Barry firefighter who rowed Atlantic set for Amazon challenge
10:10am Tuesday 26th February 2013 in News
ATLANTIC rower John Haskell has announced he is swapping the ocean for the Amazon basin as part of his next intrepid adventure early in 2014.
The former Barry fire station firefighter, currently based in Ely, together with Colombian Nicolas Carvajal are hoping to make the Guinness Book of World Records for the first unsupported descent of the Amazon in a kayak and the longest unsupported kayak journey.
The 44-year-old last year visited the Amazon as a member of the safety crew working on the 250km Jungle Marathon where he avoided piranha, snakes, jaguars and tarantula attack, but was savaged by ants!
Dad-of-two John and colleague Nicolas will this time also run into Bandit country as they embark on their incredible charity fundraising mission that will see main sponsor Spinal Research and the Firefighters charities benefit.
The pair, who met in Southampton when John was doing courses necessary for his 2011/12 Atlantic Row plan to and climb up the 5,597ft peak - Nevado Mismi, in the Andes - and trek to the most distant source, agreed in 1996, before a 4000 mile kayak along the length of the Amazon.
Internationally acclaimed 68-year-old explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has pledged support for their challenge that they hope to kick off next February with preparation and fundraising scheduled for the year ahead. John said: "The one I'm really worried about is the climb - there's altitude and snow and in the summer it's easy enough, but to get to the river we've got to do it at that time.
"Bandits are a big problem - there were a couple of people shot and there's the Bush tucker snake, spiders, scorpions and all those creepy crawlies."
Since completing his Talisker Whiskey Atlantic challenge with fellow firefighter Jamie Windsor, wildlife lover John auditioned for, and made the final two, for the role of guest presenter on the Discovery Channel.
He completed the London Triathlon and hopes to take part in the Marathon des Sables.
He has also set an expedition to the South Pole in his sights, but until then is focusing on raising funds and awareness primarily for Spinal Research.
He said: "As a firefighter I go to road traffic accidents and you see people who are going to end up in wheelchairs.
"The research is there and they are so close to a breakthrough."
To sponsor John and Nicolas or offer any support to the expedition, visit www.atlanticdash.co.uk For information, www.spinal-research.org and www.firefighterscharity.org.uk