Nature at its best – River Tubing

2nd August 2015

Some heavy heads were to be found round the pool this morning and the big personalities were slightly quieter than they had been during beer pong last night :-).

The Irish couple, through the hostel, organised for all of us to go river tubing.

An international conglomerate – Germans, Australians, Irish, English, South American, Dutch, Belgian – set off carrying big water park tubes, carrier bags full of water, rum and coke and sun tan lotion, on the back of the mototaxis to the bend in the river I’d discovered a few days ago.

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Mototaxi guys

It was a properly precarious ride!  The roads are sand and rubble and undulate and dip sideways, upwards and downwards. People, chickens and motorbikes all need to be navigated around whilst you, as the passenger, hold on for dear life to all your bits and pieces and a tube that’s as big as the bike.  Not easy!

We reached the bridge with the hidden house in the forest and trekked for over an hour to the Rio Palomino. The path took us towards the sacred lands of the Wayuu and wound up and up and up through the forest, the trail only wide enough for one person.

Where you go up you must go down and we descended on to a dried river bed spreading out of the forest like a gnarled hand and, watching out for snakes, walked the last few metres to the waters edge.  A troop of worker ants were busy going about their business with the larger soldiers making sure they weren’t shirking. Butterflies fluttered in the trees, the river and its current flowed and there was a mellifluous stillness.

With great hilarity we fell into our tubes like baby elephants and started our journey.

The current was far stronger than it looked from the shore and it kept to the edges where earth met water.

I got stuck for about 5 minutes in a whirlpool, trying my hardest to force my way out, using my arms like flippers.  Everyone left me, the current taking them away.  I didn’t want to touch the banks of the river as I hate insects and the water was murky and dark and full of matter and I was scared!

Pretending I was a dolphin and distorting my body like a bucking bronco in the giant tube, I pulled myself out of my predicament and floated off.

The scenery grips you. There is nothing at all for you to do other than lie back and become one with nature.

Hills shrouded in trees cushioned us on either side, the riverbed was pebbly under our bums, kingfishers flew past, vultures spread their wings as they sunbathed on sandbanks, yellow foot herons delicately placed their feet as they fished.

And down river we continued to snake.

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The Belgian girl and I teamed up, facing each other like we were in a business class cabin on a British Airways flight.

It was a good way to get to know people.  There is absolutely nothing to do other than look at the landscape and chat if you so wish.

With a pitstop on a sandbank to regroup and drink a little rum and coke (for sustenance of course) I wasn’t the only one to face a fear.  A couple of the girls were afraid of birds – absolutely petrified – so passing a committee of vultures was a big achievement.

As we rested, a local family on the far side of the river watched us.  The kids were playing in the water and the father was shepherding a herd of much prized cows across the shallows to a man-made pasture.

The river became busier and wider. We were coming up towards the town where locals cooled off, having family get togethers, socialising and bathing.

Muddy, murky, deeper water brought us to the end of the journey as the river made its way to the sea.  The current slowed and we had to cumbersomely swim to shore.  We had arrived at the spot where I’d spent time wallowing in the shallows with the American girl a few days beforehand.

After a 15 minute walk up the beach we reached the Dreamer, dropped off our tubes and ‘chillaxed’.

Another fantastic way to spend the afternoon!

This place is paradise.

 

 

 

 

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