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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Venezuela - 26 March, 2002

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Hammock camp,  Isla Raton, Base of Angel Falls, Parque Nacional Canaima N0558.719' W06231.013' 521 m
Anatoly Island, Parque Nacional Canaima N0615.187' W06250.934' 414 m 100 km (by boat)
Canaima . . . .
-  Flight over Angel Falls . . . .
Airport, Ciudad Bolivar . . . 350 km (by light plane)
Finish Gecko Tours camp site, Ciudad Bolivar N0805.439' W06329.407' 63 m 55 km (by van)

Leg 3 Total:

10,909 km

Leg 2 Total:

12,140 km

Leg 1 Total:

9,010 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

32,829 km

 

Weather: Clear, sunny and very hot.  Warm at night.

 

 

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We are up early with the light.  We snooze a bit in our hammocks and the get up and get ready.  After breakfast, we head down to the river for a quick, last view of the falls in the light of the rising sun before heading off.  We grab out bags and head down river to join the boats.  After loading in, we are off.  It was much easier to go down river, but it was also more exciting.

 

We would head into the rapids and then be carried through by the force of the current.  The bottom of the boat would scrap against the rocks and often threaten to tip over (probably more of a threat than a reality, but it was exciting).  The wooden bottom of the boat would bulge, bend and buckle as it passed over the rocks, occasionally splitting slightly and letting in water.  We just hoped that it would not fall apart.  The scary part about going down river is that you are at the mercy of the current.  It was much harder to keep control of the boat.

 

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Sometimes the boat, despite the strong current, would come to a stop on the rocks and we would have to get out and push.  For a variety of reasons, this was exciting and dangerous.  If we were not quick enough at jumping out, the current may catch the back of the boat and spin it around.  It was tough to keep it straight - again there was the threat of being run over and crushed by our own boat.  Once we got the boat moving, it was more challenging getting back in because the boat really started to pick up speed.  Then there was the closest we came to catastrophe.  Our boat had gotten stuck on some rocks and we had gotten out to push.  While we were pushing, the other boat came up from behind and was coming straight for us - there was no way for the driver of the other, lighter boat to avoid us. The current had the in its grip.  They came straight at us and as we noticed this in the last minute to the yells of the other people, Lars and one other, Patrick, had to make a a rapid entry back into our boat before the other boat slammed into and scrapped alongside out boat.  We just narrowly missed by seconds being crushed between the two heavy wooden boats.

 

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At one point we took a crazy ride down a small falls - one thing to do in a raft, but not in a long wooden boat.  At a couple of spots we had to get out and walk around, but overall it was a much fasted and easier ride down.  We arrived back at the camp at Isla Anatoly just in time for lunch.  After lunch we headed across the lagoon to go to the airport to catch our flight back to Ciudad Bolivar.

 

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A few of us had opted for a ride over the falls on our way back.  It cost only a bit more and we felt it was worth it to go see the falls from the air.  After a short wait, we loaded up into our Stationair 6 and took off.  We swooped over the lagoon and headed up to the falls, tracking the same route that we had taken yesterday to get to the falls up the rivers.

 

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It was fascinating looking down at the winding, brown strip that was the river that gave us such agony the day before.

 

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We slowly approached Auyan Tepuy and climbed up to the flat summit. It was huge and we now knew how it was possible for the falls to gather so much water.  The flat summit is over 70 square kilometers.  It was amazingly flat and we could see how it was possible for Jimmy Angel to crash land his plane up here.  But walking down was something else.  We banked over a hikers camp at the top of the falls and then roared over the edge of the cliffs to swing around for a view of the falls.  It was great seeing it from the air, but still not the same feeling as when we were at the base.  Maybe it was because we did not have work so hard for the view today.

 

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We got views from all angles and then headed on our way to Ciudad Bolivar.  The terrain changed form the table mountains to the flat lands around the city.  We saw a few other waterfalls and some of the huge river systems that wind their way through the jungle.  We arrive back at the airport just before 4 PM for the last adventure of our South America trip.  We are now ready to go home.

 

After checking our email, we head off back to the camp.  Once at the camp we set up our tent, organise our stuff and wash-up.  Then a few of us decide to head into town for dinner - we wanted something different and to check out the town.

 

Well, we can tell you officially that this is pretty much a dead town at night.  We were able to find a nice restaurant for dinner, but after that - nothing much.  We wandered the streets for a while and then decided to head back to go to sleep.

 

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