Some misery for the travel gods.
Angel Falls Travel Blog› entry 16 of 27 › view all entries
June 17th, 2008 – by: gopackjo
Last night was my first night ever sleeping in a hammock, and it really didn't go too bad. I slept pretty well, but decided early in the night that I was going to need to douse myself in 100% DEET insect repellent in order to make it through. One of the agencies I had consulted in Ciudad Bolivar had made mention of mosquito nets, but the one I booked with said that we would not need them. Two things are certain about me, if there are insects around they will find and bite me... and if everybody else is comfortable, if will be sweating uncontrollably.
I ended up with a few bites, but it certainly could have been worse. I slept in shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt, and actually did utilize the blanket provided for a little while as well.
Jules was awake and reading, and unaware of the parrots presence until it moved a bit further down the rope. Jules is apparently a bit skittish about birds, and to be honest I probably would have been a little freaked out as well. In the past I have owned and raised birds with a girlfriend, and I feel very comfortable with most of them, but I have a healthy respect for how much one of those beaks can hurt when they want to inflict some damage.
About that time, Jules' wife woke up and we pointed at the bird about a meter away from her climbing on her husbands now vacated hammock. The bird saw her as well and proceded to show off for about 15 minutes, squacking and swinging from the bottom of the hammock. The rest of the group slowly made it's way out of the dorm for breakfast, which was quite good, and we were all up by 7am ready to go. The weather looked good, but there were some clouds in the sky that caused a bit of worry.
While waiting we had a photo session with a large winged insect that was on the floor, and prepared for the day. Pedro arrived at about 8:30am and let us know that we would be waiting for another couple flying in this morning before leaving for the Angel Falls.
We finally left just before 11am for the falls. We packed up our things and out them into a large plastic trash bag to make them (hopefully) waterproof. And brought some smaller plastic bags for oour cameras and such. I grabbed an extra trash bag in case of rain. We took a short canoe trip across the lagoon, walked around the falls to meet another canoe, and we were off up the Rio Carrao. The rain started shortly after, and I tore a head hole in the trash bag and wore it like a rain coat.
The rain stopped just as we reached the first rapids. We got out and walked to bypass them for about 45 minutes, while the lightened motorized canoe navigated it's way through the rapids.
We encountered many smaller rapids along the way, and the boatman and his assistant deftly used momentum and lifting the motor at key times to avoiding bashing our prop. After reaching the more narrow Rio Churun the rapids became more frequent, and we even had a moment that look pretty bleak. At a particularly steep rapids we lost momentum and drifted backwards towards some rocks before they regained 'traction' and pulled us up through. We thought that the plastic bags would be seriously put to the test at that juncture.
We started to catch views of Angel Falls from the boat, and the majesty of the 3,200 foot fall became apparent. The water flow was very good, and we guessed that it would be even better because of the rain. The rain was just starting to let up when we arrived at our camp for the night at Isla Raton. Isla Raton is a small island at the junction of Rio Churun, and the small tributary coming from Angel Falls. The camp itself was very crude, with no electricity and just a few rustic restrooms.
Pedro told us that we would not be going to the falls tonight, and that getting up at 4:30am and making the hour trek would be our best bet. Jules & Jules got out a portable Monopoly game, and I got out my iPod and small speakers. We all sat around the large table talking and comiserating until dinner was served.
After the sun set, we walked out to a spot next to the river to view the falls under the full moon. The clouds didn't completely move out of the way, but we still had a perfect view from our spot. Pedro pointed out that we were the only 10 people in the world to be looking at the world's highest waterfall. It wasa great feeling. Tomorrow is the early one hour hike to the falls, and hopefully the weather will cooperate.
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