The day dawns grey and overcast as Dan, Adrian and Robin all prepare to go on their day of canyoning. Canyoning was described as climbing, hiking and rappelling down a canyon and through waterfalls. Not for the faint of heart, and not for me! I spent the day puddling around Mérida in the pouring rain and working on this tripjournal at the internet cafe. Details on the canyoning to follow...........
Canyoning, by Dan. This was one of the most adventurous days I have had, and a great bonding experience with the boys. We leave early in a 4x4 and travel up into the hills behind Merida. 30 minutes later the guide, the boys and I exit the vehicle, we each don a wetsuit, a special backpack, and a climbing harness and off we hike for another half hour, through the woods and finally arriving at the river canyon.
The next 4 hours were pure awesomeness. Let by our excellent guide, Arnaldo, we trudged back and forth, in and out of the riverbed, up, over and around large boulders and through rough terrain, always heading downriver and crossing in and out of the wild rushing waters. When we could not walk we slid, and when we could not slide we jumped. On various occasions we jumped one at a time into deep pools, exactly at the point that Arnaldo would show us. We would jump, sink down and emerge, just as he had showed us.
On three occasions, however we could not walk, slide or jump far enough down, because of serious waterfalls, respectively 8, 14 and 34 metres deep. So we climbed down using series of ropes, all explained and rigged up by our guide. He was extremely professional and always held a security rope lest our own rope slip or otherwise give way. break. Beyond the security rope (which never had to be employed), we each controlled our own destiny, and it was nice that the falls came in increasing order of depth so we could gain confidence. The 34 metre climb down was really like a series of descents all on one rope, and we went through the pounding falls and ultimately continued behind them.
When we reached the end of our canyoning experience, we did another hike back to the road and were once again fetched by our 4x4 driver and transported back to Merida. All in all, a serious adrenaline rush and a day the boys and I will never forget. I for one, am looking forward to doing this again.
Although we could not take photos for lack of an underwater camera, our trekking company, Aressari Treks, were good enough to provide us with a CD containing stock photos of the trek we did, so they are (or will be soon) posted here with this entry.