The Great River Amazon Raft Race Blog

by Captain Bill

The Great River Amazon Raft Race, 2006 The Winners

The Great River Amazon Raft Race Blog

We have held The Great River Amazon Raft Race here in Iquitos, Peru since 1998. At first it was just a one day affair attracting local people. In 2006 the race was extended to cover 180 kilometers or 112 miles of the mighty River Amazon over three days. Each team of four must construct their own raft out of balsawood logs and other materials (which are provided) and then paddle the craft for three days through the magnificent rainforest to the finish line in Iquitos.

South American Explorers Club Take a break, Great River Amazon Raft Race

Eleven different countries took part last year, but it seems the foreigners can never beat the local rafters who always take about four hours less over the three days to complete the course. The winners of the 2007 Great River Amazon Raft Race are the “Los Invincibles”.

Great River Amazon Raft Race, the race for first and second

The next Great River Amazon Raft Race race will be in September 2008. Seventeen international teams have already officially entered with others pledged to compete in this years race. Join us for a great Amazon adventure.

For more information please click this Iquitos Times link;

As usual I am proud to be a sponsor and of course I will have limited space available on my Dawn on the Amazon River boats for those participants or spectators who would appreciate more comfort during the race.

Please click here for information; then click the Special Cruises link in the navigation bar to the left of my home page.

Please click this link to see more photos of The Great Amazon River Raft Race


Great Amazon River Raft Race, what it feels like to win


If you would like to leave a comment, if you have a question, or if you have already competed in a previous Great River Amazon Raft Race, please give us your thoughts by clicking on the comment link below.

The Great River Amazon Raft Race Blog

Welcome to Iquitos Peru



{ 381 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Audrey December 28, 2007 at 11:41 am

I will be turning 50 right before the race starts and so want to do this! I started paddling this year in April with a dragon boat team and I really like it. I don’t think any of my team members would consider doing this event, so I am looking for a team.

As I said I will be turning 50, I’m in pretty decent shape, I’ve done marathons in the past, just recently the Honolulu Marathon, I walked but none the less finished, metric century bike rides, and other activities. I plan on training for this event by hooking up with our local outrigger canoe team for practice because they practice for distance.

My family thinks I am crazy and hoping I won’t find a team or bail at the last minute, which makes me even more determined to do this. If there is anybody who is looking for a team member please contact me. I live in the US, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I hope to be in Peru in 2008!

2 Martijn January 2, 2008 at 1:54 pm

We participated in the 2007 Amazon raft race; an unforgettable experience. Tough, but easy to do for anybody with a sense for adventure, eager to encounter the unexpected, and with sufficient team work skills to spend 3 days together on just a few m2. My advice for aspirant participants: be prepared, as this will make your journey easier; but don´t prepare yourselves too much, as it will be more fun… Check out our blog about the race (, in Dutch, and photos at

Martijn Veen, Dutch Arco Iris team, Amazon Raft Race 2007

3 Richard Pullan January 8, 2008 at 6:58 pm

The Brotherhood have been talking about this for a while. So first things first, I would like to enter 1 team of 4. We will probably enter a few more teams, but to get the ball rolling I would like to enter one team first. The Sisterhood will also be entering someteams, but they are away at the moment. I have put the email out to 20 or 30 of my friends to see who is interested and will get back to you. This trip co-insides with an event my friend is putting on in Peru who I have CC’d here, he will be putting on a rockconcert in the Jungle this summer for Peruvian Children’s Charities and we may try and combine efforts in some way. There website is and Please can you let me know the limit on the amount of teams you can accommodate and also let me know when you are nearly reaching that limit.
All the best,
Richard Pullan,

4 Mike Collis January 9, 2008 at 11:33 am

Hello Richard,

Great news! We can assure “The Brotherhood and “The Sisterhood” a great time here in the Peruvian amazon. I am also sure that you will raise a lot of money for your chosen good cause.

Regarding the number of rafts in the race. The Peruvian Coast Guard who will be providing safety boats say that the limit should be 60 rafts maximum (30 Peruvian and 30 international) because from our experience the fleet of rafts are sometimes spread over 5 to 6 miles of the Amazon and more than 60 will require more boats than they have here. At present we now have 8 foreign teams pledged to enter. I will keep everyone posted on this blog as more teams enter.

The idea of a rock concert in the jungle is a fantastic idea. If you want to get a feel of Iquitos please click here ;

Mike Collis

5 Fergus Macbride January 9, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Hello , we are considering entering a team in this years raft race on the Amazon. We are in the planning stages and have found that there are only domestic flights to Iquitos so we have to go through and return through Lima, is that right ?
We do not speak any spanish but will start learning it.

Do you have a contacts in lima who can meet us when we arrive (2 men,2 women) take us to a safe and econimical hotel, then return us to the airport for the flight to Iquitos. We will also need the same when we return.
We would also like to go to Machupichu can you help us with that. I don’t think we will want a jungle tour because I’m sure we would have seen enough of it during the race. Thank you.

Fergus Macbride,Cork,Ireland

6 John Gregson January 9, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Who are The Brotherhood and The Sisterhood ?

Never heard of em.

John gregson,Lima,Peru

7 Cristina Alegría January 10, 2008 at 10:29 am

Hello Everyone:

I’m Cristina Alegría, the Director of Tourism for the Loreto Region of Peru. I’ll ensure your time here during the Amazon Raft Race will be safe and comfortable for competitors and spectators alike. We are looking forward to greeting you to Iquitos in September, our beautiful city, near the Amazon River.

8 Mike Collis January 10, 2008 at 11:11 am

Hello John Gregson,
Never heard of The Brotherhood or The Sisterhood ! You must have lived a secluded life down there in Lima.

The Brotherhood are a group of young english gentlemen who dress in monks habits and do extraordinary things to raise money for charity, usually childrens charities.

The Sisterhood are a group on young english ladies who wearing different attire do the same.

Last year The Brotherhood and The Sisterhood raced across the English Channel in dragon boats. The Sisterhood touched french soil first.
I said they were english gentlemen did’nt I.

Have alook at their fantastic websites ;

They say they are sending teams this year, we can assure them a great welcome here in Iquitos.

9 David Petroski January 10, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Hello Michael and fellow rafters:
Greetings from Fort saskatchewan,Alberta, Canada. A city North East of Edmonton . Before Christmas it was minus 27-C, today it is a balmy minus 16-C. I”m really excited about the 2008 race, as we know the start of the race is September 19, and that day is also my birthday.So—When I dip my paddle into the mighty Amazon I will be 71 years old.
I told my team we have to start practising. They said yes,but the river is frozen. I tell you its really hard to paddle with four of us in the bathtub.
I said we have to get in shape. They informed me they have very strong right arms from lifting heavy glasses to their mouths. Oh well, come September we will be in shape, and ready for the competition. We have no choice as we come from a dying breed of canadian voyagers and must uphold the tradition. “paddles up eh”
We are planning on putting in two teams , but wont know about our second team until May as jobs and committments, play a large part. ( our first team is made up of family members)
Michael, I have a question for you? Is it possible to use more than 8 logs, as our team is heavy. Also we would like to have a formal dining table on board so we can lunch in style. As the saying goes ” an Army marches on it’s stomach” we will be paddling on our stomach.
Well people “up the Amazon” I have a great tip for all the Foreign Teams, especially my American Friends–If you have to pee just jump in the warm Amazon and hang on to the side of your raft, it really saves time and the “CONDIRU FISH ” really lik it.
This is all in jest as you know but our team will be so fast we will probably beat the support boat to port. Must say I am really looking forward to the comaraderie, the fun, and hopefully just to be able to complete the race.
David C. Petroski an old paddler

10 Bryan Iversen January 11, 2008 at 7:04 pm

First off my hats go out to returned rafters for the 2007 race. My suggestion to you all is have something comfy for the butt as it tends to get VERY soar by the end of the race. May your trip be as crazy as that for TENEMOS GANAS!!!! Cuidanse

11 Mike Collis January 12, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Hello Dave Petroski,

Thank you very much for your comment,it caused me and “the boys” some ammusement in the Amazon Cafe yesterday.

I’m sorry its so cold up there but its been quite chilly here this week too, it went down to 85F the other day.

Regarding the number of balsawood logs for each raft.
I think your point is valid so I am going to amend the
construction rules slightly.

At present the rules state ;

Each raft must be constructed of 8 logs no less than 5 mtrs in length.

It will be amended to ;

Each raft must be constructed of no less than 8 logs etc.etc.

I hope that clarifies this rule.

12 David Winter January 14, 2008 at 10:42 am

So the final width of the raft is probably around 3 or 3.5 meters? I’m just thinking that I could probably build a practice craft out of 25cm wide PVP pipes. THAT would be a scream to take down the Potomac River through the middle of Washington DC!

13 Eddie Fox January 15, 2008 at 7:00 am

Hi all and Mike. My name is Eddie Fox and I am from Washington, DC. My dad actually turned me on too this event a couple of years ago by handing me a print out from your website and telling me “quick, read this and hide it, dont tell your mother you got it from me. 🙂 I have always enjoyed participating in these crazy adventures and in the last several years I have sailed across the Atlantic, spent time in SE Asia doing Tsunami relief and last year, put together a team and spent 5 weeks racing a school bus thru Europe and Africa as part of a charitable rally. My teammates and I actually talked about this event while racing thru the African desert and about how much fun it would be to participate as our next great adventure. So now, after the dry heat of the Sahara Desert, we are very excited to enter at least 1 team, possibly 2, and experience the wet heat of the Amazon River. In the past, we have used our adventures as a way to raise money and awareness for local, on the ground, NGO’s that we identify and we are currently researching local nonprofits in Peru and building a website. (If you are interested in checking out our last adventure or the groups we raised money for you can check out ) Mike, please let us know as soon as registration is open as we can hardly wait to know we are in and on our way to our next epic adventure. Best to all and looking forward to meeting everyone on the river.
Eddie Fox, Washington, DC

14 Mike Collis January 15, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Welcome Eddie,

Thanks for your comment.

Regarding Inscription Fees ;

The $150US per team Entry Fee needs to be paid to the Regional Government of Loreto the state which the Amazon flows through. They will be opening a special bank accout to recieve Entry Fees very soon. As soon as it is open I will inform everyone to contact me for the bank details etc.

15 Robyn Tkatch January 15, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Hi all!
I did the race in 2007 and it was incredible. I think that part of the reason that we had a great time was the amount of preparation that we put into it – which I would highly recommend. Having our own paddles that were comfortable and light, enough of our own food and water that we were never hungry, and a pre-arranged “plan” for the race were invaluable. For example, we had a timer onboard that beeped every 15min telling us to switch sides of the raft. This kept us from crippling up by paddling only on one side for too long. We approached the race very competitively, and if anybody else wants to do the same I would be happy to share advice with you ( If I were to do it again, I would try very hard to have a raft the same quality as those that the locals made. Their were SO much lighter and faster than ours, it wasn’t even funny. I think that with the same quality of raft, we could have beaten many more of the local teams. What they do is pick their logs out ahead of time so that they have the lightest, straightest possible logs. In 2007, the international teams had to select the best logs they could find as they were building the rafts. These logs were a lot bigger and heavier to begin with, plus we only had one machete and they had four machetes and saws AND they knew how to use the machetes really well.
Anyway, that’s just a little bit of advice for those who are interested. By far the most important thing about the race, though, was the amazing spirit of all the racers. There were some people in pretty rough shape at the end of a few of those days… blisters… sunburns… exhaustion… but people were cheerful about it and supportive of everybody else. All of the paddlers who competed were tough, gritty people and it was a really great to be thrown into an adventure with them for 3 days.

16 Lizardo Perez January 17, 2008 at 11:52 am

Hello Everyone,
I am Lizardo Perez of Peru Travel and Leisure based in Lima, Peru.
In response to Fergus MacBride’s question (No.6) about assistance he in Peru.
We will be absolutely delighted to assist all the foriegn rafters and supporters on their arrival in Lima. We can also arrange domestic flights here in Peru
which are usually cheaper purchased in Peru rather than abroad. We can also assist those who would like to visit other parts of Peru such as Cusco,Machupichu,
Lake Titicaca, Arequipa and many othe destinations.

If we ca help in any way please e mail me ;

Looking forward to welcoming you to our wonderful country.

17 Wade Binion January 18, 2008 at 11:04 pm

I am interested in participating in this years upcoming race. I have a team from the US that is 80% committed. We are trying to account for the logistics of getting to Iquitos. What do you recommend as the best rout of transportation? Any other bits of advice would be helpful as well. Thanks again

18 Bill January 18, 2008 at 11:11 pm

Hello Wade,

It is nice to hear from you about participating in the Great River Amazon Raft Race. A team that is 80 % committed is most of the way here already.

There is only one practical way to get to Iquitos in my opinion, and that is by flying into Lima, changing planes to Iquitos. If you are in the US that will cost approximately $1000 round trip with the major carriers. There is a low cost carrier out of Fort Lauderdale Florida called Spirit that flies non-stop to Lima for a little over half the price of the major carriers. Tickets can only be purchased on the internet. I have never used them myself, and have heard mixed reviews. Usually half the price means half the service and comfort, but may fit into the budget better.

There is a small advantage to flying into Lima on LanPeru. They are the only international carrier that also flies to Iquitos, so your connection can all be prearranged and they take care of your luggage because their counter is open most all night.

That is not crucial because there is now luggage storage at the Lima airport, a big improvement from a few years ago when we used to tie our luggage to our bodies while we slept in the airport.

Try to time your incoming flight to Lima for between after midnight and three in the morning to catch the 05:30 Lan flight on to Iquitos. Better to already have that ticket, the plane is frequently sold out. If you do not have a ticket, do not despair. Get on stand by. People tend to be late for early morning flights.

There are three other much more interesting and adventurous ways to get here listed below by the level of adventure and uncertainty. I do not recommend them because they take too long and can take weeks if the things do not go well. You can catch boats from Coco Ecuador down the Napo River and up the Amazon. Catch boats from Yurimaguas down the Huallaga, Marañon, and Amazon Rivers. Catch boats from Pucallpa down the Ucayali and Amazon rivers.

If you feel like an adventure it is better to leave Iquitos by those routes after the race. That way you will not miss the race like at least one other couple did 2 years ago.

19 Wade Binion January 19, 2008 at 6:29 am

Thanks Bill, We will spend the next few weeks trying to figure out logistics for travel and return. Accommodation during the race would be our next concern. On the blog it looked as if there were sleeping areas for contestants on the boat if they so choose. Is that difficult to come by, are reservations needed? Are there other options? We have no problem camping.
What about transporting our gear during the race? Thanks again.


20 Bill January 19, 2008 at 6:58 am

Hi Wade,

Yes there will be a designated support boat that will transport all rafters and spectators that want to rough it. It is not camping, but in past races the boat has been too over crowded to be comfortable, with hammock touching on each side, with space and food limitations. The support boat has been more of a typical Amazon colectivo boat atmosphere. Some people consider it part of the experience, particularly the young people. All your gear will be carried along with the race on the support boat. When you officially sign up for the race, it will be assumed you want to ride the support boat but you can work out the details as you decide what you want to do. Camping might be a good option. Maybe it could be good to wait and see which boat the organizers comes up with for the 2008 race. Maybe it will be bigger and better.

I will take my three cruise boats for people wanting to be more comfortable. We serve delicious food for those wanting better meals. The details are on the Special Cruise page on my web site, scroll down to Raft Race. Note one day is free.

Amazon Tours and Cruises with Dawn on the Amazon

21 Mike Collis January 20, 2008 at 11:25 am

Hello Everyone,

I have just checked out ; about flights from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Lima in September for the raft race.

A return ticket costs $254US, thats about 130 quid for you brits and about 180 euros for our rafters from europe.

I think Fort Lauderdale is quite accessable from almost anywhere but Spririt Air also fly from other airports in the USA.

22 Micah Cantley January 21, 2008 at 2:05 pm

First, let me respond to Mike’s last post regarding SpiritAir. My friend here in Arequipa had a flight booked to Ft. Lauderdale on Spirit but missed it because her flight to Lima was cancelled due to inclement weather. Much to her chagrin, she was told by SpiritAir that she simply lost her fare and would have to purchase another ticket because she did not change her flight 24hrs. ahead. After I talked with American and Continental I realized this 24 policy is almost exclusively maintained by Spirit. The other airlines allow you to change up to one minute before the flight takes off (for a fee, of course, but less than a new ticket). So, my friend spent two days in Lima trying to negotiate with Spirit before returning home, having had to cancel her vacation and after spending several hundreds of dollars in the process, not to mention the lost airfare. My advice- don’t travel SpiritAir. They also charge you for each piece of luggage you bring (not extras, but the standards), and do not offer any free in-flight services (sodas, peanuts, muffins, etc. . .are available only for a fee, and they only accept credit cards on board, no cash!!).

Now, on to the race, even if you must spring for the slightly higher airfare offered by one of the many other carriers you will not be dissapointed!! This may be the best money you spend. Consider what we’re talking about here- a 3-day log-raft race through the Amazonian jungle on the Amazon River!! The idea alone is worth the price in airfare. I participated in the 2006 race (the first 3-day’r) and have been pining to go back ever since. My team didn’t finish first (in fact, we didn’t even finish) but the time I had with friends (old and new) and family will never be forgotten!! I met amazing people, made friends whom I’ve kept since (Mike & Bill), and plan to take my family back to the area in the very near future.

I hope this year to enter 15-20 Peruvian high school seniors in the race for their “Senior Class Trip.” The time they will have will be unmatched by most any other school in Arequipa, and the memories they will retain will last a lifetime and beyond as they share them with family and friends.

Of course, I’ve promised my boys (10 & 11) that I would take them on the trip ever since I had the chance to enjoy it, and I told my wife that I would take her, as well (I may have overbooked myself 🙂 )

Whatever happens, I will return to Iquitos and I will again dip my paddle in the waters of the Amazon!! It is because of this race that I have fallen in love with the Amazonian Jungle, and it is because of the promoters of this race (again, Mike & Bill) that I know I will always be welcome in this wonderful city.

If it be within your means, if your spirit be one of adventure, and if your fears need conquering, come to Iquitos and raft the Amazon!!

23 Bill January 21, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Thank you Micah, you know Mike and I share your sentiments. The camaraderie we share with you and other participants in this unique race is the thing that makes it worth all of the trouble to organize, promote, and sponsor.


24 Mike Collis January 21, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Thank You for your kind words Micah.

See you in september.

25 Micah Cantley January 21, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Yes indeed, boys- I’m working on the details at this very moment!! One way or another I will find myself back in your presence in September!!

26 dave donohue January 22, 2008 at 1:33 am

I did the race in 2006 and in many years of traveling around the globe I would have to say that the race is one the “best” things that I have done. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to have an adventure. Hopefully one day I will be able to return and compete in the race again. Dave

27 Bill January 22, 2008 at 6:15 am

Hi Dave,

You are another valuable friend we made because of the Great River Amazon Raft Race. I have read every word on your Travel Blog since you left Iquitos two years ago and I know how many countries you have traveled in, so your recommendation carries a lot of weight with me. Thanks.

The quality of your photos seem to increase in proportion to how many countries you have visited. You have grown into a professional photographer, instead of a professional traveler. Really, isn’t growing as an individual the most important part of traveling? Keep up the good work, and best of luck, Bill

28 Nichollas Bourlon January 22, 2008 at 10:26 am

Hi Everyone,

I’ll try to get some Rio Va’a Club paddlers motivated ; In 2003 we did the Panama Canal Ocean to Ocean race in « cayucos » and we had a lot of fun !

We held a demostration of Va’a (outrigger canoe) event during the Rio PanAm Games last July and in December we had the 6th Edition of the Rio Va’a Race, also South America Va’a Cup.

In time, would you enventually consider opening the race to va’a (outrigger canoes) ? The sport is fast growing around the world. In Latin America there are Clubs in Brazil, Argentina, Chile (Easter Island) and Costa Rica.

Cheers from Rio,

Nicolas Bourlon

President, Rio Va’a Club

International Va’a Federation Coordinator for South America

29 David Wooten January 22, 2008 at 12:26 pm

I was the captain of Team Hijos de Su Madre in the 2007 race. It was a certainly an experience one never forgets. Regarding Robyn´s comments. She is way too modest. Those were the craziest women I have ever met. If their team had the light balsa logs like the Peruvians, they would have beaten all of the Peruvians. But her point is that the quality of your raft supercedes everything else. Bring with you pre-sharpened machetes because you cannot depend on local resources. We brought lazy boy campfire chairs that were really nice to have as opposed to the foam that others found which becomes so saturated it gives you river rear. Energy bars are a wonderful way to hold off hunger. We were really jealous of the girls´ paddles. It would have been a nice luxury to not use those tree branches that Mic gives you.
Other than that, just show up with a smile and don´t be surprised when things don´t go exactly as planned. In the Amazon, improvisation is the name of the game.

30 Emma Sayle January 22, 2008 at 1:16 pm

hi Mike,

Just to let you know that The Sisterhood will be entering at least 5 teams, so brace yourself….girls on rafts isa pretty experience but definitly not a quiet one.

The Channel was just the warm up so bring on the Amazon

from the girls in the hood

31 Morton L. Caplan January 22, 2008 at 1:51 pm


I hold the record for being the oldest paddler in the race. I was 74 when the rest of the Over-The-hill Gang and I participated in 2007. On a bad morning Mike Collis looks older than I do, but he really isn’t. However, no-one can remember ever seeing him on a good morning, so maybe he is.

I hope my record stands, because if it doesn’t I will have to put together another team and recapture it.

Iquitos is the largest city in the world that can’t be reached by road. There are those, both in and out of Iquitos, who say that isn’t really a bad thing. Make up your own mind once you’ve been there.

Mike and Bill are great people, friendly and helpful. If you get a chance you should take one of Bill’s tours. He has attractive, well maintained, safe boats and he is very knowledgeable about the local area and its waterways.I have sailed all my adult life, in many places, but the Amazon is unique,and no matter what your previous experiences have been,I am sure you will enjoy the time you spend on and around the river.

It was a genuine pleasure taking part in the race and meeting Mike, Bill, and all the others who made it a memorable experience.

Mike and Bill are real

32 Mike Collis January 22, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Thank you Dave,Nicollas and Mort,

Don`t you mean the 2006 race Mort ?
I know when you get our age the years just fly by !

And a very special Thank You to Emma Sayle and The Sisterhood. I hope you can persuade Will and Kate to come too !

33 Bill January 23, 2008 at 6:52 am

Hi Mort, A few days ago I published a little article in the Travellers Point called The Great River Amazon Raft Race, Your Next Big Adventure At the bottom of the article is one of my photos that has never been published, of you and Mike and the Over the Hill Gang. The caption reads; “The photo above is of The Over the Hill Gang, led by 74 years old Mort Caplan, seen celebrating being the oldest person to finish the Great River Amazon Raft Race by enthusiastically chugging a large Iquiteñan beer.” That photo always makes me smile, and I am smiling now.

