From their rise in the high Andes of Peru, the two sister rivers, Urubamba and Apurimac, join to form the Amazon, the world's largest and most powerful river, crossing an entire continent in search of the sea. This book traces Francois Odendaal's three expeditions to raft this extraordinary river. It is a story of adventure, courage and personal experience, as well as a geographical, environmental and historical celebration of the continent of South America. Choosing the Urubamba as the most probable source of the Amazon, high in the Peruvian Andes, Odendaal and a carefully selected team of would-be conquerors carried out their first expedition in 1981. It began with the conquest of the Quelcayo Glacier and ended at Ucayali, after a series of hardships and misadventures which left Odendaal with a realization of the size of his task. The second, in 1985, set out to run the Apurimac from its source and ended, after 100 days of gruelling travel, at Atalaya, where Odendaal, a South African, was defeated not by the Amazon but by bureaucracy, as Brazil refused to renew his visa. Returning to Atalaya to continue the journey as an American resident, he had to complete the remaining 3500 miles in the two months granted to him. Using balsa raft, local river boats and a sailing boat convinced him that his three journeys were less about conquering the Amazon than about learning to understand it. The journeys are featured in the 1992 BBC1 television series, "Classic Adventure".