From deep in the Tropical Rain Forest and High in the Tropcal Cloud Forest the adventure continues… follow me… I will catch you if you fall..
Maes, Ticos Y Ticas
Sorry for the radio silence but my #()@$!+)@@*% MAC has died on me and I have had 5 days of NO WORKING COMPUTER as you can imagine, this has led to a somewhat delayed delay, so I am scrambling and making time up at every working computer I can find along my travels… Always good to have a PLAN b)… Ok so upward & onward we go.. Its all part of the adventure!
6am and just like clock-work I am up and ready to rock! Funny how that happens when one is in another country but practically impossible when one is at home! Hmmmmmmm! I give my morning glance over to lovely Karen and she gives me the thumbs up for the second morning in a row!!!!! WOW! Clearly something is working here…. I think I am cured!!!!! AND not only that, but you are NEVER going guess what else…??? THE SUN IS SHINING!!! Clear blue skies… WORD!
We pack up our stuff and dress in our rafting gear, (bathing suit, shorts, rubber shoes…) oooooooh!! YIKES, White water rafting?!?!?!?! I’ve never done it before… feeling a tad nervous. Perhaps I will feel better after breakfast… I always feel better after I’ve eaten.
One thing I must mention is that everything in Costa Rica takes 45 minutes to 2 hours, so please do make a mental note of that as you read on… I promise I am NOT making it up!
Our luggage is packed into large, water proof bags and will be meeting us by land. Our wilderness leader Max is now giving us a debriefing before we set off. There are 6 levels of rapids, 1 being easy and 6 being Iguaçu Falls. On the River Pacuare they go up to level 4. I can feel my heart beginning to pound and I am filled with both excitement and what can only be described as *scared shitless*…
OK so here are the rules:-
- Forward – (forward paddle)
- Left side Back (left hand side paddle backwards whilst the right hand side paddle forwards
- Right side Back (the other way around)
- Right side up (every one of the left move to the right)
- Left side up (the other way around)
- Everybody down (everyone crouches down inside the boat (knees up)
- Harder (Longer, Deeper, Harder Strokes (hehehe!)
- Estop (Stop paddling and let the river take you)
- Thank you (what Max says after a rapid)
- Chill, Relax (sometimes replaces “Estop”
We are then given our safety instructions should anyone fall out the most important fact to remember – IS DO NOT PANIC!! grrrrreat! and we get into our positions, we are 3 on each side (Edward, Fearless Leader and Moi on the left. Rob, Oli and Karen on the right hand side and Max on the helm (well on the back paddle).
Ok so now I am getting REALLY nervous, we say our goodbyes to Roberto and the team and push off down the River… AWAY WE GO… first rapid, level 2…
“OK friends, listen to my voice and do exactly as I say when I say it” says Max.
Forward, Forward, Right side back, right side back, ESTOP! Thank you Excellent!”
WEEEEEEEEEEE my first rapid, albeit a level 2! Next one is a 3+…
Right side Back, RIGHT SIDE BACK… Forward, Right side BACK!!! FORWARD, FORWARD, Left side Back ESTOP, Forward, FORWARD. FORWARD, Chill, Thank you !… The raft is being tossed about like pinball and we finally emerge all in one piece! YEEEEEEEHAW! We all high 5 each other with paddles in the air… I am now feeling braver until….
OK my friends, ahead is a level 4 – please get ready, YOU MUST DO EXACTLY AS I SAY… OK… GET READY
Ok – here we go… I take a DEEP BREATH and hang on for dear life
FORWARD, FORWARD, ESTOP, FORWARD, FORWARD, COME ON! HARDER, HARDER, DEEPER, DEEPER (heheh love it) RIGHT SIDE BACK, RIGHT SIDE BACK, LEFT SIDE BACK, LEFT SIDE BACK, ESTOP,FORWARD, FORWARD HARD, FORWARD HARD, HARDER, EVERYBODY GET DOWN!!!!… the adrenaline is pumping so hard, I am on overdrive.. EVERYBODY UP AND PADDLE FORWARD, HARD, PADDLE, ESTOP, RIGHT SIDE BACK, RIGHT SIDE BACK, ESTOP, FORWARD, FORWARD, ESTOP! RELAX, THANK YOU
GOOD JOB!!! EXCELLENT! HIGH FIVE!
Wow!!!! WOW!!! WOW!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!! WHAT A RUSH! I am smiling so hard I have cramp in my cheeks and we are all drenched!! I can’t even put into words just how exhilirating White wáter rafting is! just DO IT if you ever get the chance…
Finally the River is calm, after the Gorge it opens up to a 5 mile stretch and Max tells us to take a dip – we all slide off the raft and let the current take us… it’s the most blissful feeling.
OK back on the Boat please… 2hrs45 minutes and God knows how many rapids later, we have passed The 150ft Huacas waterfall and amazing rock formations, Lush green Forest, the scenery forever changing. There is a wall of rock on either side of us about 50ft high and it feels like a scene out of Jurassic Park, it’s almost surreal. I am calm and have the biggest grin on my face, I have become ONE WITH THE RIVER, for all I know I may have been a *Rapid* in a passed life. My River Runs Through It experience was something I will NEVER forget, (much like everything I have done thus far on this incredible journey). I am elated and feel FANTASTIC!
From the jungle hike the day before (lower body work out) to the Rafting today, upper body work out – LIL KIM you would be proud!!
MAX et MOI!
We are now back on our handy-Dandy Tour bus, retailing our perilous, adventurous river journey, you can tell that there is such a sense of pride among us! On our way to Cartago (which took about 2 hrs) We stop off at and have lunch at a very traditional Costarrisence (that’s Costa Rican for Costa Rican), local restaurant in a small town called SITIOS – the food as ALWAYS was home cooking style at its best.
ME and OUR FEARLESS LEADER, Wilhelm
We sadly drop our Fearless Leader Wilhelm off in Cartago (sigh) and say our goodbyes and off we go in our handy Dandy Bus high HIGH into the clouds 7000ft above sea level to SAN GERARDO DE DOTA In Serro de la Muerte. .. We literally went from Tropical Rain Forest to Tropical Cloud Forest in 2hrs45 Minutes. The Temperature drops dramatically and the Forest is a completely different look and feel, it’s unlike anything I have seen before. Once again I am blown away by the Vistas.
Howz about this one for a view!!! our Oli.. On top of the WORLD!
We are staying at Trogon Lodge, which is a “BIRD WATCHER’s Paradise”, a very rustic collection of log cabins that are very clean & simple. The property is set in a beautiful manicured garden deep in the forest, with a Trout farm in the middle… did I mention it was FRREEEEEZING!!!
After a home cooked dinner of Trout and Salad, we played a few games of pool and off to bed we went, Once again I am sharing with Lovely Karen, I gave her Colonopin and crossed my fingers, as this time I had no Wide Mouth Tree Frog, no River and No Rain to blanket my *sleep disorder* … Just SILENCE!
Oh almost forgot – once again, the turn down service are 2 hot water bottles and chocolate Hershey Kisses!!!