"South American time" was at play today - despite a 7am departure from our hotel and a five minute drive to the airport we didn't fly until 8:30-9am, and whilst landing at 10o'clock we didn't start our 4 hour canoe ride to the falls until 12:30pm! Angel Falls is not accessible by road, hence the 1-1.5 hour 6 seater Cessna flight (an activity in itself with beautiful views) followed by four hours in a motorized canoe, and finally a 1.5 hour hike. We got a taste of the Venezuelan tradition for all things deep fried - at breakfast of all things! A deep fried, corn (instead of short crust pastry) wrapped beef empanada at 8am! Greasy as you like, Chris couldn't even finish it!
A bizarre coincidence awaited me when the Cessna landed - a friend from high school (Sarah Evans) who I have not seen in years (maybe not even since high school!) was there, in the middle of nowhere in a rarely visited country, waiting for her return flight. A lovely surprise! We had a good, although brief, catch up while the tour guide waited for a family of four to land so we could begin our trip.
Of course, the guide didn't tell us what was going on, even when we boarded the canoe, anticipating an imminent departure, and waited a further half an hour for the rest of the group. The group totalled 14, mostly Venezuelan with only 4 real tourists - us and a Polish couple.
The boat ride was beautiful. A few rough and choppy places where we got wet (and one where we had to disembark and walk for half an hour) but that added to the fun. The water was the colour of Coca Cola and the rocks and sand were pink - captivating.
After an hour or so we stopped at "Happiness Point". A clearing in the forest with a waterfall, which I was reluctant to jump off at first, but as the guide was holding our camera ready I obliged and cut my foot on the shallow riverbed rocks, but it was fun and we got a good photo.
Sitting on our life jackets, to avoid numb bottoms, for the next 3 hours we got our first glimpse of Angel Falls from the canoe, magnificent. We finally arrived at our camp, just as a torrential downpour began
and the sun began to set. Our guide strung up our hammocks under the corrugated metal roof, and waited a painful two hours for our chickens to roast on an open fire, before an early night with nothing to do!
Once the generator was turned off the noises of the forest soothed us to sleep, until a vicious thunder storm a few hours later which, in the open air, made me feel like a frightened child again! Very cool though. And I have never seen pitch blackness like it - no light source or light pollution. Your eyes did not adjust, you just saw blackness. Chris's Corner
It wasn't the grease that got to me despite the early hour but corn dough is not my thing, I like stodgy but that is something else!
It was a long day for travelling and waiting around, but the views were fantastic the whole journey, from the plane and from the canoe culminating in setting up camp opposite the falls. We spent the evening looking forward to an early start to get a closer view.
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