Hi Nichollas, That is great. We are looking forward to getting to know you and your friends and talking about your ideas about the outrigger canoes. Others have suggested opening the race to dragon boats. It is worth talking about, but balsa rafts are what have been used in the upper Amazon for 1000s of years and are part of our unique culture. However, anything is possible.

Hi David, you offer good advise in your comment # 30. I would modify that and suggest buying machetes here in Iquitos. Machetes are the tool of choice for all of us here, and are in every hardware store. We never leave the city without two or three machetes. Unfortunately, while they are a valuable tool, they are also very dangerous. You can not be too careful 118 miles from the nearest hospital. Maybe it would be better to hire a local native that uses machetes everyday, barefoot. Buying the machete here, and hiring a native to use it, is another way to help this poor jungle economy.

Hi Emma, Girls on rafts are great news. You young women will be setting an example for all of the girls of Iquitos, that they can do anything they set their minds to. I hope we share lots of laughs together. I bet we will.

34 Mike Collis January 23, 2008 at 10:19 am

I agree with Bill on his comment about using machettes.
The rules state that the rafts are to be constructed by each team but that foriegn teams can employ local people to construct the raft under their supervision. I think it is best for foriegn teams to take up this option and use local builders who know how to build a raft and most importantly know how to use machettes safely. We don’t want any foriegn rafters hurt and missing the race.

35 David Kelly January 23, 2008 at 10:32 am

Hello Michael,

What do I need to provide in terms of information for my team and payment (method) to register my California-Hawaii-Texas team into the GRARR 2008? Thank you in advance. We’re excited about being a part of this year’s race.

Best regards,
David Kelly

36 Mike Collis January 23, 2008 at 10:39 am

Hello David Kelly,
Thank you for your enquiry.
The Regional Government of Loreto will be controllong the race and Entry Fees will be paid into a dedicated bank account soon to be opened by them. When the bank account is opened I will advise everyone on this blog to contact me for the bank account details. When you pay your Entry Fee you must scan the Paying In Slip and email it to me along with;

1. The name of your team.
2. Country or countries represented.
3. Names of team members (provisional).

I will then complete the Entry form on your behalf and confirm your entry.

37 Mike Collis January 24, 2008 at 10:59 am

If anyone out there would like to compete but can’t get a team together don’t worry we guarantee to find you a place. Just let us know on this blog.

38 Mike Collis January 26, 2008 at 10:50 am
39 Mike Collis January 27, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Hello Mary,
I guarantee if you want to compete then there will be a seat and a paddle for you. Just get yourself here in September and keep watching this blog for developments.

40 Lizz January 27, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Hello everybody:

I am trying to organize a team from Victoria, B.C. but am not sure whether I can get 4 dedicated paddlers. We plan to bring our own paddles as long as that is not outside the rules. We are dragonboaters and want to use familiar paddles. I am currently 61 and feel positively youthful after reading some of the comments posted. We will all be in the over 50 group and plan to train for the race. Of course, we will have had a busy dragonboat season so we will be in pretty good shape anyhow. We have also thought about building a raft from PVC pipe to train on and wondered if anyone else has tried that idea before. If so,we would welcome your comments. I noticed that the fastest foreign team last year were from Vancouver, B.C. a short distance away. If any of that team are reading these comments, I would appreciate any advice you can give. I am at I could meet with you when I am in Vancouver and we could exercise our good right arms over a few brews while discussing the race.

I’m looking forward to the event and crossing one more adventure off my “list”.


41 Mike Collis January 28, 2008 at 10:49 am

Welcome Liz,
If you cannot get 4 dedicated paddlers then don’t worry we’ll fix you up. Why not make contact with Audrey comment No.1 .

Regarding paddles . I think it is a good idea for all foriegn teams to bring their own paddles and lifejackets. The Regional Government have promised paddles and lifejackets for everyone, but for your own comfort try and bring your own.

Get a feel for Iquitos ,click here ;

42 Ross Britt January 29, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Howdy Mike,

I’m putting together 1 team of 4 paddlers. Baring a schedule conflict, we plan on entering your 2008 race in September. Please reserve 1 spot for the Dragon Healers from San Francisco, CA and let me know when registration is open. Thanks,

Happy Paddling,
Ross Britt

43 Mike Collis January 30, 2008 at 10:31 am

Welcome Ross,
We surely can offer you and your team the adventure of a lifetime.

I am curious to know why your team is called the Dragon Healers, are you doctors or nurses ?
Please tell.

44 Ross Britt January 30, 2008 at 9:51 pm

We are from Kaiser-Permanente and are made up of medical professionals (from nearly all disciplines), friends and family. We are the proud sponsor of the San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival. Our captian was featured in TIMES Magazine issue dated June 2, 2006. We named our team after the Dragon Warriors, our mentors and friends. The Dragon Warriors is one of the best teams in the Bay Area and they trained us during our 1st year. We aspire to be as good as they are, but know that is unlikely. So, while the Warriors are out on the battle field slaying the Dragon, we will be right behind them. And, like good Medics – we can Heal the Dragon so that the Warriors can slay the Dragon another day. Interest is growing on our team – so, we may need 2 rafts.

45 Anthony Giardenelli February 1, 2008 at 11:12 am

Hello all, I am Anthony Giardenelli owner and operator of Otorongo Expeditions here in Iquitos Peru. I have been following the raft race for quite some time. I have decided to sponsor a team of 4 Peruvians from the Community of Oran.
Here is the offer:

The quickest Foreign team in the race wins a free 2 night 3 day trip to my jungle lodge in the Lower Amazon River to wind down after the grueling trip Nauta-Iquitos.
For info about this offer write to

46 Bill February 1, 2008 at 11:37 am

That is a great offer Anthony, well done! Thanks for the extra incentive.

47 Robert Greer February 1, 2008 at 6:59 pm

My name is Robert Greer and I am a medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. I have researched the Amazon Raft Race and would like to inquire about medical care volunteers. I have always wanted to see the Amazon and if I could help then I could begin looking into arrangements. I don’t know if it matters but I speak a little spanish (not portugeuse), I grew up in south florida so I am used to the heat. I am a certified lifeguard, and an Eagle Scout. (This is one instance where that may come in handy). I am also studying parasitology and emergency medicine. So please let me know if I can help.

P.S. If not then maybe you will see me in a different capacity, a racer perhaps

48 Mike Collis February 1, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Hello Robert,

If you can get here for the race in September any help you can offer will be much appreciated. However, I’m sure you will want to take part and not watch from the support boat with all the old codgers like me. Then after the race I am sure that we can find you some voluntary work down here. Please take a look at this article about volunteer work here in Iquitos;

49 Kathy Mack February 3, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Hello Everyone and especially those of you who remember my brother, John Mack,

To whoever placed the memorial on the net, I thank you!!! John was adventurous, to say the least. I am glad that he found some peace and fun in Peru for what turned out to be his last years of a too short-lived life!! He worked very hard at his jewelry craft most of his life to make a living and support his daughters. Making a living doesn’t always mean we are “living”. I am happy that he had some time away from the working life and was able to enjoy the nature around him.

From what I understand of your pictures and memorial, it looks like John was on the winning team in 2007. Record time at that!! So, now he is on another winning team and looking down and guiding all future winners!!! Hope you all run a good race and enjoy life-it is too short!!

Missing my little bro,
Thanks for all the memories,

50 Bill February 3, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Thank you for sharing your memories with us Kathy. We miss him also. I know he had some great experiences here in Iquitos. John, with his arm extended in a clinched fist celebration of his crews Great River Amazon Raft Race victory photo only depicts one of them.

Wishing you all the best,

51 Ross Britt February 5, 2008 at 11:55 am

Just a quick question on the start. Do you keep track as to when rafts actually “get under way?” I’m thinking of the first day, primarily. It seems that with 60 rafts taking off all at once, there would be a jam at the start line resulting in quite a lag in time between the first raft and the last raft. Or, is that all part of the race? Thanks,

Happy Paddling,
Ross Britt

52 greg tomlin February 5, 2008 at 1:28 pm

We are 4 New Zealander rugby players who fancy a bash at this.
There are a couple of diferences on the blog and the website.
On the website it says the course is 132 miles but on the blog it says 112. What is it ?

It says on the website that the peruvian coast Guard will provide safety boats, but on my map it shows Iquitos to be more than 1000 miles from any coast,
can you clarify this please ?

53 Mike Collis February 5, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Hello Ross,

The Start of the race is on an island called Isla de Pescadores (Fisherman’s Island). It is about 1 mile upstream from Nauta. It is a sand bank about half a mile long and about 200yds wide.This is where the rafts will be constructed and where we stay overnight before the lst race day.
The next morning all of the rafts will be lined up at the waters edge and will all start together. You must remember that where there is a sand bank or a beach this is where there is either no current or the current could be coming upstream. So to avoid the dead water all the rafts go straight across the river to the other side where there is a strong current and then head downriver.

All the rafts are timed out and timed in each day.

54 Mike Collis February 5, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Hello Greg,
It’ll be great to see some Kiwis here.
First question. The actuall distance by boat from Nauta to Bella Vista Nanay is about 112 miles. But this by boat which takes a direct course and has little use of the current. Rafts however need the current and although the river is very wide the current is usually on one side or the other, this is caused by the many bends in the Amazon. The rafts following the current in zig zags usually add about another 15 to 20 miles to the distance.
I hope this answers your first question.

2nd. Although Iquitos is about 600 miles due east of the Pacific and about 2465 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean Iquitos is counted as Peru’s only Atlantic port and therefore we have a Coast Guard presence here.

55 Dena February 6, 2008 at 12:27 am

Hi All – I am looking for fellow dragonboaters to form a team for the 2008 race. I hae been dragonboating for three years and coaching for two – seems crazy but true. If you are interested please send me an e-mail a


56 A.J. Rivera February 6, 2008 at 5:11 am


This is A.J., our team, one US, Mexico, German, and Swiss, on The Mississippi Queen ran last years race. I have little bit of information on the river. The river floods every year, and in doing so, it changes course. Unless someone goes out and marks the exact route, then the distance will be different this year and every year.

Oxbows are created by breaks, ‘quebradas’, will occur, but here is where the fun is. In one shortcut, we try to cut across and overtake our fellow competitors, only to be block by a sandbar we could not see in the sun’s reflection.

Another ‘quebreda’ brought us close to a village where children tossed into the water freshly picked papayas for us to enjoy, that was a welcome relief from the heat, and helped quench our thrust. In one section of a ‘quebrada’, we drifted as we ate our lunch, listened to the wild birdcalls, and swam. This was as close as we were going to get on the Amazon jungle in this race.

If you are looking for an exact demarcation, with flags, markings of organized, professional sports, and may I add retail sports, than you are going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you are looking for old fashion race, with competition and challenges, with loads of fun and hardships, then this is for you.

PS. Between the start and the finish line, there is more than 150 miles of river out there, if that is what you are looking to paddle. But if you want to compete, you might want to look for those ‘quebradas.’ You know the Peruvians will be.


57 Mike Collis February 6, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Thanks A.J. for your contribution, but you never said if you were coming again this year with the Mississipi Belle.

A.J took part in the 2007 race and wrote a great article , if you have’nt seen it before, please click here;

58 Mike Collis February 8, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Please keep checking this blog.


59 Daniel Gray February 10, 2008 at 11:03 am

Tell Us Please,
Is Kate Middleton coming or not ? Its all over the press here in the UK but not once have you mentioned it.

Heres one site if you have’nt seen it yet;

60 Mike Collis February 10, 2008 at 11:11 am

Hello Daniel,

If Miss Middleton was coming to this years race then I’m sure that because of security reasons it would be kept very quiet and not plastered all over the press. Maybe she had considered competeing but not now. We wish she was coming but unfortunately I think the whole story was made up by the “paparatzi” to sell newspapers, no more no less. Sorry.

61 Mike Collis February 11, 2008 at 6:55 pm


The Regional Government has now opened a dedicated bank account to recieve the raft race Entry Fees.

Please contact me for instructions for payment ;

62 Mike Collis February 14, 2008 at 10:27 am

Hello Mary,
Thank you for your comment and don’t worry you’ll get a team together, we’ve never failed yet.

Regarding sleeping arrangement ; The Regional Government will provide tents and mattresses and basic food for all competitors , this is included in the $150 US Entry Fee (per team of 4). However I must add that one night you sleep in a tent, the next on the floor of the village longhouse (mattresses provided) and the next night on the floor in the school at Tamshiyacu and the food will be basic.
For $100 US per person we will provide hammock space and 3 good meals per day on the support boat. The support boat leaves Iquitos on Wednesday 18th September and will travel up the Amazon to meet up with everyone else on Thursday 19th, so its 5 days/4 nights,
Alternatively if you want to be really comfortable
there are still some nice cabins available on the cruise boat Dawn on the Amazon. Contact Bill Grimes on ; for info

Please check out the “things needed” list on ;

Another thing ! It seems to me that we have more girls
than men participating this year. Whats Up Guys ?
Too Hard for you ?

63 Dale Baskin February 16, 2008 at 1:06 am

Hi everyone,

I was captain of the winning “international” team in 2006. There’s so much I could tell you that it would fill pages, so instead I will attach a link to an article I wrote about my experience in The Great Amazon River Raft Race. If you have any questions you can contact me personally through the same website.

The nature of this race is such that it will be different every year, but I can assure you of the following:

— The phrase “The faint of heart need not apply” is applied to this race for a reason. You have been warned.
— There will probably be pain involved, often self-inflicted.
— There are wild animals. Some of them would like to eat you.
— It will be hot and humid.
— There will be beer. It won’t necessarily be cold.
— At times you will find yourself saying “What the hell was I thinking?”
— You will have LOTS of fun.
— You will makes LOTS of friends.
— You will meet lots of people from all over the world who have a sense of adventure just as twisted as yours. In other words, really cool people.
— Did I mention that it will be hot and humid?
— It will be the adventure of a lifetime.

This race isn’t for everybody, but almost anyone should be able to complete it. As Mort pointed out above he ran the race when he was 74! (Though we were all pretty sure that his team – The Over-The-Hill Gang – drank more beer than the rest of us combined.)

64 Helen Hazelman February 16, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Hi All,
I took part in the First Ever Amazon Raft Race from Santa Clara to Bella Vista,Nanay in July 1999!.The course was much shorter than todays course,and we finished it in 5 and a half hours coming in gracefully second from last.We were the only foreign team to compete but the people in Iquitos made us feel so welcome.It really was a great experience….just remember to get some good padding for your butt…Goodluck!!

65 Ross Britt February 20, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Hey Mike,

I have 8 or 9 interested Dragon Healers (see “blog” comments #45 & #47). We are meeting this weekend to confirm those who are interested. So, I’d like to register 2 rafts. If a few drop out, then we may have room for those looking for places. OR, if all stay in – then, 1 of us will be looking to join another team. Per your comment #64 on the “blog”, I’ll need the pay/banking information.

Happy Paddling,

66 Richard Finch February 21, 2008 at 11:12 am

Hello Rafters,
We ‘re on our way ! we booked our flights today with Flight Centre in Birmingham (U.K.) a great deal. Check them out.
Cant wait to meet you all in September.

67 Jeannie Zinn February 22, 2008 at 10:48 am

We want to register for the race. What do I need to do? We are from Portland Oregon USA and are very excited to paddle in your race!
I would like to confirm that the dates are Tuesday, September 16 -21 that the foreign teams need to be there. The website says the 17th – 22nd.
Jeanie Zinn
Portland Oregon USA

68 Mike Collis February 22, 2008 at 11:07 am

Welcome aboard Richard , Emma and the others.

We now have over 100 people coming and its only the 3rd week of February. So I think its a good idea for teams and supporters to start thinking about flights from Lima to Iquitos as it might be difficult to find seats if you leave it too late.

Of course it would be great if you all arrived together on the first flight Tuesday 17th September
because we could arrange for the city brass band and
native dancers to greet you at Iquitos Airport.

69 Gringa Linda February 22, 2008 at 2:58 pm

AJ (USA/MEXICO), Claudine(Switzerland), and I (USA/Mississippi) have made the big decision and will return for the 2008 race. We’re checking with Sonja (Germany) to see if she will join us, too. Perhaps you’ve read AJ’s blog of our adventure last year when I joined his group (formed the day before) on the day we were to build our rafts – not at all prepared – not even a long-sleeved shirt. In 06 I watched from the support boat! The race is an incredible feat of determination, endurance, and strategy. When I told Mick last year that I hoped to be the first person to do the race twice, he said “Once you climb Mt. Everest, why do it again?” Well, my answer is “Why not?” and now, as far as I know, we will be the first team to ever do the race twice. Three days paddling the great Amazon River is unforgettable. Sometimes now, I just close my eyes and see the river and all its glory and still marvel that I really did it. No family member knew I was participating, and I decided it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission! I will never regret it. After the race I felt incredibly happy and young (even tho I was the oldest in the 07 race). AJ was next oldest! I look forward to returning to my home of 7 years in Iquitos soon and helping Mick with race preparations. I have a jungle-lodge-style private guest house for anyone needing accomodations – folks just call it the Gringa House. I look forward to meeting everyone this year – get ready for the ride of a lifetime! Always remember – the faint of heart need not apply!

70 Gringa Linda February 22, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Oops – a typo in my previous post – should be LOS CHARROS – so sorry to my partners in crime!

71 Allison Lee February 22, 2008 at 10:16 pm


My name’s Ally and I’m a solo traveller wanting to do this race so I’m looking for a team to join. I’m Australian, 24, very fit (currently training to climb Mt Kilimanjaro after this race and have done several high-altitude treks around Cusco recently), healthy, easy going and get along with everyone. I spent 7 months living/working in Peru from May-November 2007 so my Spanish is decent and I’m familiar with Iquitos. This race sounds like a grand adventure so if anyone would like to take me on board, please let me know, it would be very much appreciated 🙂

72 Allison Lee February 22, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Oh, Ally again, I forgot to mention my e-mail is: if you want to contact me directly. Looking forward to hearing from prospective teams!

73 Mike Collis February 23, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Welcome Aboard, Jeanie Zinn, Allison Lee and of course Linda Flynn, how could there be an Amazon Raft Race without you !
I want to thank Jeanie for finding the deliberate mistake on the webpage. Jeanie when you get here you will recieve a bottle of wine for seeing that the race dates are incorrect.
Last year when I was working out the dates I did not have a calender to hand so as I did the year before its one day earlier. i.e 2006 race finished 24th September, 2007 23rd September so 2008 must be 22nd September, right ? No, Silly me I forgot 2008 is a leap year.

So here are the correct dates.

Tuesday 16th September 8.30 p.m. Rafters Get Together at the amazon cafe.

Wednesday 17th . 8.00 a.m. Support boats leave for Nauta.

Thursday 18th. 7.30 a.m. Buses with raft crews* leave for Nauta. * Except those who chose to go on the support boat.

Friday 19th, Saturday,20th and Sunday 21st are the 3 race days.

I am sorry for this error and thank you again Jeanie for pointing it out to me.

74 Steven Reeves February 25, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Hey. Myself, my brother and 2 friends definatly want to enter the amazon raft race 2008. Just wondering if having no experiance in raft racing would stop us from being able to enter. My brother and myself have about 16 years sea and river boating experiance but nothing in the way of rafts. We are having talks with our local leisure centre where we all train and they could be interested in sponsering us for charity if we would train to there schedule, and go in the local paper. What do you think? Thanks for your time, Steven

75 Mike Collis February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Hahoy there Steve,
We would just love to have you along.Don’t worry most of the rafters are inexperienced and just want to “do it”.
Don’t think about winning the locals are VERY EXPERIENCED and always win.
Please check out the website and see the joining instructions, click here;

76 Gringa Linda February 29, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Hi to Steve from Gringa Linda (see posts 73,74). You absolutely MUST join us! You’ll have an adventure of a lifetime and NO you don’t have to have experience with a raft! With your knowledge sea and river boating – you have a ton more than I had! Say I’m crazy (most do), but my only experinece included going on the Mississippi River two times (kayak and canoe) for which I had no training either! My point is… if I can do it… anyone can! Also, last year I had no plans (or training) to join a team, but was talked into it the day we were to build our rafts! However, this year, being the first team to ever raft twice, I plan to get a little bit in shape (oldest in race last year) and naturally, we will use what we learned good and bad last year! Los Charros raft again on the Mississippi Queen II – hope to see you in Iquitos! Congrats on the sponsorship – you’ll be famous and part of a very elite group – the Great Amazon River Raft Club!

77 Bill Murrell February 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm

I’am trying to get a team together from Ottawa Canada. So far we have 3. My question is, if we have a spectator(s) that comes along and take advantage of the tour boat, does the tour boat tie up at the same point that the paddlers get out of the water each day? We want to make sure that we can meet up daily.
Any tips on what teams should bring along to supplement what is given by the organizers, food, mosquito nets etc etc??

78 Mike Collis March 2, 2008 at 11:04 am

Hello Bill,
Great News, I’m sure you will will find another paddler, if not we can fix you up easy.
The support boat will always be moored alongside the rafts each night.
Most things you will need can be bought or hired here , so no need to carry equipment to Iquitos, except for life jackets or paddles, which will be provided but may not be as comfortable as your own.
I want to take this opportunity to confirm our first 2 Official entries;
Raft No.1 “Canada One” Captain, David Petroski, Fort Saskatchewan, Canada.
Raft No.2 “Chaos” Captain, Jeanie Zinn, Portland,Oregon
* Local teams do not enter until 1st July.
I would like to add , the second night’s stopover is at the town of Tamshiyacu which will be celebrating the anniversary of the town that night with a big party, now couple that with Dave Petroski’s 71st birthday the same day and we will have one hell of a party that night.

79 alan shoemaker March 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm

My wife Mariella Noriega has a Travel Agency and Guide Service here in Iquitos. When you are booking your international roundtrip, you’re much better off price wise if you just book roundtrip to Lima as the agencies outside of Peru charge way too much for the Lima to Iquitos roundtrip. We can book those for you at the local rates. We need the date and time of your arrival into Lima, your name as it appears on your passport and the country or origin. Understand that most all flights arriving internationally into Lima come in too late to make a connection to Iquitos on the same day, so you have an option of taking a hotel in Lima and flying into Iquitos in the afternoon of the next day (get some rest) or sit it out in the airport and take the 4.30am flight to Iquitos.
Mariella’s company is: Chinchilejo E.I.R.L (Solely owned corporation). Her contact info: website:
She and I (her husband Alan Shoemaker) are also guiding a group to Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley following the raft race.
It’s 6 days and begins in Lima, Peru. More details and day by day breakdown will be up on her website soon so keep checking back.
Looking forward to this crazy race again!!

80 Ross Britt March 3, 2008 at 2:59 pm


I am registering 3 crews: Healers-Green, Healers-Red, and Healers-Blue. I currently have 10 paddlers, and may be looking for some help to find 2 more to complete all 3 rafts. Mike, you provided 1 address with the Bank information. My Bank is asking for both the account holders address and the Bank address. I used the 1 address for both, but my bank may “kick” it back. So, in the meantime, please clarify (off-line if you wish). Thanks,

Happy Paddling,

81 Bill March 4, 2008 at 9:29 am

Hello everyone,

I have known Alan and Meriella for years. They have experience guiding to Cuzco. Meriella has the state of the art travel computer set up and can arrange all travel within Peru.

