The British Trans Americas Expedition (Darien Gap)Unofficially known as The Darien Gap expedition, this long distance vehicle expedition made the first ever unbroken journey of the two Americas -- from Anchorage Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego in southern Chile. This drive was over 17,000 miles. But the main obstacle consisted of 100 milers of insect infested, hot, steamy jungle between Panama and Colombia known as El Tapon or The Darien Gap. Many had tried but no one had made it, mainly because the route had to cross fast flowing rivers, traverse mountain ranges and rely on re-supply by air, piraguas (local canoes) and locally procured meat and vegetables.
Our team consisted of 65 people, mostly British army with civilian scientists, a doctor, dentist, veterinarian, nurse and interpreters.
We used two new (at that time) RangeRovers plus an old short wheelbase land rover for reconnaissance and pathfinding. The main team consisted of two recce sections, engineer sections, main headquarters, 27 pack ponies, communication and logistic parties and a Beaver light aircraft. We successfully crossed the Darioen Gap and Great Atrato Swamp in 100 days. This was in 1970/71. We also enlisted the help of the Panamanian Guardia Nationale, US Canal Zone Inter America Geodetic Survey unit and soldiers from the Colombian army.Five of these were unfortunately killed (drowned).
To my knowledge no one has repeated this entire journey although some have driven from north to south America but bypassed the Darien Gap.
The leader was Colonel John Blashford-Snell and I was deputy leader.