through the hard work of my family and any donations people may want to send via our PayPal account. All donations are tax-deductible and donors will receive a receipt from PayPal they can use for their tax statements. Additionally, all donors over $50 will get a copy of the completed documentary. We are still looking at completion by the years end. Thanks again and onward, as ever! Here is the trailer on youtube:

Peeled Faces On The Amazon Documentary Reply

We are now well into producing the documentary about the Amazon Express expedition. Please check out the trailer on Kickstarter and feel free to donate to the campaign. It was an exciting adventure and we really want to share it with the world.

The end of the road… 1

Yesterday, West and Cesar made their way down to San Francisco (Peru) to drop off supplies in storage and take care of other business for the team. They separated from the team day before yesterday, as there isn’t any road access to the river. The kayak team will be going through some very treacherous terrain. They will come upon the area where the blasting is going on by construction crews and boulders were raining down on the kayakers. It will probably take the team about a week to get through this section of river and make their way to San Francisco to meet up with their guide, Cesar Pena.

Speaking of treacherous terrain, West and Cesar traveled a “road” that was probably the scariest, most treacherous road West has ever driven, based on his Facebook comments. He said the road was so narrow they had to pull their mirrors in just to be able to stay on the road hugging the mountain-side. It was muddy, slippery, very very narrow with steep drops (on Cesar’s side, of course). Cesar left finger indentions on the dash panel…(this said with a chuckle, of course).

West will leave Auycucho today to head back to Lima. He will fly out of Lima on Thursday night and be back in Austin, Friday. He’s had a great time being support instead of expedition leader, meeting up with friends he’s made along the way.

Popeye’s & Corona Reply

West and Cesar have made their way from Huancayo back to the Mantaro to meet up with the team. They stayed at Lucho’s place in Huancayo, left the team’s food with Lucho for further food drops, down river. They picked up some Popeye’s Chicken and Corona for Midge and Don. There was some indication they picked up something for Darcy but it got lost in the airwaves over the Satellite phone. She’s vegan, as you all may know by now, and doesn’t eat what the other guys do. The water was supposed to released yesterday from the dam. By all appearances, it was a go. Based on West’s assessment of the river today, that wasn’t the case. The water is low and there is some dragging action going on.

A new support team Reply

West and Lizet made it back into Lima, Peru yesterday with plenty of time to get Lizet to the airport for her overnight flight back to Houston. This morning, West met up with Cesar from Iquitos. Cesar will act as support for the Kayak The Amazon team once they are on the flat water, just as he did for The Amazon Express. They traded out the normal mini-van for a bigger better-equipped HiLux vehicle better suited for their needs & grabbed some necessary supplies. After driving all around Lima trying to work their way out, West and Cesar made it back to Huancayo for an overnight stay before meeting back up with the team, tomorrow morning. Kayak The Amazon is spending the night at the Tablachaca Dam, among nature, and plan to get an early start tomorrow after having taken today off while working out logistics. Just a reminder, you can watch their combined progress on their website ( or follow West/Cesar on