Meriella, correct me if I am wrong but unless our rafters and guests want to spend a day in Lima, I recommend scheduling international flight into Lima so that you arrive early in the morning, between midnight and 4 AM. to give yourself the opportunity to catch five or six flights to Iquitos on the same day as your arrival. Obviously arriving at 4 in the morning will not get you on the earliest flight to Iquitos, but leaves plenty of time for later flights with either Star Peru, Aero Condor, or the late afternoon or evening Lan Peru flights.

Bill Grimes

82 chantel foretich March 6, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Hello! I’m a long-ago friend of Linda Flynn and am trying to talk my mom into doing the race in 2008! I look forward to finalizing plans! Do my mom and I need to find two teammates to go with us or can we be paired with people?

Thank you!


83 Mike Collis March 6, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Hello Chantel,
Thank you for your enquiry.
Here in iquitos we have lots of tourists throughout the year. They arrive and find out about the race and want to take part. We have never failed to find paddlers for the teams that are short.
Take a look at comments Nos.75 & 76 and see Alison Lee from Australia is looking to join a team.

Contact Alison on ;

Also Dena Singleton on ; ;

84 Andy Flegg March 7, 2008 at 10:44 am

Myself and a few friends have been excited by the Amazon raft race after hearing about it a month or two ago.

After spending the last few weeks looking into work committments etc we are delighted to say that we would like to enter the race in september 2008.

After regularly looking at the blog i realise that there is a lot of interest this year and would like to sort our entry soon so that we do not miss out.

It will be a team of ex university rowers led by myself (Andy Flegg), all living in the South East of England, all male in our early 20’s.

Please could you send me information on how i should enter our team, where i pay the fees, and anything else that may be useful… It seems like an incredible experience and far outclasses the marathon (35 mile) rowing race that we competed in (with a degree of success!) a few years ago in the north of England!

Thank you for your time and i look foward to hearing from you and entering our team as soon as possible!


85 Mike collis March 7, 2008 at 11:27 am

Welcome Aboard Andy, We need some Brits , shame Katy’s not coming.
I have emailed the joining instructions to you.

86 David Volkmann March 7, 2008 at 12:06 pm

More advice and opinion on travel to Iquitos. Airfare does vary day to day, but a few weeks ago I booked air on Lan Peru from Lima to Iquitos, round trip, on the internet. US residents the fare round trip was $300.00 plus tax. I changed version, upper right hand corner, from US to Peru and the fare was $110.00 plus tax round trip. You have to do this at least 30 days before travel. Further more if your using frequent flyer miles on American airlines you can go free from the USA to Iquitos. American and Lan Peru on partners. 35,000 miles round trip. Lan Peru has there check in open 24 hours a day so if you arrive in Lima at 11PM like I usually do, you can check your baggage and then be free to see some of Limas night life before the 4:30AM flight. Something else to remember is most of the international flights into Lima allow you to check 2 bags of 50 lbs. each. Lan Peru only allows half of that for domestic flights unless you can prove, such as a boarding pass, that you came in on an international flight in the last 24 hours. The extra baggage is not cheap.

See you all in September. Not on a raft. At the finishing line sharing a beer with Mike.

87 David Volkmann March 7, 2008 at 12:17 pm

One more thing. That may sound like alot of baggage but we go to garage sales prior to travel and bring the maximum baggage of clothes for those in need. We carry on all of our personal items. At most garage sales we go to, the people will usually give us the clothes free, or almost so, if we tell them why we are buying the clothes. We are not missionaries or the like, but $25.00 for a hundred pieces of clothing will put a smile on alot of families.

Don’t know what to do with them when you get to Iquitos? Get in touch with me and I will distribute them or you and I can get in a motocar and go to a village and you can be Papa Noel. You will feel like a rock star when you leave as the children and mothers keep wanting to touch you as you are leaving the village. The next time you come you will be overwhelmed with there love.

88 Dena March 7, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Hey Ally –
I have quite poor Spanish and questionable judgement which is why I have a plane ticket to Peru and no team at the moment. It is also why I recently needed to be rescued by the UN Military police, but that is another story. 🙂
I am in Seattle and looking for three people to start a team. I will drop you an e-mail and welcome hearing from others who are currently Teamless in Iquitos.

89 Mike Collis March 8, 2008 at 11:35 am

Hello Dena,
Its going to be great to have you with us, and don’t worry you WILL be rafting down the Amazon this September.
Dena we are all intrigued , so you have just got to tell us how you had to be rescued by the U.N.Military Police.
Please tell all.

90 Arthur Hyde March 10, 2008 at 10:51 am

I remember that dark night back in 1978 when I walked into out local pub here in Kington,Herefordshire,England. The landlord, Vernon said” Have you seen that Arthur ?” pointing at an handwritten poster on the wall. ” Have you the guts ?” it said “To get a team together, build a raft and then paddle it for 100 miles down the River Wye and raise money for the British Heart foundation”.

I don’t know what posessed me the next day when I contacted the organiser a local insurance salesman. Well we did it, we did’nt win but against all the odds we completed the 100 miles.The race raised about 5,000 pounds ($10,000) a lot of money in those days. The River Wye Raft Race is still going strong after 30 years and has raised millions for charity.

Some of those rafters who did that first race 30 years ago decided that we should have a reunion in August this year. I wanted to track down that insurance salesman and of course invite him too, but he had disappeared. When I eventually tracked him down. he said he really wanted to be with us but he was rather busy organising The Great River Amazon Raft Race. Good on yer Mike, may the Amazon race be as successful as the Wye race and raise lots of money for charity.

Good luck to all you rafters, I’m sure you will have a great adventure and like me make lots of new friends. Oh ! by the way at the bottom of the handwritten poster it said ” The faint of heart need not apply”.

Me take part ? maybe next year !

91 Mike Collis March 12, 2008 at 11:20 am

Hello Arthur, Thank you for the comment, its been a long time.

Come on Arthur get your ass over here in September and compete. I make a pledge here on this blog now , YOU DO IT and I’LL DO IT WITH YOU !

We’re not old Arth, David Petroski from Canada is coming to do it and he’ll be celebrating his 71st birthday on the 2nd day of the race.

92 Gringa Linda March 13, 2008 at 9:34 am

Truth or dare? Mad Mike paddling the Amazon?
This is a challenge that simply cannot be ignored! Imagine the shock and joy of all the bona fide memebers of the Amazon Raft Club (past participants)!
And there would be a hell of a lot more beer on the support boat at the end of a day if Mike had a paddle in his hand!
Raft club members unite! Encourage Arthur to meet Mike’s dare! Come on Arthur – tallyho – this is a once in a lifetime opportunity – don’t wait until next year – just think…Mike paddling, sweating, fighting pain, sun and rain! What a sight to see!
I remember many of us (2008 race) asking Mike why he wasn’t participating too – well, now is your chance to pick up a paddle Mike and VAMOS! We know you are not “faint of heart”!

93 Bill March 13, 2008 at 9:58 am

Ooohhhhh Linda, I agree with you. Arthur, we are begging you, please, please. This is a great opportunity to raise more than $10,000 for charity, and for the rest of us to smile a lot. Thank you.

Bill Grimes

94 Mike Collis March 13, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Don’t listen to them Arthur, don’t listen to them.
Tell them you wanna do it and you know that WE could do it.
But unfortunately, tell em something like, your son Toby is getting married that weekend, or that you’ve already promised Annie that you’re taking her on a 2nd honeymoon to Tahiti or that you’re playing golf in the British Open at Lytham St.Annes that weekend. Tell em anything Arthur, don’t do this to me ! You owe me Arthur, Who was it who gave you your lst contract when you set up your building business ? And don’t you now have the biggest construction company in that part of England. Don’t do this to me Arthur.
You know I’ve got a bad back. Help me out Arthur for old times sake, please !

95 Wally Lloyd March 13, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Arthur, you do it and I’ll join you and Mike. I did the River Wye Race im 1979 and 1980.

96 Mike Collis March 14, 2008 at 10:12 am

Stay out of this Wally !

Kate Middleton’s not coming and neither is Arthur Hyde.

However, I believe you’ve made a $1,000 bet that you will compete this year and that you will complete the entire course. Well Arthurs not coming, so if there are any teams out there who are a paddler short then Wally is 100% motivated,has long distance rafting experience, he’s old but very fit and strong and most importantly he weighs less than 100lbs.

Contact Wally on ;

97 A.J. Rivera March 18, 2008 at 7:26 am

Raft No.8, Mississippi Queen II

Okay, we are in and on our way back for a second run at the river!

We are now officially entered: Linda Flynn (USA), Claudine (Swiss), and me A.J. (Mexico/USA). We are still waiting to hear from our forth member Sonja, (German).

For photos and a description of our 07 race go to http:\\, 07 Sep 2007.

98 Gringa Linda March 19, 2008 at 12:32 pm

And we ain’t just whistling Dixie…
Los Charros raft again on Mississippi Queen II – ROCK AND ROLL!

If you are on the fence – trying to decide – wait no longer! Join us, get your fee in before all the slots fill up for the adventure of a lifetime and a pretigious membership in the Amazon Raft Club!


99 Mariella Noriega March 20, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Hello Everyone,

Domestic flights purchased outside Peru usually cost more than those purchased inside Peru.
We have a travel agency here in Iquitos ( and we know the organisers well.
We will be pleased to help all competitors and their supporters with domestic flight tickets, and we will surely save you money.

Just email me for a quote;

We look forward to assisting you.

100 Anita Allen March 21, 2008 at 6:51 pm

I live in Florida in the US and am putting together a team and I want to enter my team for the race this year.I am looking forward to participatingin the race this year

101 Nathan Welch March 23, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Hey there Mike & everyone

It was great meeting you yesterday Mike, in beautiful Iquitos. Thanks for providing us with the opportunity to share our adventure & our success with everyone. I cant promise we will be able to make it back for the Raft Race in September but I will definitely chat to my team mate Mark about it.

For those of you who dont know, my name is Nathan Welch & I am the Expedition Leader of Expedition Amazonas. My team mate Mark Kalch & I, recently became only the 4th successful team in history to navigate the ENTIRE length of the mighty Amazon River. Some 6800km from its source high up in the Peruvian Andes all the way through to the Atlantic Ocean on the Brazilan Coastline. All done under our own power, both hiking & on an inflatable raft.

So many amazing stories to share…
The expedition pushed us both to our mental and physical limits. We narrowly cheated death on a number of occasions. To claim our ultimate prize of a complete source to sea journey, we had to overcome mother nature’s most unforgiving environments. Serious altitude sickness whilst trekking at over 5000m, snowstorms, 500km of the planet’s most dangerous whitewater, losing our raft in the whitewater & hiking barefoot through remote jungle to find it, being shot at by drug barrons and powerful tidal surges, are just some of the enormous challenges we faced.

If your interested you can visit our website or contact me directly on email:
Mike will also be publishing an article in the local newspaper – Iquitos Times.

Thanks Again Mike for the opportunity to share.

Nathan Welch
Expedition Amazonas

102 Gringa Linda March 25, 2008 at 8:29 pm

Come on yall – shall we get to know one another on this blog! I visit daily hoping to see the next post. Why not? What ‘cha doin’- wha’t ‘cha plannin’ – waz up – yall? from Mississippi/Iquitos Gringa Linda, Team #8. Los Charros, Captain A.J. Rivera, Raft Mississippi Queen II. Braang it on…yall!

103 Jim Schurman March 26, 2008 at 12:21 am

I’m a member of CANADA 1. I have a couple of questions.
1 – If I am not staying on one of the support boats do I need to bring
any equipment, sleeping bag/tent/etc. If so, do I carry them on our raft?
2 – Here, when we go boating we throw our beer in a bag and then in the river
or lake to keep it cold. Is the Amazon cold enough to do this?

104 Mike Collis March 26, 2008 at 10:22 am

Welcome Aboard Jim, the Entry Fee of $150 includes everything , but it will be basic. I know that A.J.Rivera will be bringing his own tent. Food will be included but again, this will be basic and is really aimed at the local peruvian teams. But there will be ample food for sale everywhere where we stop. If you carry beer on the raft (we actually frown on this for safety reasons) you can buy a cheap polystyrene icebox here in Iquitos and ice to keep it cold on the raft.. However there will be lots of cold beer for sale on the support boat and it will be cold. I have the responsibilty of ensuring that the beer on board will be kept at a steady -3C , I will do my best to fulfill my obligations on this part.

105 Melissa Tola March 27, 2008 at 12:12 pm

I was reading about the rafting race going on in September, and thought maybe some of the foriegn competitors might need a hostel while passing through Lima.
Maybe you would like you to consider us as an option.

“One Hostel” in Lima is centrally located in the beautifull bohemian district of Barranco, “One hostel” features newly refurbished in a turn of the century house, free wi-fi, 24 hour hot water, cable television, a dvd library, free continental breakfast, fresh linens, fresh towels, an outdoor patio, free tourist information, a child-friendly environment, full kitchen, free lockers, daily cleaning and 24 hour security.

You can visit our website to see pictures of the place and if you are in Lima you are welcome to visit us anytime.

Hope to hear from you soon

Melissa Tola

Av.Grau 717, Barranco – Lima-Peru
Telf: (511)247-7989

106 AJ Rivera March 29, 2008 at 12:12 pm


When is everything not everything? —Basic, yes.

Here is my 2007 experience as far as gear. Last year, I expected nothing and was content. Many of the non-locals expected everything and were disappointed.

Sleeping: The first night, we were provided tents, but in the rain most people woke to find an pools of water in their tent, and all of their equipment wet. Most of those in the boat slept in hammocks, a few in bunk beds. Our team, had our own sleeping gear, sleeping bags, etc… none was provided.

Food: There was confusion whether food and drink was provided the first night — our team did not eat that night. I regretted not having being prepared. I later learned that we could have purchased prepared food onboard. Breakfast was rice gruel or rice pudding, and one slice of bread. For a noon meal, you are on the river and on your own. Evening, second night out was a stop in a small hamlet, and we were provided a tuna/sardine casserole—delicious, thought they did run out, and they had to scramble to find something to eat for the last team in. (Planning?) The third night out is a good size town so you have your choice of outdoor food vendors.

Water: I did not see that potable water was provided; the non-Peruvian teams had bottled water; some Peruvians had water in containers; yet others drank straight from the river.

Equipment: On the raft, we took only what we needed and we left our packs on the support boat. The Peruvians had a plank-canoe peke-peke that carried their gear from site to site.

I hope this helps you. If you need more info you can e-mail me directly at

AJ Rivera, Team Los Charros, 20007-#22, 2008-#8.

107 Hans Alarcon March 30, 2008 at 11:07 am

Hello everyone, my name is Hans and at the moment I’m on my 2nd year at Aston Uni, which is in Birmingham (UK), but I’m actually from Peru and I live there (so me and my friends will be competing as a “national team). This will be our 1st time on this race, giving that just before tuesday we didn’t have any idea that an event like this was taking place in Peru (I guess living in the capital doesn’t always mean you get all the GREAT news)…..

Well,, I was just wondering, do you get any kind of information pack or email after registration is completed with some more detailed information or do we have to be gathering the info as it comes on the blog and website????

Best to all!!!!

108 Mike Collis March 30, 2008 at 11:39 am

Great News Hans,
Once a team has paid their Entry Fee through me or directly to the Regional Governments bank account. I scan your reciept of entry and email it to you. After that I keep in regular contact with all the team captains directly by email, the same info being displayed on this blog. As you are representing a national team I will advise you when to pay your fee, this will probably be in June. I will keep you posted.

Welcome Aboard Hans

109 Rudy Sprenger March 30, 2008 at 11:53 am

Ahoy there averybody,

I have a question ;
I see that we are provided with 8 balsawood logs and the materials to construct our raft, and this includes jungle vines to last the raft together.

My question is; Can we use plastic or nylon industrial straps instead of the jungle vines ?

110 Mike Collis March 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Hello Rudy,
What a good question about the straps. I suppose you mean like those plastic straps that electricians use to fasten cables together and some police use to cuff suspects.

Well if you can find them long enough I can see no reason NOT to allow them and that also includes those nylon straps that they use to bale up cargo etc.

The jungle vines are very good but being not used to them it takes a bit of time
to see how well they hold the raft together.

111 AJ Rivera March 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Last year, on the second day, when the vines started to loosen up, I used some parachute cord to augment the vines. Additionally, I notice some people had used nails or spikes. Plastic tie wraps would work great, and would be ideal in addition to the bark and vine strips. Legal??? I do not think anyone would say anything, unless we started to beat the Peruvian teams.

One of the foreign teams used two cargo tied down straps, one in the front and one in the back. Now one said anything, but I did notice that at the finish line, non-participating locals were scavenging / salvaging whatever materials were left behind on the rafts.

112 Bill March 31, 2008 at 10:55 am

Ahoy There Rafters and Spectators,

If you would like more comfortable sleeping arrangements, gourmet food and great wine during the race then I have a few cabins left on the Dawn on the Amazon.

113 A.J. Rivera March 31, 2008 at 12:31 pm


Speaking of raft building, we need to level the playing field. The local teams have many advantages. Look at the photograph of raft 5, at the top of the page. Notice the nylon binding, notice the cross beams, notice the tapered and pointed log ends?

Now look at the International raft, and compare the logs to the national rafts. The more kinks and bendS in the log, the more drag there is. Although we do not expect to win, we do realize that the more efficient the craft, the less energy it takes to drift down the river.

When we showed up last year, we expected a ready built raft, so all we had was a Swiss army knife, and some parachute nylon cord. The local teams had machetes, saws, hammers, axes, nails, spikes, etc… try getting that on an airplane! We had been lucky enough to find some driftwood to use as cross beams. One international team paid a local harvest wood for cross beams.

Mike, will the raft kit include cross beams? Will the support boat have any tools the international teams can use?

114 Mike Collis March 31, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Raft Building.
Yes A.J. there were quite a few shortcomings last year manly because I handed over controll to the Director of Sport, who had personal problems which I wont go into.

This year I will personally take over controll of the race, and I wii ensure ;

That all the logs and materials will be on the beach on Fishermans Island in the morning of the 18th September.
They will be put in piles of 8 and each Captain will draw for his or her pile .
No one will be allowed to start construction untill 2.00p.m.that afternoon.
There will be local men 2 for each team to construct the international rafts under the teams supervision and they will come with their tools.

Last year some local teams whittled their 8″ logs down to 6″. The rules this year
state quite clearly that only the lst and last metre of each log can be cut to make points, so the central 3 metres must remain untouched.

Regarding breakfasts and dinners on race days. We have decided to ask the 3 communities where we stop, Nauta,Por Venir and Tamshiyacu to provide these meals. Each community will be given sufficient money by the Regional Government to buy the supplies and pay local women to do the cooking. But again it will be basic, rice,beans,chicken fish etc.,

If you have questions please do not hesitate to put it on this blog and I will do my best to provide the answer.

115 Mike Collis April 1, 2008 at 10:42 am

I have pleasure in announcing the arrival of raft No.10 at the Starting Grid.
Andy flegg and his team of ex university rowers have entered with a provisional name of “Andy’s Team”. Welcome aboard Andy’s Team..

116 Ross Britt April 1, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Do I understand correctly? The logs for each raft will be pre-sorted and assigned to each team by lottery? Please confirm. If I misunderstand – then everyone please stop reading here!!! We were so looking forward to arriving a day earlier than everyone else, beating the locals to “the log pile” to get the best logs, and starting to build the raft early – all to get the advantage. Thanks a lot A.J. We had planned on surprising everybody. Now it seems that we will have to rely on our paddling…

Looking forward to your confirmation.

Happy Paddling,
The Healers,
Ross Britt

117 Mike Collis April 1, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Hello Ross,
Every year since 1999 the local rafters always find a way round the rules, so every year we have to amend the rules to make the “playing field” level as A.J.said.
Last year when the logs arrived at the beach it was chaos because the local teams rushed to select the best logs while the well mannered foreoign teams just stood there and got what was left. Then the local teams started to make their logs 2″ thinner than the stated 8″.
To make it fairer for the international teams no one will be able to select their logs, you are right Ross, and I apologise for the misunderstanding, each team will draw for thier pile of logs.
Also like I said in my comment No.122 only the front and last metre of each log can be altered into a bow or stern leaving the central 3 metres untouched.

118 A.J. Rivera April 2, 2008 at 8:08 am

No problem, you are welcome Ross! A couple of us where planning on arriving a week ahead of time!

Good work on the lottery Mike. Now just to be sure, the raft kit will include,
8 logs
2 cross beams
Soga (bark strips) or vines for binding the raft
4 life preservers
4 paddles
We have the option to bring our own Personal Flotation Devise (PFD), and paddle.

Is this correct?

You know Linda, Claudia, Sonja (maybe), and I are returning so you know we enjoyed the experience as it was last year. The only reason I bring these things up is to help the international teams, who are not familiar with Peruvian time and organization.

You say we can start building at two PM, is that military time or Peruvian time? : )

119 Mike Collis April 2, 2008 at 10:41 am

Hello A.J.,

The Regional Government has assured me that this year’s race will go like clockwork, but thats what I was told last year. This year I will be making sure everything does tick correctly as planned.
The Regional Government will include everything needed by each team for the race and that includes lifejackets and paddles. However, I would prefer that all the international teams bring their own lifejackets and paddles to be sure they are OK and comfortable.
The plan is that the logs will be delivered to Fisherman’s Island during the morning of the 18th. I have to make sure that the logs etc., are guarded so that no one can come early, select the best logs and start building. I could do that easily but I will be needed in Nauta that morning for the ceremony etc., so I will have to get some guards, preferably armed !

I think I should explain that all of us are doing this because we want to. Unfortunately the local teams are only going after the prizemoney which could be 20,000 peruvian soles (about $6,000) and for the very poor people here that is an awfull lot of money. It could feed an entire village for a month, that is why the competition is so fierce.

120 robbie April 6, 2008 at 12:37 pm

many thanks mike for the discussed i am in the process of geting a team together,cant wait to get back out to peru,my second home on the subject of geting in shape.ouch less pub more health club.ok i can do that.I have a serious love affair with the river.Great work mike.look forward to meeting and a drink in the iron bar,reg rob

121 Mike Collis April 7, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Great News Robbie !

For those of you who don’t know Rob Dowling, he is an intrepid adventurer from Ireland. Amongst his many achievements Robbie has sailed the Atlantic single handed.
I first met Robbie when he turned up here in Iquitos in April 2006. He told me he was going to travel down the Amazon River from Iquitos to Belem on the Atlantic coast. In a boat? I
said,”No”, “In a raft?” , “No” , “In a canoe ? “. “No” he said “In a bathtub ! “.
At first I thought he was mad but the bathtub had been modiefied with extra floatation and was powered by a 15h.p. motor. Robbie set off on the 8th May 2006 to start the 2,465 miles voyage. After 2 weeks he reached Brazil. The autorities kept Robbie there for 6 weeks
by which time ha had run out of time and money. Robbie gave the bathtub away and donated the motor to an indian village. Had Robbie completd that epic voyage he would have raised over $100,000 for childrens charities in Ireland and here in Peru.
Robbie is determined to complete that voyage one day , and I have no doubt that he will.
In the meantime Robbie will be putting a team together and coming to race the Amazon with us in September, again hoping to raise 1,000 s for childrens charities.
See ;

Welcome Aboard Robbie Dowling.

