adventurer retraces Sir Francis Drake's footsteps
adventurer Michael Turner has returned home after braving poisonous
snakes and scorpions in the jungles of Panama.
Michael, 57, has spent much of his life writing about the British
explorer, Sir Francis Drake, and following his footsteps.
highlight of his fortnight-long expedition was reaching the Cerro
Brewster Mountain, from where Drake saw the meeting of the Atlantic
and Pacific oceans.
six-person extreme trekking team supported Michael in fulfilling
his 32-year-long dream comprising of a Dutchman, three Panamanians
and two Englishmen one diplomat from the British Embassy
in Panama and survival expert Caleb Duckworth, the expedition
team cut through a 16th century trail to reach a ruined settlement
deep in the heart of the rainforest which Drake raided in 1571.
maps acknowledge the ruins but can now name them as Venta de Cruces.
expedition scrambled over the Continental Divide, including a
network of springs and deep rocky gullies where the team risked
life and limb," Michael told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
had to cling precariously to the mountainside on a very narrow
trail, climb waterfalls and to use fallen trees to bridge ravines."
Tudors were much tougher than what we are today but even Drakes
general complained of the hardships."
the constant slippery mud over very uneven ground, excessive and
constant gradients, mud, sweat, cuts, exhaustion, thirst, blisters,
bruised toes, mosquitoes, plus poisonous vipers and scorpions,
this was my most mentally and physically challenging experience
day ended by sleeping in a hammock afflicted by a dry season shower,
above soggy muddy ground and donning wet clothes next morning.
crowning glory was to traverse a steeply undulating ridge with
no water supplies to reach the Cerro Brewster Mountain from where
Drake saw the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
was a pivotal moment in English history since Drake was inspired
to sail a ship into the Pacific Ocean which led to him circumnavigating
the world, which became the most famous voyage in English history
and stimulated England to beat the Spanish Armada of 1588 and
to become the worlds most powerful navy," said Michael.
was the first expedition to identify this Drake landmark and to
visit it since February 1572. The team planted the Union flag
next to the highest tree in this region of Panama.
cool down Michael dived and found the two wrecks at Portobelo
that the national press has recently purported belonged to Drakes
fleet. Michael has recovered a sample of their timbers for carbon
can fortunately now retire from extreme hiking as he sets his
sights on two capes in the warzone of Western Sahara and Cape
Horn. This will then complete his 35-year-long quest.
gives more details about his interest in Drake and the books and
he has written.