PLC, Angel Falls W/e 19 October 2008

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Mon 3 Nov 2008 20:20
Monday, 13 October 2008
PJ and Passat were going to Margarita, BWC and I were going to Puerto la
Cruz. A start at first light was necessary to arrive before the marina
boys finished. I arrived at 3.30 and when they found that I was solo one
of them got on the boat to help with the ropes, which was nice. I was bow
to the wall in the hope that I could get off, but I had to climb down the
bow rope.
We registered in the marina and went to an agent to check in to the
mainland. We got tutted at and told that we should have checked out in
Margarita, but the regulations are rather inconsistent (this is a polite
way to say what I cannot put in print). Then we enquired about a trip to
Angel Falls, but it was too late to get on a trip tomorrow, so we decided
to go on our own.
Tuesday, 14 October
Jimmy, Donna and I set off for the bus station and the check in agent saw
us and ran after us to give us our passports, I had worried that we might
need them, although we should not. At the bus station we bought our
tickets and Jimmy enquired how long before the bus left, an hour. Donna
and I got off for only a short while, during which time the bus left.
Jimmy had to get the driver to go back and wait for us, which the driver
took some persuading to do. It was a very comfortable bus and 5 hours
later we arrived in Ciudad Bolivar and found a taxi to take us to Posada
Don Carlos. We paid $30 for a room with 4 beds, an en suite and air con.
We arranged the trip for tomorrow although I do not think we saved much,
the bulk of the cost was always going to be the air fare.
Wednesday, 15 October
7am we had a car to the airport with others from the posada and were put
on various tiny 6 seater planes for the 1 hour and 20 minute trip to
Canaima, in deep Venezuela.
12.30 we had changed clothes and were ready for a wet 5 hour canoe trip up
the river. The canoe had 11 of us, our luggage, our guide Raoull, a
driver and a paddler on the front for the rapids, but it also had a 48hp
engine. For the worst apids we had to get out and walk and rejoin the
boat 20 minutes later. The scenery was dramatic, jungle and huge table
mountains risen straight out of the ground.
Just before dark we arrived at the camp and had our first look at Angel
Falls, which is the longest single drop waterfall in the world, but then I
expect you knew that. The camp consisted of a low wall and a roof from
the side timbers of which we strung the hammocks. We did not get a
mosquito net, but did get a blanket and this was very welcome; I have not
been in such a cool climate for a very long time, probably the English
summer. There were other camp workers who cooked us chicken on sticks in
front of an open fire.
Thursday, 16 October
After an early breakfast we set off for the hike/climb through the jungle
to the falls. It was quite tough in places and the youngsters kept
lagging behind. We went to a viewing point and then further up to the
pool where the water landed and after lots of photos and resting we made
our way back down to the camp for lunch. Then it was back in the canoe
for the trip back. I got to stay in the canoe for the rapids and everyone
else had to get out and walk, Raoull had said I could, but I did not know
if it would really happen. Canaima has lots of huts for tourists on these
trips, varying in luxury according to how much you want to pay, but I got
a nice enough room for the night.
Friday, 17 October
This morning we had a short canoe ride across the lagoon past several
short, but volumous waterfalls. We got to walk to the top of one and to
walk behind the curtain of two others. The water was very strong and it
was slippery, but it was great fun when the fear wore off. All the force
of the water from upstream comes to here and they have a hydro electric
12.00 we were taken back to the airport for the trip back to Ciudad
Bolivar. The trip was well worthwhile and I should have some good photos,
when my computer is working.
Back at the bus station, Jimmy would not let us leave the spot until we
were on the bus, which was full. We had to stop at the state border and
the guards got on and checked ID. I had the same stamps in my passport
that Jimmy and Donna had, but they were taken off the bus, that is what
happens if you have a US passport. Perhaps they were expected to offer
money, but eventually they were let back on the bus and we were very
pleased to get back to Puerto la Cruz and our boats.
Saturday 18 October
Everything was closed today and we were not going to be able to check out
until Monday. Other boats had arrived that we knew, Verna Breeze, Sea
Bird, Kelp Fiction and Living the Dream who were also going to leave on
Monday. Jimmy and I attempted poker, but they did not seem very welcoming
so I went in the pool.
Sunday 19 October
We went to dominos, but they had given the time out wrong and we were
late, so we played by ourselves. We were not doing well at integrating
with the PLC group, our mob in Trinidad is much friendlier.