122 A.J. Rivera April 10, 2008 at 8:44 am

RIVER HAZARD—River Stingrays

The boat pulls up as close to shore as possible. A wooden plank is lowered into the water and the passengers start to wade in the reaming five meters to dry land. When the boat carrying the balsa logs arrived, everyone waded to the boat to unload and gather logs. I like Mother Hen, started to tell people to shuffle their feet as they waded. After a few stern looks I felt like Chicken Little, so I kept quiet. A little later, we had our first casualty.

“River Stingrays carry one or more stingers or tail spines on the top of their tails. This weapon is capable of puncturing the hide of a menacing predator or impaling the leg or abdomen of a wading fisherman. It is sheathed in a mildly venomous covering of skin which is pushed back as the point enters the victim allowing the venom to come in contact with the cut tissue. Wounds inflicted by these stingers are apparently very painful but the toxins can be broken down quickly with heat. Treatment of a stingray wound should involve immersing the affected area in water as hot as the victim can tolerate. The wound should also be irrigated to ensure that no part of the spine has broken off.”

As participants of the river raft race we will be wading in the river stingray’s prime habitat—shallow water. The stingrays are common, so DO THE STINGRAY SHUFFLE. Shuffle your feet when you walk in shallow water and probe with your paddle before you step out. -Father Rooster

123 Mike Collis April 10, 2008 at 10:37 am

Yes Folks there’s a jungle out there !

There was a report in our local daily newspaper 2 days ago, backed up by T.V. interviews. About 150 local people were travelling on a river ferry on the Pistachi River some 200 miles west of Iquitos. According to many eye witness accounts they came across an anaconda swimming midstream. Various witnesses claim the reptile was over 80 feet long. The current revord is 33 feet.
Sorry, no photo to back up the claims.

124 AJ Rivera April 15, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Where are the Aussies this year?

125 Mike Collis April 16, 2008 at 11:45 am

Allison Lee said she’s coming and she’s from Oz, I think she is already on the road.

Where are you Ally ?

Could be too hard for the men though !

126 Cameron Cumming April 16, 2008 at 7:33 pm

We are thinking of entering a team from England.
We were wondering what sort of immunisations should we get ?
If any previous teams can tell us about what they did about medication etc.when they participated last year that would be a great help to us. Also what are this years entrants doing about jabs and anti malaria protection ? Thank You .

127 A.J. Rivera April 17, 2008 at 8:04 am

I can tell you what I did. Captain of team 22-2007, team 8-2008

First, before I left, I consulted a travel physician but then, I was to be on the river six months.

Make sure your Hepatitis vaccination is up to date. I was glad I had renewed mine after stepping on a rusty rebar, while on the race.

Because I was crossing into Brazil from Peru, I had to have a valid Yellow Fever vaccination.

You can take numerous Malaria tablets. With the help of my doctor, I chose the one with the least side effects for me. I took it daily, but for the first week it made my skin more sensitive to the sun. I met plenty of people who where not taking anything, they just kept themselves cover in insect repellent. I also met a doctor studying tropical diseases, and he told me that at the hospitals where he was conducting his studies, they were getting one or two cases a day.

My doctor sent me with a prescription of antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea. However, in six months I did not have to take them. If I recall, one participant opted out one day, because she had a case of the runs—could have been the sun.

I was happy to learn that last year there were several Emergency Medical Technicians, and a couple of Medical Doctors participating in the race. I know of one doctor who will be participating in the 2008 race, and I am even more delighted knowing she will be on our team.

Fianlly, I always travel with a basic first aid kit.

128 Mike Collis April 18, 2008 at 10:46 am

Hello Everyone,
We have had a flurry of new entries this week. I want to welcome “The Florida Four” team led by Anita Allen, all from the USA.

They said they were coming, and they are, “The Brotherhood” have entered 3 teams with a possible fourth coming later. Who are “The Brotherhood”?
Well they are a group of intrepid young men in England who do amazing things to raise money for childrens charities. You must take a look at them, click here :

But where is “The Sisterhood”? Come on girls !

We now have 15 international crews entered so there are only spaces left for 15 more foriegn teams.

129 Ridhie Pryce April 18, 2008 at 10:48 am

In the beginning God created heaven and earth, animals, every crawling creature … and then when he’d finished practising on the imperfect stuff, he created The Brotherhood!

130 Andy's Team (U.K). April 26, 2008 at 6:41 pm
131 Mike Collis April 27, 2008 at 6:55 pm

A team from Tampa Bay, Florida is a paddler short. Any paddlers looking to join a team should contact me on ;

132 Gringa Linda May 1, 2008 at 1:59 pm

What should one do if rafting on the river and a very large river ship is headed your way! This happened to our team, Los Charros, last year, but our Captain AJ guided us thru the correct procedure to avoid being turned over by the wake behind the boat. As this could be dangerous, I invite Captain AJ to explain better than I can here. We did not run for the edge of the river. We turned our raft heading toward the back of this 3-tiered boat, ruddering left and right, and met the giant wake head on. The raft lifted right over the wake head-on, not on the raft’s side. We did not lose an item from our raft either. It was a thrill for sure; however, without AJ’s past experience kayaking the Amazon, none of us would have know just how to handle that giant wake. Care to elaborate, AJ?

133 Wally Lloyd May 2, 2008 at 10:23 am

Hello Rafters,

The Amazon Golf Course here in Iquitos,Peru officially opened yesterday lst May. It is the only golf course in the peruvian amazon. So if any of you rafters play golf perhaps we could arrange Amazon Rafters Golf Tournament after the race.

Check it out ;

134 Anita Allen May 4, 2008 at 11:42 am

We are still looking for a 4th member for our team. Just in case we cannot find anyone is there a possibility of getting a good member there in Iquiots to join us? I think we will sfind someone here but I am asking just in case. So now we are checking into accomodations for pre, during and post race. If there are still accomodations available on the support boat can you tell me about that and would you recommend it? What are the details? How are the sleeping areas in the towns we stay in along the way? I am trying to get an idea of the choices we have and what the details are. Also, when and if you have time can you suggest hotels, rooms etc for us before the race in Iquitos?
Are ther race categories besides local and foreign teams? men women, coed?? Anything like that?
From what I read we can have assitance if needed to build the raft? Is equipment avaialble to taper the points of the logs, etc.. What is provided to try the logs together?

Sorry I have so many questions. I am so excited about coming to do the raft race. I have never been to Peru before.

thanks for your help,

135 Mike Collis May 4, 2008 at 11:50 am

Hello Anita,
Your Questions
Regarding ; Paddler short.
I am sure you will find a 4th team member but don’t worry there are always tourists here during that time just begging to join a team.

Regarding food and sleeping arrangements during the race.
Everything is included in the $150US Entry Fee . Transport by bus from Iquitos to the Start in Nauta 18th September.Logs and jungle twine to construct the raft. Paddles and life jackets. Dinner Thursday 18th,breakfast 19th,dinner 19th,breakfast 20th,dinner 20th, breakfast 21st. On Thursday 18th rafters sleep in tents on the beach. Friday 19th in the school house in Por Venir on the floor on mattresses. Saturday 20th on mattresses in the local council building in Tamshiyacu.

Food will be basic peruvian food which is normally a cup of rice gruel with bread for breakfast. Dinner is usually rice,beans,spaggetti with some chicken or fish. However there are always lots of local women with their bar b q s selling food.

Support Boat.
The Support boat will have hammock accomodation for foriegn rafters and spectators etc. 3 good meals per day(except Sunday 21st only breakfast) will be included and I mean “proper food”.
The cost per person is $100US. The Support boat leaves Iquitos on Wednesday 17th September so you will be eating and sleeping on the boat for 5 days /4 nights.

If you want to be really comfortable with gourmet food then there are a few cabins left on the Dawn on the Amazon cruiseboat.Check out ;

Paddles and life jackets are provided but I urge you to bring your own to ensure they are comfortable.

Logs and jungle vines are provided but you are allowed to use nylon rope or plastic or nylon ties. We encourage foriegn rafters to employ local people to construct their rafts , 1, because they know how to do it, and 2.because we dont want to have foriegn rafters wielding machettes all over the place with the possibility of causing injury. Two local men will construct a raft for about $15 between them, You just givel them your design and sit in the shade and watch them.
Regarding different classes.

We always have a ladies prize but there might also be a mixed team prize.

Regarding accomodation in Iquitos before and after the race:
We have lots of hotels and hostals here in Iquitos ranging in price from $8 to $100 (5*) per night. My suggestions would be;

Economical “El Colibre” “$10 per night.
Medium range, Marañon Hotel or Jhuliana Hotel , both with a/c ,swimming pool,cable t.v.etc., about $25 per night.

5 star. Only one the Eldorado Plaza Hotel with every thing you would expect for a 5* hotel about $100 per night.
A good choice would also be La Casa Fitzcarraldo, which was the base for the famous film “Fitzcaraldo” .Check it out :
Also Linda Flynn “Gringa Linda” has a nice place with accomodation in her “Las casa de Gringa”.

Get a feel of Iquitos check out ;

Any more questions just keep em coming

136 Rudy Sprenger May 5, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Hi Mike , I am not the most computer literate but I was thinking that I would like to put a thought to any team as a private wager ( of course any $$$ is welcome ) to compete against each other will ALL the $$$$ going to a nice charity in Iquitos , As most of us know we will certainly try our best and I know we will kick a lot of ass . we could build a little fund for a good cause while having the time of our life . I challenge the US teams in particular to belly up to the bar and pledge a few bucks . Shit guys , it doesn’t have to be much and we don’t have to go crazy but each of us know that in work we have a bunch of people asking us every day to buy a pizza , a candy bar … ect . A couple of $$ might make a great difference to a scholarship or to a clinic . All said and done this race really benefits a lot of people ( Mike a good time to educate us on where the $$ go to ) , (or we might find a charity of our choice )but if it is all GOOD , guess what MY TEAM WILL KICK YOUR ASS !!!!! Dig deep @ couple bucks go a long way in Iquitos . Hey . I’m Just a average spoiled guy …. LET’s HELP

137 Audrey Louis-Enstrom May 9, 2008 at 11:37 am

Hello Mike! I hope your cataract surgery went well.

A couple things that I need to ask you. First, what time is your boat
leaving on the 17th to go to Natua. My father is trying to arrange flights
and picked one coming into Natua in the evening. I told him that it has to
be earlier unless we come in on the 16th.

Second thing is do we need to bring sleeping bags. I kind of envision this
trip as rafting and backpacking/camping.

Third, are outrigger canoe paddles allowed. I know that professional
paddles are allowed but just wanted to make sure before I go and bring one

I think that it is it for now. I would like to sign myself and a friend up
for your boat so let me know what you need from me next.

138 Mike Collis May 9, 2008 at 11:44 am

Hello Audrey,

Thank you, my eye surgery went well and my eyesight is getting better every day.

The support boat will be leaving Iquitos at 8.00 a.m 17th September, if anyone misses the boat there is a frequent bus service to Nauta which takes 2 hours and cost about $3US so they can catch up with the boat there.

Sleeping bags are far too warm for the climate here,at home I sleep with just a sheet over me, but that’s really only to preserve my dignity. Although it can get a little chilly usually between 4 a.m and 6 a.m. so a sheet would be ample. A good idea it to sew a sheet into an evelope like a sleeping bag. It would be light,will preserve your dignity too and will also stop any creepy crawlies from getting at you.

Regarding paddles ; the rules state that only single bladed paddles can be used. You are allowed to use your own professional paddles if you want.

I will start taking reservations for the support boat passengers in June.

Please don’t hesitate if you have any further questions.

139 Vicky Burns May 10, 2008 at 11:59 am

Hello I’m Vicky Burns from Liecester in England. I am part of a 4 girl team who want to compete this year. when we have sorted out our flights we will register our team.
Cant believe Davy Crockett is coming ? Is he real ?

140 Wayne May 10, 2008 at 6:51 pm

We are a group of guys in our 60’s and we anticipate winning the race! Will we need to carry our passports up river? And, will the support boats be carrying our dry gear, money, etc.?

141 Mike Collis May 11, 2008 at 10:20 am

Welcome Wayne, It will be great to have you with us, please contact me directly for your joining instructions.
Regarding passports and other valuables ; we would prefer that you left your passport and any other items of value in the safe in your hotel while you are on the river. Your gear can be kept on the support boat and you will only need sufficient cash with you to buy, beer, additional food if required and maybe to purchase local souvenirs.

142 Rudy ,Cptn Los Otorongos No 9 May 11, 2008 at 10:30 am

Hi mike , I am not the most computer or e-mail professional and certainly not the best peddler and have never built a raft but I am looking forward to competing in September . ( we are already confirmed ) . I am thinking as we talk that the locals always win ! ( you say without question , which I am intending to agree , however it might be BULL – SHIT ) I thought I might make a friendly bet with the rest of the foreign teams ( winner gives all the $$ to charity of their choice in that area ) to a challenge $$ it doesn’t have to be a lot it could be dollars collected by sponsors or dollars that each team might want to put up against opposing teams and contribute the monies to a good cause there in the area . I can tell you I am sure my team might not be the first team across the line ( we will try our best but we are going for the experience of a life time , not necessarily to win ) but I challenge your other international teams to a bet …… YEA WE’LL KICK YOUR ASS !!!!! What do you think team’s ……..are you up to a little competition that might benefit someone or one’s in the Amazon region . MIKE . The winner ( of this ) I am sure, would like some say to where the$$ goes ( probably us because we will kick ass ) but you , If these rafter respond as I am sure they will like some choices as to where and want to know that these $$ are going to a good cause . I guess the next question would be probably , how much , hell I don’t know , It would be great some day to build a school but how about a revolving scholarship ? if their are 100 teams and we get sponsors of $ 10.00 us a person or $ $ 40.00 a raft it would be $ 4000.00 us which we might create a scalorship for 1 or 2 socalorships a year that would go on forever let alone if it continues or I repeat a win in 2009 . Call your friends , get your wallets out , get involved , I be the team passing you on the river …… RUDY If were short on $$ we might only be able to help someone for a year or two !! Pretty sad that we don’t help . I think we can shock the shit out of this great time of a life time we are going to have .

143 Michele May 15, 2008 at 8:46 am

what a wanderful race!!! it needs that an italian team ahahaha, but I’m not sure I could be able to paddle in the middle of mosquitos with 90% of humidity ufff. I’m a question. How I can stay in the support boat? It is necessary of an advance reservation?

144 Mike collis May 15, 2008 at 10:31 am

Hello Michele,
Thank you for your enquiry.
We will be taking reservations for the support boat from the lst June.
The cost including food for the 5 days on the river is only $100US per person.
Demand is going to be strong so I need to know how many passengers will be on board by the middle of July so I can charter a boat to accomodate everyone comfortably.

Michele,keep checking this blog for info.

145 Mike Collis May 19, 2008 at 10:19 am

To Rafters ,supporters and spectators,

Some of you who are coming here in September for the raft race have enquired about accomodation.
Bill Grimes has written his recomendations about hotels and hostals in Iquitos with rates from as little as $5 to $150 per night..

Please check it out by clicking here;

146 Tom Richards May 24, 2008 at 11:33 am

Hello All,
My name is Tom Richards and I am the other member of Wayne(Captain Wayne)Daughtry’s team from St Petersburg ,Florida.I believe he mentioned that we are the only two committed to the race with two others who may join us.We are seeking commitments but will come to Iquitos regardless,with or without a complete crew.
I am two months older than Wayne.We are not “spring chickens”but we are motivated,and are working out to be in reasonable shape to complete the race in style.
I look forward to meeting you all in Iquitos, September.

147 Bill Murrell June 2, 2008 at 11:26 am

The Blue Dragons are a dragon boat team from Ottawa Canada. We have been competing at dragon boat events for about 8 years. None of us have done anything like this before and we are very excited about competing on the Amazon.

148 David & Micaela June 2, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Hello to Everyone from La Casa Fitzcarraldo!

Probably most of you do not know that once you are in Iquitos but would like it to feel more like the jungle or escape the noise and hassle of the city, we are located on the road (Avenida La Marina 2153) that goes from downtown Iquitos past the port Henry towards port Bellavista Nanay (from where you can go to the butterfly farm, etc.) — just seven minutes from the main plaza in a $1 Motokar.

La Casa Fitzcarraldo is known for having been where over several years around 1980 the film classic Fitzcarraldo and was produced and hosted its cast and crew. This film’s popularity is credited for reviving the world’s interest in Iquitos. La Casa Fitzcarraldo has come back to life under the new ownership by the producer’s daughter as a feel-at-home Bed & Breakfast. Also we are open every day with our Poolside Restaurant & Bar (new extended hours: open until 9 pm or later Friday, Saturday & Sunday; otherwise 9 am to 6 pm). We are undoubtedly the only private jungle oasis within or around the city of Iquitos. We have a fantastic naturally cooled pool, a nice selection of regional and internation foods & drinks, a great tri-level tree house, pool table, a small island in the back surrounded by lotus flowers, plenty of hammocks, orchids, plants, flowers, animals, Wi-Fi for your laptop and more! Only five Soles for admission, as always.

Right now there is availability during and around the raft race for our Blue Room (Mick Jagger’s), Green Room (the Kinsky Suite), Herzog’s Bungalow and the Saxer Studio. More accommodations will become available as we expand.

Check us out! (that means you too Gringa Linda!)

149 Alan La Rue June 2, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Hi friends,

My friends and I live in Lima, so we took a quick flight to Iquitos to see what is involved in the race. None of us have any boating experience, let alone rafting experience, so we really needed to see if we are up to it. Well… what an experience. We learned that the race will not kill us, but probably we will end up killing each other. We are hiking buddies, and have never had to work as a team. Imagine the scenario… four of us on a raft, each of of trying to be captain.

A special thanks to Mike Collis and Elizabeth who made the connection for us to go to the village of Padre Cocha where we met the “Invincibles” who are the local team who have won the race the past few years. People, if you can swing it, come ahead of time and hire these guys to give you some extra training. They were superb, and very very patient when dealing with absolute beginners like us. Mike can set you up. Again.. very, very recommended.

These guys spend their life between the river and working with a machete in their fields. To call them “wiry” is an understatement. If attacked by a Jaguar, the poor animal would tire of chewing and just walk away. These men are HARD! Not only that, they told us that one month before the race, they begin a tough training regimen that includes jogging in sand, push-ups and sit-ups. Unbelievable athletes.

We are looking forward to meeting all of you.

Alan La Rue (and the rats)

150 alan shoemaker June 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Besides booking your internal Peruvian flights (the agents outside of Peru way over charge for the Lima to Iquitos roundtrip), we are also leading a group to Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu following the raft race. So if you are interested, contact my wife Mariella at

151 Gringa Linda June 3, 2008 at 10:21 am

For internal flights, I registered online with LAN years ago and am able to get decent prices on these flights from Lima to Iquitos – you might want to check that out! Get a LANPASS account. They have specials, as well. Another option. Easy!

152 Dale Baskin,President Amazon Rafting Club 2006/2007 June 3, 2008 at 11:21 am

Hello Rafters,

Looks like this will be the biggest year yet! Nice job recruiting teams Mike. Unfortunately, I doubt if I will make it back this year. I recently returned to North America and need to work for a while, but I have every intention of returning to Iquitos!
Good Luck to you all.

153 Mike Collis June 3, 2008 at 11:54 am


I am now taking bookings for passengers on the Support Boat. The fare is $100US per person fot the 5 days and 4 nights. We depart Iquitos 8.00 a.m. Wednesday 17th September for the 180 klms cruise up the Amazon to Nauta where the race starts. We all sleep in hammocks, 3 good meals per day are included except for the first day when only lunch and dinner will be provided and the last day Sunday 21st when only breakfast is provided. We will have a bar on board selling cold beer and soft drinks. There will be showers on board. Competitors, supporters and spectators are invited to join us.

I will close the passenger list on 31st July.Then,during the first week of August I will charter a boat sufficiently comfortable for those who have booked. After that date I cannot take any more bookings to avoid overcrowding.

If you want to book your space or spaces then please contact me for the method of payment. I will need to know ;

Passengers names.
Passport number.

These are required by the Iquitos Port Authority before we sail.
To make your booking please e mail me at ;

Please remember ; For all raft teams basic accomodation and food is included in your Entry Fee the support boat offers more comfort and better food.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

154 Alex Weill June 4, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Hola Amigos,
Soon you will be here in our beautifull city of Iquitos for the raft race. I own Delfin Camp a lodge over 100 miles from Iquitos set deep in the rainforest on the Yarapa River.
I want to invite you to stay at my lodge after the race and relax in the jungle. I do not have touristy shows or pet animals it is completely natural. I am offering
a special raft race deal only $250US for 4 days and 3 nights all inclusive. (except alcahol), I can only accomodate 15 people so contact me as soon as possible on ;

155 Bill June 5, 2008 at 7:28 am

There are two charts on the Captains Blog that show the rise and fall of the Amazon River over the course of the year. The charts show September is the lowest water level each year.The most legible one is from 2007 Water Level is Dropping, Iquitos Peru. Above the graph is the explanation of the colored lines. It is difficult to make out the months at the bottom but know that the lowest point on all the lines are in September.
The most recent chart is Water Level, Amazon River, May 1st, Iquitos Peru. On this chart an explanation of the color coded lines is below the chart. The months are even more difficult to read but again, know that the lowest lines on the chart are in September.
The speed of the current always depends on where you are in the channel. On the outside bend, called the “cut bank” where the water is forced, the current will nearly always be the fastest. The shallow inside of the bend, the sand bar or mud bar, is called the “slip slope”, and will always be the slowest current, near zero, sometimes with a back wash.
A person on a raft or boat always wants to follow the strongest current downstream. That means paddling across the river to be on the “cut bank” side on each reverse bend to stay in the strongest current, zig zagging downstream. Your mantra should be “going farther, goes faster, and easier”. No matter how tired you feel, never be tempted to take a short cut on the “slip slope” side. You will lose speed, time, placement, and distance, and energy. I have maps of the river that we can look at before the race to explain this concept better.
Bill Grimes

156 Anita Allen June 5, 2008 at 10:42 am

Aquestion, can we use a seat (or something we invent) on the raft? Or is only cushion/padding allowed?

157 Mike Collis June 5, 2008 at 10:44 am

Hello Anita,

Thanks for your email.

You are allowed to put anything you like above the waterline of the raft. Last year some crews fitted plastic chairs ( with the legs cut off) on their rafts.

158 David Kone June 5, 2008 at 11:00 am

I have heard of this and would love to be a part of it, but I don’t have a team.

