Sunday, November 18, 2007

Angel Falls

What an adventure! I could write a mini novel
describing our trip of a lifetime, but I’ll try to be brief. Our trip inland started on Sunday October 21st with a 6 hour bus ride from Cumana to Ciudad Bolivar. Our friends Bev & Ross from Raft were with us. The next morning we boarded a 5 passenger Cessna for the 1 hour 15 minute flight over the Savanna, the Orinoco River Delta, the Tepuis and numerous mountains before arriving in Canaima.

Canaima is an Indian Village that is part of the Parque Nacional.

From here we had a boat ride across the Canaima Lagoon, crossing in front of a series of 7 waterfalls before arriving at the Tomas Bernal Basecamp on Isla Anatoliy.

After relaxing in our hammocks & enjoying a wonderful lunch, we joined another group for a half hour hike to Sapo (frog) and Sapito (small frog) Falls. Sapo Falls is 40 meters high by 80 meters wide. Our first thrill of the trip was walking behind the Falls. The roar of rushing water was almost deafening as we cautiously inched our way to the other side.

The Brink of Sapo Falls
Trail Behind Sapo Falls Looking out from behind the Falls

That night we slept in our hammocks under the shelter of a thatched roof hut.

Tuesday morning our group of 10, our guide Jose,
our boat driver Joel and his assistant loaded into
the motorized dugout canoe for the 4 & ½
hour ride up the rivers Carrao & Churun to the
Island Raton. We walked around the first set of
rapids while the boat powered through them.

After that there was no mercy.
Zooming along at top speed with a 45 hp engine,
we basically were white water canoeing though
the too numerous to mention rapids as well as enjoying the scenery during the flat water spells. I still have a smile on my face remembering the thrills as we careened around rocks and through canyons, not to mention the fresh water splashing and soaking us on a regular basis...
Yes, the boat wet through here.

Early afternoon we began the 1 & ½ hour hike through the jungle to Salto Angel. It was a rugged climb, far more challenging than we expected but what a feeling of accomplishment when we stood by the natural pool at the base of the Falls. Pat and the others swam in the cooling waters while I nursed a nasty gash on my shin. (In the excitement of approaching the falls, I slipped on the wet rocks).

That night we enjoyed a roasted chicken dinner prepared by our guides on an open fire barbeque. The camp was very rustic compared to the base camp at Canaima but the full view of Angel Falls across the river was spectacular. Again, we slept in hammocks. I wish we had space on the boat for hammocks, they are sooo comfortable.
Wednesday morning we enjoyed the return trip down the rivers with an early morning stop at the Happiness Pool for a swim. After lunch, we loaded onto another Cessna for the flight back to Ciudad Bolivar. I wish the tour didn’t have to end; it would have been nice to spend another evening at the base camp. Well the purpose of the tour was to visit the Angel Falls, which are the Tallest in the World, however the rest of the trip was just as exciting and rewarding and only added another dimension to the thrill & enjoyment. (the internet is not co-operataing so I will have to post more pictures in another entry)
Till next time.

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