Is there anyway I can join with another group?

If you are a paddler short please contact me on ;

159 Wayne June 12, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Thanks, Bill. I really wanted to know the speed of the current in the fastest location. I’ve heard 1 knot/hr in September, 6 knots/hr, etc. If you don’t paddle at all and just steer the raft into the faster currents, will you likely move a 5-6 knots, or maybe 1 knot?

160 Tom Richards June 13, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Is it possible to buy everything we need in Iquitos?Sun block,bug spray,mosquito net,paddles,life vests,etc.Wayne and I would like to avoid having to check our luggage because of packing too much.Is there an outfitter in Iquitos?We don’t mind spending a little to lubricate the wheels of commerce in Iquitos.I think you have suggested previously that international competitors may wish to bring their own paddles and life vests.Please advise.
Tom from the Great White(Los Ancianos Guapos)

161 mike ryder June 18, 2008 at 10:49 am

hi from south africa
we cannot make this year 2008 but are def coming for 2009 . do you have any dates set for then?

Good Luck to all.


162 Dorothea Burger June 18, 2008 at 10:53 am

Hi Everyone,

I am one of Rob’s friend and it looks like that i will join you this year in the Amazon Raft Race as part of the Irish Team !!

Really looking forward to it !!!

Just looking at injections I am not sure what to take, often information websites are sponsored by Pharmaceutical companies.

Can anyone give me some advice on necessary infections?

Thanks a lot

And best regards


163 natlaquarium June 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Sounds like a good time.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore recently launched a blog ( and more specifically, an article about The Amazon River Forest Exhibit.

You can read about it here:

164 David Petroski Canada One Team June 21, 2008 at 11:10 am

I have trained these people well /// They require a private bath at 5.45a.m. Breakfast at 6.15a.m.Dinner will be at exactly 6.30p.m. Steak medium rare. This should allow enough time for us to have our chilled Martinis served on deck. White chairs, slippers and housecoats would be preferred , but we will lower our selves to a different colour if thats all you have. In the meantime would you go to the island and make sure our piles of logs are a perfect 8″ in diameter and very straight.
Thank you,


165 Bill June 21, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Hi Doro, and everyone, please check the Information Page on my web site for good advise about Health Recommendations, Travel Documents, Packing, Money, Culture,

Bill Grimes

166 Tom Richards June 22, 2008 at 2:42 pm


I wrote you about a month ago regarding the availability of some things that we could purchase in Iquitos(blog response#162).I understand that Iquitos is the largest city not accessable by road which could affect inventories and cause shortages of some items at times but,can we count on such things as insect repellant,sun block,personal items,power bar snacks,etc.
We have a third candidate who may commit soon.In any event Captain Wayne and I will see you at the Amazon Cafe on the evening of 09/16/2008.
Look forward to your response,
Sincerely, Tom

167 Mike Collis June 23, 2008 at 10:29 am

Hello Tom,

Thank you for your question. I was hoping someone else would answer your question because maybe some of our readers are getting sick of me.

Tom, Iquitos is a beautiful,safe city set deep in the peruvian amazon rainforest. There are no roads to Iquitos, in fact it is the largest city in the world without road access.Iquitos is surrounded in any direction by 100s of miles of dense jungle.
However, our city is quite modern and you can find most everything you require here for the raft race or any jungle expedition. THere is no need to carry lots of things with you when you can buy or rent it here. But to be sure get some repellant at home, here the maximum amount of deet in repellant that is on sale here is 15%. So bring some good repellant with you.

168 robbie June 23, 2008 at 12:18 pm

thanks for that mike i forgot about the 15%.My friend Doro wants after the race to spend a week with a sharmanic lodge,i recall meeting in the iron bar a healer with you last year.he gave me his card but i have lost same.have you any contact details.i want to book my buddy a week there when i head to the frontier to look for the bath,yep search goes on.kind reg rob

169 robbie June 23, 2008 at 12:20 pm

oh another question we need a net for the moseys on board the supply boat.can i buy in iquitos one for the hammock.perhaps a silly question just checking.

170 Wolfgang June 24, 2008 at 10:41 am

God mornig,
I was one of the padlers that took part in last years raft race. Actualy I was recruted by Mad mick the day before the race. When i arrived in iquitos I nevr expected to end up padling a wooden raft down the amazon,what an experience.

When the race started I just thorght abowt padling then once we had left the Maranon River and joined the amazon I imediately realised why the spanish explorers caled it The Great inland Sea. I was awe inspired by its size. Then after a couple more minutes I looked down into the brown water and I wonderd what was lurking a few centimeters beneath my but. Where the pirahnas,giant anaconders or aligators looking back at me licking there lips. So I looked up and then across the river and saw this imense wall of green, the jungle and again I thought what was looking back at me, jaguars,snakes,spiders as big as diner plates or evn human eating indians. But I servived and what an experience it was, one I will never forget it.
I do not have a team but I am going to try and get back again this year so if anione is a padler short then look out for me in the Amazon Cafe .

171 Mike June 24, 2008 at 10:51 am

Hello Robbie and everyone,

We have ,over the last 9 years, never really been bothered by mosquitos, that is not to say we could be this year. Everyone should bring some good repellant, like I said before, good repellant, with lots of deet is not for sale here in Peru so bring some with you just in case. Regarding mosquito nets, its a very good idea to take one , but buy it here, they are much cheaper than getting it abroad. That applies to most things.

I have my Mad Micks Bunkhouse and Trading Post where I sell or rent out everything you might need like mosquito nets,hats, hammocks,tents,binoculars, fishing tackle,flashlights etc.etc., you just rent it and then bring it back.
Another thing, gardening gloves, you will need to wear gardening gloves to avoid getting blisters when you are paddling. These gloves can be bought here very cheaply but when we have our 120 foriegn rafters buying them there might not be enough to go round so slip some in your luggage before you leave.

Wont be long now !

172 Doro Burger June 25, 2008 at 6:57 pm

mike is there a chance of a bed as apposed to a hammock for me I isnt sure of sleeping in one.extra charge ok.

173 Mike Collis June 26, 2008 at 11:28 am

Hello Dorothea,
Usually passengers on the support boat sleep in hammocks but the regional government is providing everyone with a mattress which you could sleep on in the support boat.

On 3lst July I will be closing the passenger list for the support boat. the next day I will be looking for a suitable boat to charter for the 5 days and 4 nights.
Some of the bigger boats have a few 2 berth cabins but usually no more than 6 cabins.
If we charter a boat with cabins I sugggest we make a list of all those wishing to sleep in a cabin and put their names into a hat and draw for cabin spaces.

Personally speaking Liz and I will be sleeping in hammocks, after all its only 4 nights and it aint all that bad and its more fun.

174 Dave Canada One Team June 27, 2008 at 10:39 am

We are for drawing the names out of a hat for the cabins if there are any on the support boat.

175 Jennifer Howard June 30, 2008 at 11:16 am

This is an inquiry to David Volkmann. I will be bringing a large duffel of goods for the locals and would love to take you up on your offer, David, to go by motor-car, to distribute these items. (soccer balls, sunglasses, clothing, etc.) We will be arriving in Iquitos on the evening of the 13th.

My husband will be racing with team “Easy Living,” and my brother and I will be on the support boat. Looking forward to helping out in any way.

Kind Regards,

176 (AMAZONCHUCK) CHUCK HALEY June 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Hi Mike
I just sent you an email to reserve a space on the boat that you are getting.Will you have a limit on the amount of people allowed on board? I will see you and Bill on 9/15 Looking forward to the fun and madness, CHUCK

177 Mike Collis July 1, 2008 at 10:26 am

Hello Chuck,
Looking forward to welcoming you aboard the support boat.
The plan is that we will accept paying passengers up untill the 31st July, then the passenger list will be closed, we will not accept any more paying passengers after that date. We did last year and the boat was a bit overcrowded so this year on lst august I will charter a boat big enough, comfortable enough and safe enough for those passengers that have paid prior to 31st July. So Chuck we do not have a limit on the number of passengers provided they have bought their ticket prior to 31st July.

At present I have 31 paid passengers so it looks like we are going to have a whale of a time.

178 David Volkmann July 1, 2008 at 12:33 pm

To Jennifer Howard,
Email me direct.

179 Susanne July 3, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Does anyone have any suggestions for flight carriers that are deemed safe for travel from Lima to race vicinity? I’ve heard mixed reviews from people who say ‘check out who to fly with’ so any advice would be warmly received. I arrived into Lima 4.15am and wondering what the chances are of a flight at that time. Many thanks, susanne (

180 (AMAZONCHUCK) CHUCK HALEY July 6, 2008 at 10:12 am


181 (AMAZONCHUCK) CHUCK HALEY July 6, 2008 at 10:26 am


182 Wayne July 6, 2008 at 11:51 pm

Got mine thru Mariella Noriega in Iquitos for US $177.80 round trip with Lan Peru. She runs a travel agency and her email address is on this blog (see blogs 83. and 89.), recommended by Bill Grimes.

183 Will Johnson July 16, 2008 at 3:16 am

Ah… not to sound picky, but a comment way up above suggested the Sisterhood landed first in France in the Channel crossing…. this was definitely not so!

184 Sandy July 24, 2008 at 10:51 am

Been to the Sisterhood’s website ( )…impressive. Cha0s had better step up their trainging now. I would love to get my hands on those bent shaft Kausuing paddles they used to cross the channel, bet they’ll bring them with them for the race. That will certainly help them pull some big water on the river.

185 Anita Allen July 25, 2008 at 8:25 am

I have a reservation for my team on the support boat. Do we need to buy & bring our own hammocks or are they provided?
If we need to buy them can we purchase them in Iquitos and mosquito netting?

186 emma July 25, 2008 at 9:30 am

yes the big paddles are coming with us, we need all the help we can get! we’ve just entered 5 sisterhood teams, so raring to go now! see you all in september

187 Mike Collis July 26, 2008 at 10:19 am

Hello Anita, Sorry but hammocks are not provided. You can purchase hammocks here in Iquitos quite cheaply or you can rent them for $1 per day at Mad Micks trading post (my place).

188 Wally lloyd July 26, 2008 at 10:22 am

Sandy and Emma,
My ex wife told me “It makes no difference what you’ve got,its how you use it that counts!”.

189 Mark Kelly July 27, 2008 at 10:21 am

Please take a look at this , its about The Brotherhood and The Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008.

190 Sandy August 1, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I have to admit, I’ve lost count… How many all womens teams this year?
1 Ch0s
4 Sisterhood

Are there anyothers out there?


191 TIM MACK August 3, 2008 at 12:40 pm


192 Mike Collis August 4, 2008 at 10:28 am

Hello Tim,
Thank you for your comment about your late brother John. Yes, I knew him, never heard a harsh word said about him, a wonderful man and a great loss to the gringo community here in Iquitos,Peru.
John was an important member of the fastest foriegn team in the Great River Amazon Raft Race 2006. When he first said he wanted to join a team I thought he was joking, and when he was not on time for the bus to Nauta I was not surprised, but as usual John was just late,he strolled up to the bus with his contagious smile. If we had a trophy for the Raft Race Personality John would have definately won it. I was wondering if your family would be interested in donating a trophy to this year’s Raft Race Personality which would be presented to the rafter who like your brother was always positive, happy and a generally an all round great person. We could call it The “John Henry Mack Trophy”, I think it would be a fitting tribute to the great man.
Looking forward to your response.

193 emma August 4, 2008 at 12:57 pm

do any veterans have any tips about what to sit on to make it slightly more comfortable for us ladies?! also what food is provided and what should we bring, we arnt picky eaters but just need some pointers

194 NIck Green August 5, 2008 at 5:45 am

Hi all
We’re four pasty, overweight, unfit blokes from London who have just entered this year’s race in search of adventure and fun. Our boat is the Mary Celeste and our captain is called Noddy, which just about says it all. We are approaching this race with a keenly honed sense of trepidation, but are confident that a few piranhas and an insect or two up your schmeckel isnt the end of the world. If anyone fancies giving any tips to the completely and utterly uninitiated, then we’d be most welcome. Whatever happens, we’ll be laughing, come what may. And we’re out to win.
Nick x

195 Tom Richards August 5, 2008 at 10:32 am

Hello Mike and fellow and lady rafters,
So many teams are from the UK..Is anybody from Wales,and specifically from Swansea?My Dad emigrated from there in 1921.I have visited Wales and saw the house where he was born.I found Swansea to be charming ,a college town on the sea and inhabited with gregarious people.There are some first rate pubs there as well.
Mike,I’ll bring a dozen used golf balls for the new 9 hole Iquitos golf club.
See you all soon,
Tom from The Great White,Raft#17

196 (AMAZONCHUCK) CHUCK HALEY August 6, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Hi Mike
What is the lastest information on our support boat/? I know you said you were stopping taking on more people,after July 31. How many are signed up for the support boat as of now.?Have you gotten a boat picked let? I can hardly wait to get back down there.If things go right I may be staying ther for good.Can,t hardly wait for the fun and madness of the race. Say hi to Bill for me

197 Mike August 7, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Hello Chuck,
Yes Chuck I officially closed the passenger list for the support boat on 31st July. We have 35 confirmed passengers. I have been looking at variuos boats over the last week and could’nt find a suitable one. I am looking at 2 boats tomorrow (Friday). We need a boat that will carry 50 people, thats 40 passengers and crew and about 8 helpers. I have been told that one boat I am seeing tomorrow is licensed to carry 60 people. If its OK and is within our price range I will charter it and then have space for a few more spectators aboard. I will keep everyone informed.

198 Pamela Bennington August 8, 2008 at 10:23 am

We are very much looking forward to coming out to Peru to meet you and of course to have the
adventure of a lifetime.

All of my Dragonboating friends that know I am coming to raft down the
Amazon now wish to do it, so be prepared for a huge turnout in 2009 !

Question for you
As our crew have not had time to practice their raft building skills, what is the cost and procedure of asking a local
to help us out with this ? I did read somewhere a while ago that local people are prepared to do this

199 Mike Collis August 8, 2008 at 10:43 am

Thank you for your question Pamela.
With this event we try to help as many of the local people gain a little bit of extra cash to help their families, this is a third world country.
We have asked the people of Nauta (the Start) to send 2 men with macxhettes etc., for each of the foriegn teams to construct their raft for them, under the team captain’s supervision. 2 men will construct a raft in about 3 hours
and I would like each team to pay the 2 men 40 peruvian soles ($14US) for their work, this is good money for them but it works out at about $3.5US per team member. Of course you can construct the raft yourself if you like instead of sipping beer in the beer tent and watching the experts at work.

200 (AMAZONCHUCK) CHUCK HALEY August 8, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Hi Mike
If the boat cost are higher for a good boat, I am sure everyone would be willing to pay a little more for the comfort.I know I would not mine. I may be getting everyone on the boat mad at me and get trown overboard.I know you will do a great job of getting us a boat. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR SEARCH
see you in Sept

201 Wally Lloyd August 8, 2008 at 4:33 pm

A favour from anyone coming over from the U.K. Could anyone get me a Logan 2000 Mat cutter? I will pay for it when you arrive.

202 Wayne August 8, 2008 at 10:40 pm

Hey, Mike. Tom and I are getting real excited about the trip; both of us are exercising in the Florida heat to get ready for the big river challenge. So far we haven’t been able to entice anyone of our older age into a vacation of hard paddling in the sweltering heat and beating off the bugs between strokes. We may have to recruit someone younger in Iquitos if you think that’s a possibility. We’re coming regardless !! We’ll be paddling with the best of ’em and plan to leave the Britties in our wake!!

203 alan shoemaker August 9, 2008 at 11:22 am

Our company, Chinchilejo E.I.R.L. (pronounced Chin-chi-LEY-ho and that’s Quechua for “DragonFly”) has been booking the roundtrip flights from Lima to Iquitos for many of the teams. Remember that the agents outside of Peru way overcharge for these flights so just book your international roundtrip to Lima and we’ll get you the best rates for the Lima to Iquitos roundtrip. Write to my wife Mariella at, give her your international arrival dates and times and departure times to return to your home, your passport number, name as it appears there and country of origin. then she can book your flights into and out of Lima to Iquitos and issue you your ETICKET CODES.
Two days following the end of the raft race, I will be leading a Tour to Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley for 6 days. Those interested in joining us should also contact for the details. Total cost is $1400 USDs. This includes everything, even the roundtrip from lima to Cuzco, entrance fees, private transportation, train, hotels, etc.. but does not include your food. No worries about that as the food here in Peru is not expensive but quite varied and this way you can eat where and what you wish.
Seems this year will be the finest race ever!!
PS. don’t forget your sunblock and a good hat!
Hats off to Michael Collis!

204 alan shoemaker August 9, 2008 at 11:45 am

the Extension Tour to Machu Picchu, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley looks like this:

Tuesday, September 23rd: Early morning flight from Iquitos to Lima, change planes and connect to Cuzco, arriving around Noon. Private Van thru Cuzco (10,000 feet altitude) down into the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo and it’s ruins, overnight here.

Wednesday, Sept. 24th: Early morning train thru the Sacred Valley to Aguas Calients (Machu Picchu village), buses up to the ruins of Machu Picchu and the entire day spent exploring the ruins. Train out to Ollantaytambo in the late afternoon. Private Van to Cuzco (1.5 hours away) and dinner at the Witches Garden in Plaza de Armas in Cuzco. Overnight in the three star hotel.

Thursday, Sept. 25th: Following breakfast, private transport to visit the ancient ruins above Cuzco – Sacsayshuaman, Tambo Machay and others returning to Cuzco for lunch. Afternoon is for exploring all the incredible shops around Cuzco. Overnight here.

Friday, Sept. 26th: Private Van into the Valley to Pisac and it’s tremendous arts and crafts fair put on by the local indigenous and mestizos. Lunch here and return to Cuzco in the late afternoon. Dinner in Cuzco.

Saturday, Sept. 27th: Following a light breakfast, a visit to the shaman and the possibility of a sacred ceremony with San Pedro. those that do not wish to participate have several options, including horseback riding near the ruins, exploring Cuzco.

Sunday, Sept. 28th: final day to get those things that you wished you had purchased and many will fly out to Lima if your international connection is to leave that evening or early morning on the 29th (many flights depart international around 12:30am).

any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. that’s what we’re here for! Alan Shoemaker and Mariella Noriega

205 Captain Noddy of the Mary Celeste August 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm

We northern european sea-faring types are scraping off the barnacles and clawing the seaweed from our hair in preparation for an aquatic adventure of a wholly different kind. we are shelving our sextants and nautical equipment and applying the deet. occasionally in these waters we encounter the odd horny catfish or rampant haddock, but we’ve heard tales of exotic beast that pose different problems – that swim up the schmeckel, that nibble your toes, that give you nasty rashes, that don’t go so well with tartar sauce. any advice for nautical types unfamiliar with these waters would be gratefully received. captain noddy.

206 Mike Collis August 12, 2008 at 10:23 am

Hello Captain Noddy,
Welcome to our blog.
Having lived here on the Amazon for 10 years I know a little about whats out there in the wilderness waiting for you.
Noddy dont worry about your schmeckel, there’s only 2 dangerous things out there . The river and ……the women

207 Terry Griffiths August 12, 2008 at 10:29 am

Hello Mike,
You mentioned on a previuos comment that we can rent or buy the equipment we need for the race in Iquitos so no need to bring it with us.
Looking at the list of entries which shows that over 100 rafters are coming now and you say you expect more.
Mike can you guarantee to enough have of the following items ?

Gardening gloves, repellent, hats , hammocks , flashlights and the most important item the form cushions for our soft european botties.

208 Mike Collis August 12, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Thank you Terry for your question.

There is plenty of stock here, plenty of gloves,torches,repellent, hammocks and the foam cushions. Everything pretty cheap too. ie. cotton gardening gloves with padded palm and fingers are $2 a pair.

I advise everyone to bring their own lifejackets with them as I cannot guarantee the comfort or quality of those provided by the Regional Government.


Paddles are provided by the Regional Government but you are allowed to use your own if you bring one.

209 Stephanie August 13, 2008 at 10:47 am

Can we bring our own materials such as drills, bolts and wire to help construct the raft?!!!

210 Mike Collis August 13, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Yes you can Stephanie

211 Rick Murrell August 14, 2008 at 12:30 pm

What are the requirements of the rafts dimentions.

212 Tom Richards August 15, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Will you be providing a list of the local teams that will be racing as well?Wayne and I have modest Spanish speaking abilities and will be trying to communicate as best we can during our brief visit to the Iquitos area.We know they will be way ahead of us in the competition but we would like to know who they are.
Tom Richards of raft#17,The Great White

213 Mike Collis August 15, 2008 at 6:47 pm

The Official Lineup as of 15th August 2008

Raft No.1. Canada One, Captain David Petroski, Alberta, Canada
Raft No.2. Chaos , Captain Jeanie Zinn, Portland, USA.
Raft No.3. Easy Living, Captain Dave Kelly, California,Texas,Hawaii, USA
Raft No.4. Healers-Blue. Captain Ross Britt, California,USA
Raft No.5. Healers-Red. Captain Janet Wong, California,USA.
Raft No.6. Healers-Green. Captain Rob Miley,California,Miami, USA.
Raft No.7. Misfit Toys. Captain Eddie Fox ,Washington D.C. U.S.A.
Raft no.8. Los Charros,Captain A.J.Rivera, Mexico, U.S.A.,Switzerland and Germany
Raft No.9. Los Otorongos, Captain Rudy Sprenger, Ohio, U.S.A.
Raft No.10. Andy’s Team. Captain Andy Flegg, south east England
Raft No.11. Amazon Quest.Captain Robbie Dowling , Ireland
Raft No.12. The Florida Four .Captain Anita Allen, U.S.A.
Raft No.13. Brotherhood 1. Captain Danny Williams ,England, Australia, New Zealand
Raft No. 14. Brotherhood 2. Captain Richard Pullan, England.
Raft No.15. Brotherhood 3. Captain Gary Corr, England.
Raft No.16. Mas ChaOs. Captain Cammy Pelletier,Portland,Oregon,U.S.A.
Raft No.17, Great White, Captain Wayne Daughtry, Florida. U.S.A.
Raft No.18. River Rats,Captain Alan la Rue , Canada and Peru.
Raft No.19. Ottawa Police Blue Dragons,Captain Bill Murrell, Canada
Raft No.20, Dogpaddlers,Captain Mikayla Frost,Fort Saskatchewan,Alberta Canada.
Raft No. 21. Sisterhood 1. Captain Emma Sayle, London, England
Raft No.22.Sisterhood 2. Captain Caroline Searle, London,England.
Raft No. 23. Sisterhood 3.Captain Susan Glenny, London,England.
Raft No.24. Sisterhood 4. Captain Laura Flegg, London,England.
Raft No.25. Sisterwood. Captain Tom Curtis, London, England.
Raft No.26. Mary Celeste.Captain NoddyHorsman,London,England.

The local teams are now signing up so we expect to reach our target of 30 peruvian teams and 30 international teams.

214 Mike Collis August 16, 2008 at 10:31 am

Hello Rick and Tom,
Thank you for your questions, I will try to answer them here.

Rick regarding raft dimensions etc.

Each raft will be constructed of a MINIMUM of 8 logs. Each log being 5 metres long and approx.8″ diameter. All materials are provided but teams are allowed to use addition materials if required. Points can be carved into the logs but only the first and last metre, The central 3 meters cannot be touched.

Tom regarding peruvian teams.

Local crews are signing up, but registration of these teams is at the Office of Tourism. During next week I will get a list of the local teams that have entered and put them on the Starting Grid.

215 Jim Schurman August 17, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Hello Michael
Jim Schurman here again, ex member of CANADA 1. I was punted off CANADA 1 and replaced by my scrawny nephew. I am now on the Dogpaddlers, captained by my favorite niece, Mikayla. I have 2 more questions;
1 – should I convert my CAN $ to PERU $ before arriving in Iquitos? Or can I access
my bank account in Iquitos?
2 – do you have the name of a good medecine man in Iquitos to put a voodoo hex on CANADA 1?


216 Mike Collis August 18, 2008 at 10:25 am

Hello Jim and Everyone,
I’m sorry to hear about your problems with Canada One.

Th only currency accepted here in Iquitos is the peruvian sole and US dollars.
There are lots of ATM machines that take VISA, MAESTRO you should have no problems getting cash.

The kind of person you want to cast a spell on David’s Petroski’s team is not a meecine man but a witch in spanish is BRUJA or BRUJO pronounced BRUKO or BRUKA. For a small fee they will do the job for you.

217 Mike Collis August 18, 2008 at 10:35 am

Information for Visitors to Iquitos

The Iquitos Office of Tourism is staffed with English, Spanish and French speakers. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Everyday.
Corner of Loreto/Raymondi
Phone/fax (065) 23-6144 / 260251

Iquitos is generally considered a safe place for travellers and residents alike. There are few reported incidents of violence, crime being mostly through theft, either by pick-pockets, dishonest vendors or scam artists, such as some money changers. Nevertheless, it is advisable not to flaunt valuables or walk alone late at night.
Tourist Police of Iquitos:
Calle Sargento Lores 834
Tel. (065) 242081 – Cel. 9935932

In Iquitos there is an internet cafe on nearly every corner, especially around the Plaza de Armas and in the last two blocks of most of the streets leading to the plaza. Prices are about two soles per hour. Some offer an international phone service as well.

Malaria is not as much of a concern as people may think. Millions of people live in the jungle, locals and foreig¬ners alike, who don’t take anti-malaria pills. Some contract the disease. Most don’t. Take repellent on jungle trips and wear pants and long-sleeved shirts.
• Yellow fever vaccinations are recommended ten days before arrival.
• Drink plenty of water and eat more salt than usual to replace that lost to sweat.
• Many locals do not drink unboiled tap water. It is recommended to buy bottled water or order purified water in restaurants.
• Curandero’s tip: any number of diseases have their cure in the cane liquor based potions available in Pasaje Paquito in the Belén market – from diabetes to hair loss to solitude. Just ask.
Banking hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings. Teller machines are open 24 hours, available in Prospero, 13a block.

It is recommended that you exchange money in hotels, banks, and autho¬rized money exchange offices, rather than with the hordes of cambistas lining the streets around the 2nd block of Prospero, just before the Plaza de Armas. There have been many incidents of theft by tricky counting, rigged calculators, bad exchange rates and false bills. Now registered cambistas wear a uniform and a badge, but there are no guarantees. Best to go in the daytime.

Iquitos specialties are huge plates of strange animals from the jungle. In any number of finer restaurants you may try alligator steaks or fried strips (chicharrón de lagarto), wild deer (venado), wild pig (sajino) capybara, turtle stew (sopa de tortuga), and various specialties from the river, including piranha (piraña) and paiche. In small towns and in Belén market you may find grilled monkey (mono).

It is customary to leave a tip according to the quality of the food and service in restaurants (not expected in street stalls or tables outside of someone’s home).

There are two markets of art and crafts. One is located below the Boulevard on the banks of the Amazon, at the end of Napo. The other is on the highway toward the airport, called the Mercado Artesanal de San Juan. Any motocar can take you there.

218 Mike Collis August 18, 2008 at 10:40 am


I am arranging for the items you will need to be brought to my shop where you can get everything in one go , either rent or buy.

Foams cushions for the raft and as pillows at night.

My shop is ; Mad Micks Bunkhouse and Trading Post , 163 Putumayo Street, 50 yards from the Plaza de Armas

219 Ross Britt August 18, 2008 at 11:01 am

Hey Mike,

Included with our passage on the support are meals. Our crews are made up of extremely big gourmet type eaters that can be discribed as ‘foodies’ from the Bay Area and we are VERY concerned about food on the support boat. So, could you please find out for us: 1.) what is for breakfast during the race; 2.) have they ever ran out of breakfast or dinner food; and, 3.) with the rafts all over the river – how do they serve lunch?

Happy Paddling,

220 Mike Collis August 18, 2008 at 11:54 am

Hello Ross,

Thank you for your questions regarding food on the Support Boat.

Meals provided;

Wed. 17th Lunch and dinner
Thurs 18th Breakfast Lunch and dinner
Fri 19th As above
Sat 20th As above
Sun 21st Breakfast only

Meal times.

Breakfast 6.00 a.m. – 9.00 a.m. *
Lunch 12 noon – 4.30 p.m.
Dinner 7.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m.

* Rafters will eat breakfast before non competitors *


Eggs,(fried,scrambled,boiled,omelette),ham,cheese,toast,marmalade, coffee,tea , fruit juice.


Chicken,beef,aligater,venison or fish with, potatoes (fried or boiled), yuca (fried or boiled),rice,salad.


Basically same as lunch but with variations.

There will be plenty of fresh fruit onboard at all times.

We can arrange for special dietary requirements with notice please.
The onboard bar will have a small selection of wines.

Lunch will be served onboard for 2 of the 3 race days Friday and Saturday.
We expect all crews to be finished by the latest 3.00 p.m. when lunch will be waiting for them. A good idea is to take a few snacks onboard the raft with you.

221 David Petroski August 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm

YES, Jim Shurman (my son-in-law) by vote was booted (punted is too nice a word) off Canada 1. Because I am 70 I instituted a very mild daily training routine. Up at 5.30 a.m. a 10 mile jog, light breakfast, then 4 hours in the gym, light lunch , 4 hours of motivational t.v. supper more gym work then in bed by 9.00p.m. He refused to do this insisted on partying , womanizing, drinking all night. We were afraid he would corrupt and lead the rest of us astray with his wicked wicked ways.
Yes he has been replaced by his scrawny nephiew,who is as pure as the “driven snow” and in northern canada that about 9 months a year. But, before this happened Jim begged and cried to be let back on the team. We relented and said yes—- But he is gone again thrown off by his son, as he would not follow the “family rules” note :– not the brotherhood or sisterhood rules. Jim thinks he has a beautiful head of hair and refuses to get a true canadian team hair cut “THE MOHAWK” –gone again.
I hope all you “BRITS” point a finger at him and go shame, shame The Bruka wont work on us as we carry american baby ruth chocolate bars in our pants to ward of evil.

222 Mike Collis August 19, 2008 at 10:52 am

I will be posting important information on this blog on a regular basis so please keep checking it.


It is most important that each crew carries sufficient water on the raft each day. Each team should carry at least 4 x 2.5 litres(10 litres)of bottled water per day . Last year some teams complained about the lack of water because they did not know there was 300 bottles on the Support Boat.

There will be 480 2.5 litres of bottled water on the Support boat on sale for $1US per bottle.

It is also a good idea for each rafter to take one bottle of Electrolite which is a fruity energy drink which will replace lost salts and minerals.
Cost $1US per bottle also on the Support Boat.

Each crew should also carry some light snacks such as potatoe chips or chocolate bars, and some oranges and bananas.

During the race you will be passing lots of small villages. When you pass these villages the local people will come out in their canoes to sell local fruit like pineapples,water melons, papaya and bananas. It will be cheap
i.e. A pineapple,a water melon, a papaya and a bunch of bananas would cost about $1.50US for the lot.
So don’t forget to carry a clean knife and some small change.

223 Ross Britt August 19, 2008 at 11:38 am

We have 3 crews; Healers Blue, Healers Red and Healers Green. We are all Dragon Boat paddlers from the San Francisco Bay Area with limited experience. Out of our 12 folks, 2 have dropped out from injury and 1 has become a ‘maybe’. I believe that we have filled 1 spot and are asking everyone we know or run across to fill the remaining 2 spots. I recall from previous blog messages that there may be others who are looking for crews to join. So, if someone wishes to join our crew, we are looking for 1 ‘certain’ and 1 ‘maybe’. Thanks,

Happy Paddling,

224 Anita Allen August 20, 2008 at 10:30 am

What is the electrical current and type of electrical outlet used in Iquitos? I’ll need to charge my camera batteries etc.. at the hotel.


225 Jeanie Zinn August 20, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Hey all,
I thought I would introduce us…. We are team Cha0s and Mas Cha0s. We are from Portland Oregon USA and are dragonboat and OC-6 paddlers. I(Jeanie) started this whole team thing by saying, out loud, that I would love to paddle the Amazon, anyone want to go with me? I never dreamed anyone would say yes! Let alone getting enough for 2 teams.
On our teams are Sandy, Michael, Beth, Katie, Cammy, Marla, Heidi and myself,(though we do have knicknames now). We have been paddling dragonboats all summer and have had hours of training on OC-6’s.
We may be experienced on the water but we are afraid that we won’t be able to keep up with the partying! Sounds like a party at all times.
Check out our website we have a sponsor too!
We are very excited and can’t wait to meet you all. Thanks Mike and Bill for all the help and questions answered so far. I am sure there will be more.
PS Mike don’t forget my bottle of wine you promised me!

226 Mike August 21, 2008 at 10:42 am

Hello Anita,
The electrical system here in Iquitos is 220 A.C.
Using 2 pin plugs.

Great site Jeanie !

227 Richard Pullan August 23, 2008 at 6:35 am

Hi Rafters

The Brotherhood have entered their 4th team. Currently we are one person short. If you are interested in joining us, or know a suitable soul, please contact us via our website

228 Mike August 23, 2008 at 10:34 am


Whenever you get off your raft in shallow water always, always poke around with your paddle and when wading do the same,like a blind person feeling the way.

Stingrays are beautiful creatures that like to bury themselves in the sand.They are just trying to make a living like the rest of us, but get rather annoyed if someone steps on them . They stick a spine in your foot which is poisonous and causes excruciating pain but is not life threatening. The immediate treatment is just as painful because hot water (as hot as you can stand) is poured onto the wound to neutralize the venom.


229 nick green August 26, 2008 at 5:13 am

hi there, we on the marie celeste are just starting to get ourselves ready. does this list of things that we think we need to bring cover it or can anyone else think of anything else we need to bring. thanks for your time x

sleeping bag
gloves (gardening gloves)
life jacket
waterproof clothes
waterproof bag for raft
wide brimmed hat
sun block
mosquito net with repellant
mosquiro repellant
paddles for boat
all in one body suit for sleeping
shoes for raft – any ideas?
wetsuit? – needed?
foam seat for raft
water purifying tablets
self testing malaria kit
head torch

230 Wayne--- Great White August 26, 2008 at 10:41 am

Have need for two young backs, male or female, to complete our team once we get to Iquitos. Respond to

231 Mike August 26, 2008 at 10:41 am

Hello Nick,
Most of the things on your list can be purchased or rented here in Iquitos, no need to carry it.

What I would like you to bring are lifejackets because I cannot guarantee the quality or comfort of those provided by the organisers.

Check this;

gloves (gardening gloves) CAN BE BOUGHT HERE FOR $2
life jacket AS SAID ABOVE
waterproof clothes BUY A PONCHO HERE.
waterproof bag for raft. GET ONE HERE.
wide brimmed hat . FOR SALE OR RENT HERE.
sun block. BUY HERE.
mosquito net with repellant. MOSQUITOS NETS FOR SALE OR RENT HERE.
mosquiro repellant. ON SALE HERE.
paddles for boat. PROVIDED OR BRING YOUR OWN.
all in one body suit for sleeping. WHAT !!
shoes for raft – any ideas? NOT NEEDED.
wetsuit? – needed? YOU MUST BE JOKING !!!
towels. BRING THEM.
foam seat for raft. ON SALE HERE, DOUBLES AS PILLOW.
shorts. YES.
self testing malaria kit. NOT NESESSARY.
knife. GOOD IDEA.

I will make sure that everything needed will be in my shop, so you can get it all in one place. I will also make sure that the support boat has these supplies.

232 Mike August 28, 2008 at 11:07 am

Hello Everyone,
Some team captains have contacted me about communications during the race, I told them we were on our own once we leave Iquitos. WRONG !

I have just found out that progress has reached even the jungle. Telefonica Peru have erected a mast about 50 miles upstream from Iquitos which means that the entire course is accessable by cellphone. You will be able to phone home from deep in the amazon rainforest! and your friends can phone you .

If you bring your own phone , you will need to buy a chip to make it work here in Peru , costs about $25. NOT A GOOD IDEA !!

A GOOD IDEA, buy 1 cheap cellphone (per team) here for about $20 (which includes) some free calls.You wont lose much if it gets wet or something.

You will be able to call me on the Support boat or Bill on the “Dawn on the Amazon” if you have a problem.
You will be able to call home and tell your family how you’re doing.
We will also be able to contact Iquitos so the latest news, positions etc., about the raft race can be posted on the blog for all to see.

Please let me know if you want a cellphone and I will arrange for the Telefonica Peru people to get the cellphones to my shop or the Amazon Cafe so you dont have to walk round Iquitos looking for them.

I am going to push them into donating a prize for the foriegn crews too !!

233 Tom Richards August 28, 2008 at 3:55 pm


I want one of those cell phones.Wayne and I could share as well as others on our raft.We were concerned about communicating with our homes during the race.This should solve that problem.I presume there are internet cafes in Iquitos and the villages as well.
Getting excited about the race.See you soon..
Tom Richards,The Great White,raft #17

234 Wayne August 29, 2008 at 10:45 am

Yeah, and maybe we could bring our computers, hook ’em up to the cell phone and stay abreast of the stock market and email from the raft. Maybe a small generator to run a fridge, or maybe a small air conditioner, too.

235 Mike August 29, 2008 at 10:48 am

Hello Tom,
Regarding internet access.

In Nauta (the Start) there is 1 internet cafe with about 12 computers.

In Pervenir (lst night of race) No electricity, no running water, no internet.

In Tamshiyacu (2nd night of race) 1 internet cafe, 12 computers.

236 TIM MACK August 29, 2008 at 11:22 am


237 Wayne August 29, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Hey, Mike — how about logo t-shirts for all the race participants, maybe the logo of yours that advertizes the race (“The faint of heart need not apply”)? I think everyone would want one, don’t you?

238 Mike August 30, 2008 at 10:34 am

Yes Wayne, we will have commemorative T shirts.

Regarding drinking water on each raft. I mentioned in a previous comment that each rafter needs to take with him/her at least 2 & half litres of bottled water per day. The Regional Government has agreed to provide one bottle per day per competitor free of charge.

239 Joe Martello August 30, 2008 at 6:49 pm


Both Fuat and I are very much looking forward to the race. I did have one question for you if you have a moment. Our plane arrives in Iquitos at 0640 on 17 September 2008, just before the support boat departs. Where exactly does the support boat depart from, so that we can grab a taxi directly from the airport to the support boat departure point ?

Thank You, Joe.

240 Jim Schurman August 31, 2008 at 12:11 am

Hello Michael
My apologies for bringing the Family Fued to your blog:
1 – if Dave could harness hot wind in a paddle he would win hands down by himself on the raft.
2 – will we be given a map of the race course or should I bring one with us?

241 Mike August 31, 2008 at 10:33 am

Hello Joe,
Thanks for your question about the Support Boat.

It is vital that the Support Boat leaves promptly 8.30 a.m. Wednesday 17th. The cruise up the Amazon takes between 12 and 14 hours depending on river conditions and we do not want to be cruising for too long in the dark.
If any Support Boat passengers miss the boat then they must go the next day at 7.00 a.m. Thursday 18th September to the Plaza 28th Julio where we have 10 buses chartered to take everyone to Nauta where they can meet up with the boat.
Joe its a shame you cant be here in Iquitos on Tuesday 16th for the Rafters Reception.
Joe it takes 20 minutes from the airport to Huequito Pier on the Avenue de Marinas where we leave from. Please write out Huequito, Avenue de Marinas so you can give it to the taxi driver when you leave the airport. There is a statue of an amazonian indian at the roadside which is at the top of the steps down to the dock.

242 Mike August 31, 2008 at 10:37 am

Hello Jim,
Don’t matter about the family fued Jim, what does matter is
who comes in first on Sunday 21st !

The Amazon changes course so much that maps are usually useless, the idea is to stay in the current all the way back to Iquitos.

You could of course check out

243 Mike August 31, 2008 at 10:43 am


Back in 2004 Bill Grimes and I founded the Amazon Golf Course, the first golf course in the peruvian amazon. The course opened this past May. It is very difficult for us to get golfing equipment here because transport costs are so high.

PLEASE, if everyone could just carry a handfull of 2nd hand golf balls in their bag ,(they cost about 1 penny each) we would have enough golf balls to last for another 12 months. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Check it out ;

244 Mike September 1, 2008 at 10:49 am

Hello Rafters,
It is a requirement of the Amazon River Authority that all vessals should fly the flag or flags of its nationality. So if your crew is multinational then all flags must be flown. Small flags will do.

So please your country’s flag with you . Thank you.

245 Sarah September 3, 2008 at 9:59 am

Hi Mike,

What items do you recommend bringing for raft building e.g. pliers, parchute chord, chisels etc? What items will be available in Iquitos to hire?

Pretty important part of the race so want to get it right!


246 Kelly September 3, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Hi mike,

Regarding the mobile phone, do they also have the GPRS system so that blackberrys can be used?



247 Mike September 4, 2008 at 10:19 am

Hello Sarah,
Bring the parachute chord but you can buy tools here very cheaply. I dont think pliers would be of any use. A hammer and a saw yes.

248 Mike September 4, 2008 at 10:21 am

Hello Kelly,
I know blackberries work here in the city but I dont know if they will work out there in the jungle. Bit expensive are’nt they, could get wet.

249 kathy Britt September 4, 2008 at 10:54 am

Hi Mike, I like the idea of the phones which we can purchase there. i would like to order one for Healers team Blue. Also as we get close to our departure date, i am both excited and scared. See you soon Kathy

250 Anita Allen September 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm

We would like a cell phone for team #12. Also, I wanted to bring an additonal camera on the support boat but not on the raft during racing. Is there a safe place to leave it on the support boat while we are paddling?


251 Marjory September 4, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Hi there. this is team Brains over Prawns and we are raising money for LimaKids ( We just found out about this race 2 days ago and we’ve signed up and already raised over $540! We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from our generous families and friends!

I’m sure we’ll have questions soon but for now just wanted to say hi.

252 (AMAZONCHUCK) CHUCK HALEY September 4, 2008 at 4:30 pm


253 Mike September 4, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Hello Kelly,
I found someone who has a Blackberry, he says it does work on that part of the Amazon.
Still, a bit of expensive kit to carry on a raft.

254 Ross Britt September 5, 2008 at 11:27 am

Howdy Mike,

The Healers (Blue, Red and Green) have a website. Check us out at Will you have something like a Thompson’s Water Seal in stock when we get there?

Happy Paddling,

255 Mike September 5, 2008 at 12:32 pm

I’m a member of a recently added team of American medical students. I’ll be arriving with a pretty tight schedule (Arriving in Iquitos in the early AM of Sept 17th). Will there be reasonable quality paddles available in Iquitos, or should I be flying in with a paddle?

256 Mike September 5, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Hello Mike,
If you are concerned about the quality of the paddles that will be provided you are allowed to bring and use your own.

257 Mike September 5, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Hello Ross, Whats a Thompsons Water seal ?

258 waayne September 5, 2008 at 7:20 pm

I just finished coating the new planks on my dock with Thompson’s; it’s a a waterproofing agent, soaks in the wood to help preserve it.

259 Mike September 6, 2008 at 10:20 am

Hello Ross,
If you mean something to reduce the amount of water the balsawood logs absorb then that is certainly a good idea. If you look at the first photo on this page you will see the current champions had painted the logs after construction. If Thompsons Water Seal does that but better please bring some, I cant find it here.

260 Mike September 6, 2008 at 10:43 am


Tuesday 16th September. 8.00 p.m. Rafter Reception in the Amazon Cafe situated on the 2nd floor of the Iron House in the Plaza de Armas.

The Support Boat “El Rey de San Pedro” will leave Huequito Dock on the Avenue de Matinas, Iquitos at 8.30 a.m. PROMPT. If you miss the boat then follow the following instructions a catch the boat up in Nauta.

Thursday 18th. The buses provided by the Regional Government will take all the competitors and late Support Boat passengers to Nauta will leave the Plaza de 28th Julio ,Iquitos at 7.30 a.m.PROMPT.

If you miss the bus there is a regular bus service to Nauta which takes about 2 hours and costs about $3US.

Friday 19th. 8.00 a.m. Start of race.

Sunday 21st . Everything should be finished by 5.30 p.m.

261 Mikayla Frost September 6, 2008 at 10:53 am

I would just like wish all my fellow competitors in the 2008 raft race Good Luck!! And We will see you all in the Amazon!

262 Mike September 7, 2008 at 11:01 am


There is no need to bring equipment from all parts of the world for the raft race when you can rent or buy most of it here in Iquitos.

I have everything ready for you at Mad Micks Trading Post at Putumayo 163/202 ,close to the Iron House.

Foam pads for seats on rafts (4 per team).
Machettes (for rent) (1 per team)
Flashlights (1 per team)
Mosquito nets (for rent)
Repellent. (1 per person)
Hammocks for support boat passengers. (for rent)
Gardening gloves. (4 per team)
Ponchos. (4 per team)
Hats . (4 per team)

Paddles will be provided but you can use your own. We have commissioned a local paddle maker to make 50 hand carved amazon paddles. Each paddle has been hand painted by local artists and coated in 3 layers of varnish so you can use the paddle and take it home as a reminder of the race, it will show a little wear and tear but that will give it more value.

Marmalita, Bill Grimes’s partner has got 100 beautiful Amazon raft race T shirts made. I have seen them and I want 3.

263 Wayne September 7, 2008 at 1:46 pm

And I’d like one, too.

264 Tom Richards September 7, 2008 at 5:17 pm

I’d like more than one,if possible.I will be looking at a hand carved paddle as well.
Tom Richards

265 Mike September 7, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Get a feel of Iquitos click here ;

266 West Hansen September 7, 2008 at 10:23 pm

I saw by the blog that the regional government will provide one free bottle of water per person per day. Does that mean that there will be no other bottled water available, other than that one bottle? Or does it mean that bottled water will be available to purchase? I guess I’m asking: Will there be bottled water available, each day of the race, to purchase or for free, in large quantities (i.e. two gallons per person)? I’m planning on bringing a good quality water filter system, but would prefer bottled water if it’s available. I’m willing to purchase it, but have found the previous statments regarding it’s availability a bit ambiguous. –West

267 Wayne September 8, 2008 at 10:02 am

West, see blog 249 for an answer to your question.

268 Mike September 8, 2008 at 10:23 am

Hello Wayne,
Sorry about the confusion Wayne. The Regional Government will provide water for every team for the whole race. The idea is that every rafter will be given a 2.5 litres in a plastic bottle on the first day. After that you will be able to refill that plastic bottle each day from the large containers of purified water.I suggest that you buy extra water in plastic bottles on that first day and then refill those bottles the next 2 days.
There will be plenty of additional water for sale on the Support Boat.
As a rule us gringos should drink at least 5 litres of water per day in this climate.

269 West Hansen September 8, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Thanks for clarifying the drinking water issue. Now, is their only one support boat? If so, then how do they hand off water bottles to the rafts in the front of the pack and the rafts that may be two hours behind? It seems like their may be a lot of distance between the lead boat and the not-so-lead boat. Does the support boat just troll back and forth between the lead and the sweep boats? Thanks –West

270 Mike September 8, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Hello West,
The plan is that all the crews take sufficient water with them.
At present it looks like that there will be at least 7 boats following the fleet so if you do run out I’m sure they wont let you die of thirst.

271 David September 8, 2008 at 7:46 pm

In reviewing the photos from previous GRARs, it’s clear that there is a high level of craftsmanship and art, honed over many years, that goes into the rafts of the fastest teams. They also seem to be able to paddle them with just as much talent and skill.

My guess is that, along with us, many of the foreign teams are excited about trying to figure out how to build – and paddle – a craft that is so foreign to us. For us, a significant and intriguing part of GRAR is to be able to build and paddle it with a style of independence and within the spirit of the competition.

As we excitedly prepare for the pre-race raft-building phase, I have two questions: Are there specific limitations as to how we can or can not build/configure our raft (i.e. can we use items like screws and bailing wire, likely available locally) and how long do we have on raft-build day to “figure it all out”? Translation: we may be a little slow, but we sure want to “sink or swim” by our own skills and inadequacies. 🙂 (Not so surprisingly, we can’t seem to find full-scale balsa logs in our back yards of California, Texas, or Hawaii)

At the end, we likely all hope to at least build and paddle something that keeps us close enough to the leaders such that, when we arrive at the final celebration, the last drops of beer aren’t too warm.

272 West Hansen September 8, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Thanks, Mike, death would definitely slow us down and perhaps put a damper on the whole team experience 🙂 We’ll pack a lot of water. –West

273 David September 8, 2008 at 10:20 pm


If needed, we’d be happy to purchase additional water in advance for transport on the support boats. with up to 60 teams X 4 people/team = 240, plus support people, those bottles would likely all disappear in the first day. I’m assuming then you’d be resupplying each day at the stops.

274 West Hansen September 8, 2008 at 10:43 pm

I say we go all “Lord of the Flys” on the whole water arrangement. Piggy! Piggy! Que the montage with music from “Top Gun”. I’m all about the montage.

275 Mike September 9, 2008 at 10:25 am

Hello David,
to do well in this race requires a number of things, stamina,teamwork,knowledge of rivers and currents etc., but yes probably the most important thing is raft construction. Raft construction will start at 2.00 p.m. on Thursday 18th and you can spend all night buiding if you want.
The configuration of the logs is important but the fastest rafts are always fastented together tight as a drum, any movement of the logs takes up energy.
You can use whatever materials you like to put the raft together , nylon rope will be provided but buy some extra, nails and screws are also a good idea.
If you check out the photo of last years winning raft you will see that they had an extra piece of wood about 2″ x 1″ x about 6 feet, fixed across the bow and stern, this keeps the logs from moving as forward movement is applied.I am going to get enough of these pieces of wood for every foriegn team.

276 Mike September 9, 2008 at 10:30 am

Every team should take sufficient water with them each day (5 litres per person). The Regional Government will provide (free) 2.5 litres per day per person so you will need extra.
We will have water for sale on the Support Boat and you will be able to buy bottled water in Nauta the day before the start and at Tamshiyacu the 2nd stop, but not in Porvenir.

277 Tom September 9, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Do you have varnish / paint in your shop in Iquitos if we want to brighten up our raft a bit?



278 Sandy September 9, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Cool Souvenirs at Mad Micks too?

So how much will these cool hand carved paddles cost? How about the ever so necessary commemorative race shirt? Just want to know how much $$ to bring along.


279 David September 9, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Thanks Mike. Great information!

280 Mike September 10, 2008 at 10:17 am

Hello Sandy,
I have just spoken to Marmalita who is producing the T shirts.She told me that this year the shirts will be top quality (unlike previous years) and they will cost 40 soles each.

The paddles will go at 35 soles each.

At present there is 2.95 peruvian soles to one US dollar.

281 Jim Schurman September 11, 2008 at 1:12 am

Hello Mike

CANADA 1 and the Dogpaddlers are heading down this Saturday and I’m looking forward
to taking on the Amazon!! We should be in Iquitos on Monday, hope to meet you and other
rafters soon after we arrive. GOOD LUCK to all


282 Sandy September 11, 2008 at 11:44 am

Wow, can you beleive this time next week we’ll all be building our rafts!!!!
Can’t wait to get this adventure started.

283 Mike September 11, 2008 at 4:35 pm

We have already discussed taking water on the raft, at least 2.5 litres per person per day.
I think it is also very important to take one bottle of Electrolite per person per day.
Electrolite is an energy drink, but most importantly it replaces salt and minerals that you will sweat out during the race. I have asked the catering people to have at least 300 bottles
on the Support Boat. I believe a bottle costs 3.5 peruvian soles (about $1.35US).
See you all soon.

284 Amie Coué Arbuckle September 11, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Hello Mike & fellow competitors!

My crew from the States is very excited to be part of this amazing race. We’re flying down in the next days from New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. See you all soon!!!



285 gary corr September 12, 2008 at 3:54 am

Well I must admit I am excited and nervous all at the same time.
I have never had to go abroad on a trip with rope and saws and hammers before.

Tomorrow I will be taking part in the great river race in London, 23 mile race down the Thames.
So the great river race in Peru on the Amazon is a great bonus, two in one month.
I must be mad

See you all soon.
Gary Corr

286 Tim Page September 12, 2008 at 11:05 am

What are the chances of their being any type of Physio on hand there?

287 Mike September 12, 2008 at 11:06 am

Don’t know Tim, but I know we have quite a few medical types with us for the race.

288 Mike September 12, 2008 at 6:56 pm


Another team has entered at this last minute.
I welcome Ben Fearn and his team.

Raft No.45. Los Sucios. Captain Ben Fearn. USA

289 Bill September 13, 2008 at 10:02 am

Hi, are you excited the great raft race is just a few days away. I know I am. A few teams have already arrived in Iquitos. Everything seems well organized, but part of the adventure is we will not know for sure until we are upstream 130 miles beyond the edge of civilization at the starting line.

I have posted a few new articles about the raft race that I think you will be interested in;

Water Level, Amazon River, Sept.1st, 2008, Iquitos Peru

Iquitos Peru and the Great River Amazon Raft Race

The Great River Amazon Raft Race Iquitos Peru

The Great River Amazon Raft Race 2005

Where Will You Eat in Iquitos Peru

When you follow these four links you will find something interesting and valuable in each one.

Wishing you the best,
Bill Grimes

290 Ben Fearn September 13, 2008 at 10:57 am

Hi everyone! My name is Ben Fearn and I’m the captain of Los Sucios from Lima. We are a team of North Americans working at the U.S. Embassy who are looking for a good adventure! We’ll see you all on Thursday!

291 (AMAZONCHUCK) CHUCK HALEY September 13, 2008 at 4:11 pm


292 Bill September 13, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Hi Chuck, consider it saved.


293 Mike September 13, 2008 at 6:31 pm

And still they come !

I have pleasure in announcing the latest arrival to Friday’s Starting Grid ,
The Aguas Noches led by Amie Coué Arbuckle .

Raft No. 46. Aguas Noches. Captain Amie Coué Arbuckle . U.S.A.

294 Mike September 14, 2008 at 10:50 am




295 Fuat Koro September 14, 2008 at 11:38 pm

Good luck to all the teams! See you all on Wednesday!

296 Jeanne September 15, 2008 at 12:39 pm

I want to wish all of you the very best in this years race. I think you are all “really crazy”. Have fun, be careful and make lots of new friends.

From a Mom who has been reading all your comments and has on of the “Crazys” racing with you

297 Ian Elliott September 16, 2008 at 7:04 am

Good luck Gary & Ginnette Corr and Pam Bemington. We’ll be thinking, jealously, of you. Have a great time and keep your clothes on.

Ian & Candy

298 Gringa Linda September 16, 2008 at 9:18 am

May be too late but here goes – I need flag from USA – if there is anyone out there who has not left or has an extra one – please look for me at the Tuesday night party at Iron House – thanks in advance.

299 Mike September 16, 2008 at 10:51 am



300 Cumaceba lodge September 16, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Hello Rafters,

we have three diferent lodges, CUMACEBA,AMAZON BOTANICAL LODGE AND PIRANHA ECOEXPLORER along the Amazon River ,Iquitos -Peru , after the Race ,rafters are invited to stop by and check out our special rates for them.

Phone 51-65 23 2229 Iquitos -Peru
Adress Putumayo Street ,184 (Iron house -below where the Amazon Cafe is)

Limny Gonzales Chuck Halley ( AMAZON CHUCK)

301 Donna Petroski September 18, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Dear Mike,
Would you please wish David Petroski Happy 71st Birthday on Friday the 19th September and I wish his team Canada One Good Luck. Also My children and Gandchildren the Dog Paddlers I send my Love and and a safe and fun journey.
With Love,
Donna,Mom and Nan

302 Joanne September 18, 2008 at 8:08 pm

hope all is going well with the Canadian Police Team.! Let us know guys how you’re doing! Good luck

303 mandy and jerry September 19, 2008 at 6:51 pm

best of luck to the blue dragon team, hope your adventure is all you hoped for, we are sure it is. Bill, look after your team and ann. we will, if possible, follow your progress.

304 Ann Hansen September 20, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Please give an update of 1st day of race.

305 Lizet Alaniz September 20, 2008 at 2:35 pm

I’d like to know how the race is progressing (per race leg). Can you please post updates and pictures of the race teams? Lizet

306 Barrie MacDonald September 20, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Anyone seen Edgar yet and the Blue dragons?

307 Brent and Deb September 21, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Paddle hard and stay safe to all members of the Blue Dragons…don’t pee in the water!!!! Looking forward to hearing all. Rick, call us when you get home.

308 Bill September 22, 2008 at 6:51 am

To all the friends and family of the participants that are worried about their loved ones participating in the adventure of the Great River Amazon Raft Race, relax, everyone is going to be alright when their blisters, sore muscles, and sunburns heel up. I am sorry we could not update the blog day to day for the race. Mike and I will elaborate on the details of the race later today and in the next few days here in the comments. As soon as I get caught up I will write a new post about the 2008 race. In my opinion it was our best and greatest race. History was made, records were set, and many of us (including me) were surprised by the outcome. Check back here later to find out who won.

Bill Grimes

309 BILL MURRELL September 22, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Bill from the Blue Dragons. We have made it through the three days. It was the hardest three days of all of our lives. The heat ws incredible for two days, the third day was cloudy but I still got burned. In total we paddled for 24 hours, with 9 hours the second day. When I say paddle, it ws constant. You could only stop momentarily for water or a power bar. If you stopped you started the drift back. We didn´t win by any stretch but we finished and we were not last and we are still alive. We have plenty of blisters, sunburns and aches and pains but all of our parts are still in place.

Brent, Rick has already left so he did not get this message to call. He will be home tomorrow mid day. Can you call Peter and let him know that we are still alive.

Barrie, Ed did make it, but he wasn´t looking so good last night. He did make it but I think he was exhausted and needs some rest! He left early this morning with Rick so I did not see him today.

Thanks to everyone for checking up on us, see you all soon.

310 Mike September 22, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Hello Everyone,
Well, they did it. All the rafters got safely back to Iquitos,tired,bruised,sore, but they are all safe.
Only 2 foriegn rafters retired , Leone of a “The Sisterhood” crew on the lst night and Tim of a “Brotherhood” team on the 2nd night. The peruvian team “Los Invinciebles” retired on the 2nd night.
The race was won by “Easy living” from the USA with a record overall time of 12 hours and 19 minutes. They were presented with a trophy and prizemoney of approximately $3,000US which they immediately divided between the peruvian teams who would have otherwise left empty handed. Well done Dave Kelly and your crew.
The “Canada One” team led by the intrepid 71 year old David Petroski were wrecked on the 2nd day when their raft, was pushed by the strong current into floating debris. They were rescued but the raft was lost. Despite their terrifying experience Dave and his crew commandered the raft abandoned by the “Los Invincebles” crew and completed the entire course. Thats what I call spirit !

311 Mike September 22, 2008 at 4:18 pm

It made the headlines here in Peru. It was on the front and 3rd page of “El Comercio” the most popular natrional daily in the country. Its in spanish but has some great photos click here and look for your friends.

312 Cleone September 22, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Hello Camilla

Anxious to hear how it is going.
We love you and are so proud of you

Love Mom and Cleone

313 Christine Brosko September 22, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Congratulations to all of the paddles and the organizers of the race! What an amazing experience it must have been! I’m thrilled that everyone is safe and sound ~ You should all be so proud of yourselves!!!

Bill, Ed, Paul and Rick (The Ottawa Police Blue Dragons)- I am so excitied for the four of you for accomplishing this amazing feat, you did! You guys crossed the finish line and met your goal … I couldn’t be happier for you guys!!! What memories you’ll treasure forever! Congrats!!! xo

314 Bill September 23, 2008 at 3:17 pm

You all want to know where your favorite rafters placed in the standings and how long they took to finish the Great River Amazon Raft Race. We should have that information posted here later today. Check back with us.

Bill Grimes

315 Bill September 23, 2008 at 10:08 pm

I was typing the standings and times from a report given to us by the Regional Government when I came across an error in the math that will dramatically change the rankings of one team. Folks, I thought about making the corrections myself, but decided my job is to report the standings, not create them, so tomorrow I will return this document, and ask for clarification. Please be patient, we want to get it right. Check back here tomorrow.

Bill Grimes

316 Georgie Sayle September 24, 2008 at 7:04 am

Dying to hear the results! I was in the sisterhood last year, my sister is the amazing Emma Sayle and would love to hear how they and the Brotherhood got on…

317 Amie Coué Arbuckle September 24, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Big thanks to Mike and his team. You hosted a wonderful event. And many thanks to the people of Nauta Iquitos and every little town in between. Our team (aguas noches) paddled non stop for 3 days and truly appreciated every time we saw people on the shores waving and cheering. The Amazon is beautiful, but the people– their warm welcome is the greatest part of this race.

In other news— where to next! We want to race again! Patagonia, Nile… racers, let us know! we’re in!

Thank you!!

Amie, Colin, Alden & Scott

Aguas Noches, USA

318 Wayne September 24, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Tom and I want to thank Mike, Ed, Juan, Elizabeth, Bill, and all those who helped organize and direct this great race. The experience was the most physically gruelling of our lives, the most challenging, and the most rewarding, with great cameraderie and spirit among all the participants. We met people who were driven to adventure, anxious to compete in a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We also wish to highly commend our raftmates, Carlos and Kennedy, who pushed us and greatly contributed to our success in finishing the race with their knowledge of the river and perpetual strength and endurance. “Hale, hale, hale”. Again, we can’t thank all of you enough for the experience.

319 West Hansen, Team Easy Living September 25, 2008 at 9:29 am

Christina with the tourism board was such a great help to our team, especially with making arrangements at the closing ceremony. We really had a lot of fun, especially hanging out with the Sisterhood and their ‘woods, our new Aussie friend, Joel, all the other U.S. teams and my co-southern drawlers from Florida. Next year (?) I’ll brush up on my Spanish, so I can talk much more with the Incredibles. They were a really nice team and tough, tough, tough. Bill’s hospitality smoothed over some rough edges for us, so he’ll have a full boat during our next visit. On a final note, y’all are all welcome to enter the 260 mile Texas Water Safari ( and the 340 mile Missouri River 340 ( They’ll be a good warm up for the 2009 GRARR. Let me know if I can be of any assistance. –West

320 Anita Allen September 25, 2008 at 10:17 am

West, Yes I am interested in doing these races and maybe the CR 100 also. Please contact me at to discuss.

321 ED HUDSON September 25, 2008 at 11:08 am

03 EASY LIVING USA 3-27 5.04 3.48 12.19
34 INCREIBLESDEPADRE C. PERU 3.34 5.20 4.07 13.01
42 LOS CUSHURIS “ 3.43 5.28 4.12 13.23
32 LOS DELFINES PERUANOS ” 3.52 6.10 4.56 14.58
17 GREAT WHITE USA 4.16 6.42 5.11 16.09
07 MISFIT TOYS PERU 4.21 6.48 5.09 16.18
43 AMAZON GOLF COURSE PERU 4.50 6.56 5.14 17.00
09 OTORONGOS USA 4.51 7.21 5.30 17.42
25 SISTERHOOD UK 4.37 7.37 5.39 17.53
38 ALEJANDO MIRANDA PERU 4.43 7.54 5.22 17.59

36 AMAZONIAN TRIPS PERU 4.35 7.41 5.51 18.07
10 BOUNTY HUNTERS UK 4.42 7.33 5.52 18.08
27 BROTHERHOOD 4 UK 4.44 7.53 5.39 18.16
18 RIVER RATS PERU 4.53 7.56 5.35 18.24
13 BROTHERHOOD 1 UK 4.58 7.38 6.18 18.54
06 HEALERS GREEN USA 4.57 7.55 6.05 18.57
14 BROTHERHOOD 2 UK 5.05 8.40 5.59 19.44
26 MARY CELESTE UK 5.13 8.35 6.23 20.11
19 OTTAWA POLICE BL.DR CANADA 5.04 8.44 6.51 20.39
28 BARCO IRIS HOMBRES HOLLAND 5.39 8.40 6.22 20.41

41 THE UNNAMED USA 6.31 9.54 6.36 23.01
01 CANADA ONE CANADA 4.48 * 5.26**
35 LOS INVENCIBLES PC PERU 3.50 5.58 ***
33 TEAM JEMPE PERU 4.55 *** ***

** “ “ USED RAFT 35

37 DISCOTECA LA NOCHE PERU 4.27 7.12 5.07 16.46
21 SISTERHOOD 1 UK 5.06 8.11 6.08 19.25
24 SISTERHOOD 4 UK 5.04 8.20 6.14 19.39
05 HEALERS RED USA 5.21 8.07 6.30 19.58
23 SISTERHOOD 3 UK/NZ 5.12 8.36 6.59 20.47
02 CHAOS USA 5.36 9.05 6.33 21.14
29 BARCO IRIS CHICAS HOLLAND 5.21 10.01 6.37 21.59
22 SISTERHOOD 2 UK 5.37 8.40* 6.11* 20.28*


44 CUSHURI 2 PERU 3.47 5.53 4.29 14.09
12 THE FLORIDA 4 USA 3.53 5.59 4.36 14.28
04 HEALERS BLUE USA 4.50 7.41 6.00 18.31
30 BRAINS OVER PRAWNS FRANCE 5.37 7.58 6.05 9.40
15 BROTHERHOOD 3 UK 5.00 8.34 6.25 19.59
45 LOS SUCIOS USA 5.11 8.51 6.20 20.22
16 MAS CHAOS USA 5.32 8.52 6.37 21.01
46 AGUAS NOCHES USA 5.56 8.41 6.41 21.18
08 LOS CHARROS USA 5.37 9.44 6.41 22.02
20 DOG PADDLERS CAN 5.30 9.45 6.51 22.06
11 AMAZON QUEST IRELAND 5.24 9.55 6.58 22.17
39 LOS ARGONAUTAS PERU 5.43 8.04 **











322 David Petroski September 25, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Congratulations to easy living on their great race. I just heard that you donated your winnings to the peruvian teams. you guys give new meaning to the word sportsmen and as a canadian I for one are very proud of you.. take care and enjoy life, David Petroski Canada 1

323 Mike September 25, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Hey Ed,
It looks like you missed us, Team 40, Los Orcas Selvajes. Thanks to all who organized! We had an amazing time.

324 Avril, Tami, September 25, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Dear dad thank you so much for giving us the opportunity of a life time. It was truly the hardest thing we have ever done but, as well the most rewarding and amazing experience to share with a family. Looking forward to seeing both of you at Christmas love you both very very much from all of us here in Peru.

325 cristina Alegria September 25, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Dear Friends,

It was a pleasure to be part of this great event. Thanks for your support all the time we spend on the race and We hope to be part of this magnificent raft race next year too. Please remember to vote for the Amazon river as a new 7 wonder of nature,please Thanks a lot. Cristina.

326 kathy Britt September 26, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Hi Mike, Ed, what an adventure. This adventure started germinating in Ross( my huasand) head last December. he mentioned that he and some guys were doing this race. I thought it was crazy ,however when one of the guys dropped out, I told him I wanted to do it. he gently told me this was not a “feather bed trip”, i promptly reminded him that I run marathons and could do this. As we got close to the date I started thinking I was as crazy as him and all of the Healers who said yes to this trip. I do not swim and am terrified of the water ( maybe i should say “was terified of the water?) Well i am back in my lovely city of San Francisco and still cannot believe I did this thing !! Our crew Healers Blue was rammed by the same tree which destroyed Canada 1 raft. it was one of those moments in life where the stuff your made of comes forth. I realized I am tougher than I thought.This was the hardest thing I ever did in my life and it was the most instructive about who I am. I thank you all and especially all the rafters we met and the wonderful people of Peru. I plan on coming back in 2010. mike i would love to help you with some organization stuff. Ed please send all photos you might have of the Healers. We want to share with our Dragon Boat team, KP Dragon Healers. Thanks again. kathy

327 Emma Collis September 26, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Hey Dad!! Just wanted to say well done on the raft race, it was great to be there and see what you have been raving on about for the last 10 years. Are you sure you are really ready to pass it on to someone else to look after?
I had a great time, it was brilliant to be back in the Amazon again and to see you.
Well done to everyone who took part! I’ll be adding pics on facebook when I get home.

328 David Petroski September 26, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Michael Collis suggested I put my request on the blog. When we crashed and were clinging to the tree, the rescue boat came and were taking pictures ou our predicument. I would like copies of these pictures to complete my library. If any one has pictures or has any ideas on how to get same I would appreciate hearing from on this blog. Thanks again, David

329 Randy Quinn September 26, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Michael Collis (aka Mad Mike) et al,

I would like to congratulate the American team “Easy Living” on the engineering of their raft, their stamina, and their perseverance on their win and on their record on the “long” raft race. That said, I think the most kudos’s go for sportsmanship in contributing the cash part of their prize to the Peruvian crews. Well done gentlemen!

I think another team that should be congratulated is David Petroski’s who snatched a personal best from the disaster of a demolished raft to rise again like a Phoenix to finish the race on a Peruvian discarded raft. Spirit over adversity!

Team Member

Over the Hill Gang

2006 First “Long Race”

Commodore of the raft – Mort Caplan (age 74)

P.S. The Mayor of Iquitos said, in his speech at the end of the race, that one of our team members was over 60. We were all over 60 one was over 70!

330 Bill September 27, 2008 at 7:11 am

John Fenner, honorary member of Easy Living, and proud father of David, wrote his eye witness articulate account of the Great River Amazon Raft Race on a laptop while following the race with Dawn on the Amazon. To share John’s view, click this link;

The Great River Amazon Raft Race, and Easy Living

I know all the participants have a story to tell. Write your version of events of the great race and email your story to either Mike or I to be published either on the Captains Blog or the Iquitos Times. I think it could be a fun project. We reserve the right to edit.

I am working on my version tentatively titled; An Irreverent Account From Behind the Scenes of the Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008. It will contain amusing and interesting stories that have gone untold until now. It will be controversial so check back on the Captain’s Blog Monday afternoon. Don’t miss the story behind the story.

Bill Grimes

331 mike September 27, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Hello everyone,
The cameraman who took the video of the race Jaime Guzzman of Channel 23 has now got some DVDs for sale. If you would like a copy please contact Jaime direct on ;

332 Bill September 30, 2008 at 6:31 am

If you might be interested in a shocking, amusing, gossipy account of the previously untold story from behind the scenes of the Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008, click this link;

Behind the Scenes of the Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008

Bill Grimes

333 emma October 1, 2008 at 10:52 am

hi bill,

just to clarify some utter crap written in your behind the scenes blog where you say….

‘We made a mistake not publicizing Prince William’s girlfriend Kate Middleton joining the Sisterhood for their rafting the Amazon charity promotion. We were sworn to secrecy, told if the press got wind of Kate coming it would ruin her chances. Kate missed the boat anyway because the Royal council considered the Great River Amazon Raft Race too dangerous. We could have gotten great press coverage announcing Ms. Middleton would participate’

at no point what so ever was kate taking part in the amazon race, she has not been invovled in the sisterhood since august last year. sworn to secrecy, royal council…..!!!!!! my arse!!!! she was never doing it and we told you this at the start of the year. i’ll happily post copies of my emails on this blog sent in january if it stops you making up complete balls!’

the skinny dipping part i can confirm is correct. photographic evidence can be seen for a small chritable donation


334 Katie October 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Hey fellow rafters,
My name is Katie and I paddled on one of the teams from Portland, OR, USA. I am looking for a photo of those ‘sweet’ elevated toilet accomodations in Porvenir. If anyone got an opportunity to take a picture of them, will you please send me a copy of your pic at Thanks!

335 Thomas Richards October 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Mike,Ed,Bill,Juan,Elizabeth and all others involved;
The news progam”All Things Considered”on NPR(National Public Radio)featured an interview with an”Easy Living”team member living in Texas(West?)at 5:50on Tuesday evening, September,2008.It was a great interview—and broadcast nationwide–what great publicity for the GRAR!Just thought you would like to know.
I am missing the Amazon,the cooling belt of the Equator.I had to put on a jacket to sleep in my hammock on the support boat because it was so cool at night.The Amazon Rain Forest produces a substantial amount of the earths oxygen.I suppose that is why it was so cool at night.I miss the sun rises as well.
Loved the people of Iquitos,Padre Cocha,Nauta,Por Venir,Tamciaku.They are in my thoughts as well as all the competitors–especially David Petroski and his family.
Best wishes to all.Fitness and energy level are everything.Stay in shape!

Tom Richards,The Great White Raft #17

336 Sandy October 1, 2008 at 6:07 pm

What an amazing, frustrating, exciting, challenging, hot, wet ride! This was a trip of a lifetime.

Thank you to all the people and teams I met along the way. Especially the Bounty Hunters, Ottowa Police Dragons, my stalker friends on the Dragon Healers, Easy Living, Los Sucios, Misfit Toys, and many other new friedns. You are what paddling is all about; community, friendship, working together, sharing a beer or two. Getting to know everyone; sharing the challenges of the river, acomodations, weather and the rest, is something I’ll never forget.

Your friendliness, generosity and community spirit will always be remembered. Thanks for everything. This a long weekend, I’ll never forget.


337 David October 2, 2008 at 1:41 pm

I just sent Katie a video file of the raised To-To’s in Porvenir. Funny what we focus our attention on and use as symbolic of certain “experiences”. 🙂

338 David October 2, 2008 at 1:46 pm

I’m creating a movie file/slideshow of our trip to GRARR. We are noticeably short on photos of other teams during race days. If anyone has 2-3 photos that capture your team in action (paddling, messin’ about at the checkpoints; Katie and the Portlanders – action shots should exclude personal involvement with the raised toilets in Porvenir) or simply expressing your unique team dynamics, please forward them to me at Thank you in advance!

David Kelly
Team Easy Living

339 David Kelly October 2, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Hi GRARR’ers,

The whole collection of GRARR experiences I will sum up with “Amazonazing!!” The paddling team (Carter, West, Mike, and me) and our tremendous support team (my wife Jen, her brother Andy, and my stepdad John) were indelibly marked in simple and profound ways.

GRARR 2008 was an incredible mosaic of experiences (adventures, giggles, straight-up-laughter, hard racing, and fun) for us all that, with time, will continue to shift and change the way it impacts each of us. We all were moved tremendously by the warm connections with the locals (the men, women and children of the river villages and Iquitos), in addition to the camaraderie and friendships forged through shared experiences with the 200+ paddlers that came from over a dozen countries.

GRARR was something akin to the wild and woolly adventures of Huck Finn – en masse and on steroids. As financial markets were melting down back in the States, elections processes put on hold, hurricanes tearing up the South, emails and bills piling up, we were quite blissfully removed from it all. It was a perfect adventure!

The cultural re-entry is taking a bit on return, as it usually does for me after these moving and rich adventures. The experience, shared with special teammates, definitely satisfied my basic 3-pronged “Cool Life Philosophy”: Do Cool Things, in Cool Places, with Cool People. We captured hundreds of photos and some video (some of which Carter has posted on YouTube and Flickr). We’ll be putting together a slideshow for family and friends.

Thanks to everyone involved! But particularly “Thank You” needs to go to the under-recognized, under-appreciated, and the “far-too-easy-to-blame-when-things-aren’t-just-like-I-dreamed-they-should-be” race support people that were up-front and behind the scenes (i.e. Mick, Bill, Ed, Christina, and the countless unnamed others). The event simply couldn’t take place without you! I’d much rather sign up for the easier job of just racing hard and suffering gracefully. Phew! 🙂

To all of you, I hope our circles, once crossed, will cross again.

In Adventure,

David Kelly
Easy Living Paddling Club

340 Katie October 2, 2008 at 2:59 pm

I plan to do the same as my co-workers want me to put on a presentation from our AWESOME trip. This weekend, all of the Portland gals are meeting to share our photos and we will have an opportunity to compile a memorable scrapbook. If anyone would like me to send photos, please let me know at As far as the the Porvenir toilets, they continue to haunt me… mostly due to the fact that Randy from Ohio kept yelling “Hey Oregon, what are those porcelain pissers out there?” as we tried to catch some zzzz’s in the schoolhouse. It was quite funny! 🙂

Katie, Portland, OR

341 David Kelly October 2, 2008 at 3:47 pm

As the MasterCard advertisement might read:
• Insect repellent – $4
• Machete – $8
• Wide-brimmed sunhat – $22
• Building a raft and paddling it down the Amazon – Priceless

342 Mike Collis October 2, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Thank You Everyone,
My last raft race certainly went with a bang.

If you join and then join the group “The Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008” there are lots of photos which I’m sure you can copy, without any complaints.

343 Bill October 2, 2008 at 9:05 pm

I have been traveling for a few days. I am happy to be back on the internet reading these interesting comments. David, I wish I had thought of the Master Card analogy. Very cute.

I want to highlight Emma Sayle’s comment #340 about another article I wrote at; Behind the Scenes of the Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008 If you have not read the article, click the link to see what all the controversy is about.

Emma, I am disappointed you underestimate my resourcefulness so much to think you were the only one I was corresponding with concerning Kate Middleton’s possible participation in the Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008. Plenty of others were more willing to gossip and speculate than you.

Google has nearly as many links to Kate Middleton and the Amazon Raft Race as to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Clearly we could have gotten enormous international press coverage, had a good story for the press, had more fun, and no one would have been hurt.

“My arse, complete balls”, thirteen exclamation marks. I should have published my observations of one member of the Sisterhood that I edited out of the story. At the time I thought it best not to let one probably pre-menstrual women tarnish the reputation of the entire Sisterhood.

Bill Grimes

344 matt October 3, 2008 at 11:13 am


as a member of a crew not linked to the sisterhood i just want to back up emma and the girls as we found them delightful, full of energy and an inspiration to other women of the western world. if my facts are right theyve raised nearly us$100,000 this year alone. i think premenstrual cracks to try and win an argument are degrading and unnessessary.

weve also googled kate and the amazon and theres a couple of things that come up based on one uk tabloid article so i’d suggest you give the girls a break!

you also shot youreself in the foot by saying other people were willing to gossip and speculate, gossip and speculation arn’t fact, land people in trouble and done by bored people. as head of the sisterhood i think emma is the one who would know her facts about kate, dont you!

they were a great group, so lets stop the playground behaviour from a mature man

345 Bill October 3, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Thanks for the good advice Matt, consider it dropped.

Bill Grimes

346 Bill October 6, 2008 at 6:10 am

You might be interested in the chart showing the water level rose nearly 3 meters from Sept 8th to Sept 24th, before and during the raft race, click this link; Water Level Up for Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008

Bill Grimes

347 ed hudson October 6, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Prefer E Mail from JAMIE or TOM CURTIS of Team 25 prefer to POST CD to you,plse send Postal Address by E Mail.

348 ed hudson October 6, 2008 at 5:53 pm


349 West Hansen, Team Easy Living October 7, 2008 at 8:16 pm

I was quite impressed by the Sisterhood gals and Brotherwood boys. I must admit they were all a bit intimidating until we got to know them. The women were beautiful and their guys looked like chiseled gorillas. Once we were able to spend a bit of time around them, we sure felt welcome and enjoyed their sense of humor. Jamie, in particular, was hilarious as were many of the gals with their jokes and dry humor. It was such a good time and we’d like to let all of them (and the Brotherhood) know that they’re welcome to come over to the colonies and give a couple of our races a try: the 260 mile Texas Water Safari and the 340 mile Missouri River 340. They’re a lot of fun and well worth the trip. and
Thanks, again for a wonderful experience. –West Hansen

350 Amie October 9, 2008 at 11:34 am

I’ve been talking to some reporters in the US trying to promote the race.
Does anyone have some good photos from this year’s race that I could forward with the press release?
Please contact me ;


Amie Coué Arbuckle


Amie Coué Arbuckle

351 Mike October 9, 2008 at 11:47 am

Hello Rafters,
I hope you have all recovered and like me are reminising about the race , long has gone the pain and stress leaving just great memories.

There as been some comments about the construction of the “Easy Living” raft, some say it was illegal. I say it was the investment of a lot of experience,brains,time,enginuity and just an unbelievable drive to win.

However, we had another raft of the same design , “Canada One” and it capsised due to its instability, and Dave Petroski and his brave crew are only alive today because they were wearing lifejackets. If we had had a tropical storm during the race like the one we had in 2006 I doubt if even “Easy Living” would have survived it, even with all their experience.

I suggest that next year the rules be slightly amended to say that ” The width of the raft must not be less than 25% of its length”. This rule
would still leave room for ingenuity but would mean that every raft would be stable.

Like I said this is just my suggestion but what to you rafters think ?

Your thoughts please.

352 Katie October 9, 2008 at 2:37 pm

You guys seem to be in alot of our photos. Send me an email to and I’ll share them with ya.


353 Katie October 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm

You guys (particularly Paul and Rick) seem to be in alot of our photos. Send me an email to and I’ll share them with ya.


354 West Hansen, Team Easy Living October 9, 2008 at 11:18 pm

The Easy Living raft was stable. We never once felt like tumping over, even in the large wakes kicked up by riverboats, speedboats and tugboats with barges. I’ve also never heard or read about anyone make a claim that the raft was illegal and can’t find anywhere in the rules where there was an infraction in the construction. No cut or splice was made more than 30″ from the end of any log, which is well short of the one meter limit (39.37″).
From all accounts I’ve heard or read, the Canadian boat was caught in a sweeper, which pushed the raft into a log jam. The jam submerged the raft, simultaneously pinning the crew against the raft by the heavy river flow. A member of our bank crew witnessed the event and helped pull the racers to safety. The incident was recounted exactly this way by a member of the Canadian team to me.
In no way do I see how the shape or construction of the raft contributed to the incident. The race administration is free to assign any restictions they see fit, however I recommend that these restrictions be made in the name of congruity and not by subjective beliefs about a raft configuration that only eight people experienced first hand. Additionally, the Easy Living raft had a substantial amount of bracing at the splices, midship, which prevented even the slightest amount of flex. This may have contributed to the stability.
–West Hansen, Team Easy Living

355 Mike October 10, 2008 at 11:05 am

Hello Wes,
The only criticism I revieved about your raft was from local people, sour grapes maybe. My answer to them was very clear “The construction of the Easy living raft was well within the rules it was legal. It was constructed out of 8 balsawood logs no less the 5 mtrs in length”

My only concern Wes is for the safety of inexperienced rafters who would be a liabilty to the race if they were on the Amazon on rafts constructed like yours.

356 kathy Britt October 10, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Hi Wes, dont know if this will add anything to the argument about the stability of your raft because of the design. I am a dragon boat paddler from San Francisco( we are so proud of your team) and we were also turned over by the sweeper and lodged under the tree trunk as Canada 1. Our raft was the traditional design, except we used giant cable ties instead of the rope we were given. We all fell off the raft and had to be assisted by Dawn On the Amazon Coast Guard guys. Part of our raft was stuck under the log. I think the water at that spot was dangerous, had nothing to do with raft design. kathy, Healers Blue

357 Mike Collis October 11, 2008 at 11:16 am

Hello Dave Petroski and Everyone,

I was enjoying my Iquiteña Extra outside Latidos Bar last evening when a runner came. He said “Mike the raft race is on the telly”. I did,nt move because I knew it would have finished by the time I got there. Later I asked about the programme, it was a local channel. I asked what it was like?
They said ” It was good but the part showing some gringos clinging to a tree in the river was very exciting”.
So Dave you were right some footage exists and I will endeavor to track it down and see if they will sell a few copies. If anyone is interested in a copy if I can organise some please contact me and I will direct you to the TV channel.

358 West Hansen, Team Easy Living October 11, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Good points about the raft designs. I’d be well behind some uniformity. Team Easy Living had a serious (sober) discussion about offering to switch rafts with The Incredibles during the last leg to provide a different experience and reduce the claim’s of “it’s just the raft”, however after looking over the Incredibles raft, we figured that we’d sink it pretty easily. Their logs were substantially smaller than our large ones and we sunk our large logs as it was. We all weighed around 200 lbs and the Incredibles came in under 150 lbs each. Those guys were tough as nails and I’d like to get them to Texas to do the Texas Water Safari, just for the cultural experience. If their tourism board could foot part of the bill, maybe we could make it happen. –West

359 David Petroski October 13, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Today October 13th is Canadian Thanksgiving. And I for one have a lot to be thankful for.
Congratulations once again to West Hansen and the easy living team for their great ackomplishment.
About one month prior to the race I checked with Michael Collis for clarification on building our raft. He gave me the rules and we designed our raft ( Canada 1 ) accordingly. It made sense to us a raft 29 ft long and 3 ft wide would be faster than a rectangular block. Because we did not complete the race their was no mention of us having an illegal raft, as were the Americans. Neither raft was illegal as we followed the rules given to us.
I want to clarify now that our raft was very stable, and on the test day we tried to roll it in about 3 ft of water and could not. We would all have fallen off before it would roll. Our raft was faster in dead or flat water but more difficult to control in fast water. Our borrowed conventional raft in my opinion was easier to control at all times.
Our crash had nothing to do with stability but was caused by what the americans term a “sweeper” We were about 20ft from shore in very fast water and the tree was about 10ft from shore. It took about 5 seconds for the cross current water to slam us very hard into the tree. We were completely helpless, and had we had 20 paddlers backbaddling on our raft it wouden’t have helped. It was totally our fault for being to close and following the fast water. We are “gringos” you know and we put ourselves in a very dangerous situation and could have easily drowned. Unless you were there you cant believe the power of that water as it was sucking us under . ( If you want more details email me at The rescue boats were on us within 10 minutes…—Thanks guys— Again had we been on a conventional raft I am sure the same thing would have happened as it did to the Blue Healers. We were just to close and the side current to strong.
If the Amazon committe wants to change the rules for next year ie. minimum width of raft, or use wooden paddlers only, that is their perogative as it is their race and their river. But the rules again should be very clear to all.
In closing if any of you rafters have any pictures of our rafts I would appreciate same as we have none. Thank you

360 West Hansen, Team Easy Living October 14, 2008 at 7:19 am

That river cut was full of some pretty fast water shoving against the outside bank. We skirted that outside line and our speed increased from 2-3 miles per hour. I can’t imagine what y’all went through with all that water shoving y’all against the raft as it was sounding the dive alert. Glad y’all are here to tell the exciting tale.

On another note, I’d like to get ahold of Christina, who was the representative from the tourism board, I believe. If anyone has her number or e-mail address, I’d sure appreciate forwarding it to me at . I’d like to get the Incredible up here in Texas to join a team next year. –West

361 Mike October 14, 2008 at 10:29 am

Hello West,
I will email you Cristina’s private email address in a few minutes.

362 Mike October 14, 2008 at 10:41 am

Hello Dave Petroski and Everyone,

Last evening the people from Amazonica Television came round and I watched the fantastic film they had made about the raft race.
It lasts about an hour, is professionally done and I thought it was fabulous.
Every team was shown, including team name, captain and nationality.
The film starts off with leaving by bus for Nauta. The civic ceremony, raft construction.The race start on Friday followed by footage of our stay in Porvenir. The next day and then the ceremony in Tamshiyacu where you can see David Kelly dancing with the local typical dancers. The last day’s racing and the finish and the prizegiving ceremony. BUT the best part of all is of Dave Petroski and his Canada One team clinging for dear life to a tree in the river after their raft wreck, and then them being rescued by Bills boat and the coastguard, then the lifeguards treating Dave’s crew. Very exciting stuff.

I think this film is great, its in spanish except fot the parts where my daughter Emma was translating for the interviews. Has great backing music too.

They are selling these DVDs @ $35US each including post and packing,If you would like a copy then please contact Lorena directly on

363 Ross Britt October 14, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Is this the same video shot by Jaime from Channel 23 referred to in comment 337, infra?

364 Ross Britt October 14, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Oops! Sorry, I got my “infra” and “supra” mixed up. Comment 370 should read “Is this the same video shot by Jaime from Channel 23 referred to in
comment 337, supra?”

365 Mike October 14, 2008 at 6:40 pm

No this is a completely different film and its much better. I saw it last night for the first time, very,very good.

366 Bill October 19, 2008 at 8:13 pm

My photos of the Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008 are now posted on the

Dawn on the Amazon Flickr Photo Gallery

For a few days or weeks they will be the at the top of my photo stream. Later (and now) you can find them near the bottom of the page and on the second page in this set of photos titled

The Great Amazon River Raft Race

I meant to have photos of every raft and crew member but missed some. I hope you see a great photo of you and your crew and raft. If you would like a copy send me an email from the contact Bill page of the Captains Blog and ask for the specific photo number. I will send it to you within a few days.

Bill Grimes

367 Craig O'Mara October 22, 2008 at 5:18 pm

What an experience!!

I’ve hosted some of my pics up on Facebook which you can access on the following links. They’re mostly of the Brotherhood and Sisterhood so will get another album up of the best of the rest soon.

Hope you like them,

368 Mike October 23, 2008 at 11:17 am

Thank You Bill and Craig,

Great Photos !

369 Tom Richards October 25, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Hi Mike,

The dvd arrived today,Saturday,10/25/2008.I have viewed it already and I love it.It was well produced under very difficult conditions.Great shot of David Petroski being rescued….it shows the power of the Amazon if one strays from the main current.And to compete the next day….Mr Petroski has “cojones*.
Please thank Lorena for me,and thanks to you as well.
My son has discussed this race with some of his colleagues and they may be doing it next year.I will show him this dvd.In just a little more than 22 minutes it provides a good look at what the Great River Amazon Raft Race would be like.

370 Gringa Linda October 26, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Do you have a photo of the entire group for this year’s race? Where is it posted? Would love to see the photo – please reply.

371 Sandy October 27, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Missing Email Addresses =-o

Good Morning,
I’ve looked and looked, but I seem to have lost my note book with the email addresses for several of you that I met during the race. I was hoping to follow up on conversations we had. Please feel free to drop me a line at sandyttfn at hotmail.

Mas Cha0s

372 Mike Collis October 27, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Hello Linda,
No I don’t have a group photo that is complete. the one I’ve got is missing at least half of our group. I would love a complete photo if anyone has one , if only for the hysterical record.

373 Mike Collis October 28, 2008 at 10:56 am

Hello Sandy,
Its a shame that you have lost some contact addresses. We had the pleasure of meeting some really wonderful people and its nice to keep in contact.

Please join us on and then join our group “The Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008”. Nearly everyone is on there , so you can contact them. There are also some great photos and videos of the race and you can post your own too.

374 Glen Burnie Maryland Plastic Surgery November 2, 2008 at 1:04 am

This sounds like a tremendously good time and worth the effort to prepare for and complete. Such a wonderful down-river trip it must be.

375 mike Collis November 27, 2008 at 10:17 am

We have moved to the Amazon Raft race 2009 blog;
Just click here ;

376 chuck haley December 15, 2008 at 10:45 am


377 lee stewart December 17, 2008 at 11:36 am

Where can we sign up please for the 2009 boat race????
We are a British team made up of four fun loving lads from the four corners of England.

Best regards,
Lee Stewart

378 Robert Derkash February 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Amie and Colin from LA did it last year and had the time of their life. How do I sign up for 2009? Bob Derkash

379 David Johansen February 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm

sounds like great fun

380 Paul Opp April 6, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Did you guys take my posts off the blog or can I just not find them? I thought maybe offering some support in the area of boat and housing would be a good thing! No?
I would still like to enter the race with an organization team and put a link from my website to the races official web site. Can you tell me what that is? Is this it?
Also, What are the exact dates for 2009?

381 Chase December 17, 2010 at 12:57 am

I was wondering if anyone has information on solo kayaking trips down the whole length of the amazon. Are there permits required?

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