Thursday, May 26, 2016

Zip-lining and swimming in a bat cave ~ Adventures on my mom's birthday

As my yoga retreat trip to Mexico neared, I wondered if I'd have an opportunity to go zip-lining. Any time I'd ever seen that activity on TV, I always mentioned to Doug that I would love to do that someday. Well, I got my chance in Mexico!

These photos were all taken in the Punta Laguna reserve, and you can read more about the area by clicking here.

After hiking through the jungle, looking for monkeys and being blessed by a Mayan shaman, we came to a clearing with a beautiful lagoon.

Here we were met by a crew who was waiting with harnesses and helmets. Stuff got real right there.

Yikes. I think I was fine and fairly excited until the harness got strapped on and I realized that - OMG - I was really going to do this. I was going to hang from a hook attached to a metal line and propel myself across the water and into the jungle. Free falling, baby. Holy smokes.

And here was another first for me. I'd never been in a canoe before. It wasn't as tippy as I thought it might be, and the two sweeties rowing knew what they were doing. I was appointed as the captain and was supposed to call out "Stroke" over and over but, sheesh, that got boring in a hurry so I stopped and asked, "Really? Do I really need to do that?" No, I didn't in this case.

By the way, these photos were borrowed from my friend and fellow traveler, Linda. She was brave and kept her camera/phone with her, but I'd left mine behind at the dock, regrettably.

After the canoe trip across the lagoon, we hiked through the jungle for about 10 minutes to reach the zip-line platform. Jose, the monkey guide was also our zip-line man.

I was super excited and my adrenaline levels had to be off the charts right here! The worst part was the "brake" they gave us to hold - a crude stick with a hook at one end. We were warned to put the brake on behind the attachment on the wire or it would come back and smack us in the face. Duly noted. And when I had last minute questions about the "brake" just before take-off, I was told, "Oh, just don't even worry about the brake. They'll catch you on the other end. Go!"

Well, I didn't use the brake and they did catch me at the end. Worse part was that as soon as I cleared the tree line and flew out over the water my body turned and I rode the whole rest of the way backwards. Everything happened so fast, and I wasn't able to turn myself around so the catchers caught me coming in backwards and all was well.

When I was unstrapped and stepped off the landing platform, someone mentioned that if we wanted to have another turn we could. It would just require hiking back through the jungle, same way we'd gone in. I barely hesitated before asking one of my yoga friends if she'd like to hike and zip again with me. Yep! So we hiked and re-zipped and that time I flew straight in and used my brake and called, "WOOOO-HOOOO!" pretty much the entire zip across.

High-fives all around!

Part two of this post involves me going down into this hole in the ground...

Oh my goodness, it makes me squirmy to look at these photos again. This was not my favorite part of my Mexico adventures, though I am glad I did it. We had an opportunity to swim in an underground cenote, complete with a 40' ladder, one bare light bulb to illuminate the cave, and a bunch of little tiny bats hanging from the walls.

I look at this next photo - the only one of me in the cenote - and I'm shocked to see a smile on my face. I think I was still high from the zip-lining, and clearly delirious. Ha! I wanted to be one of the first ones to go down, fearing that if I stood up top long enough I might lose my nerve. We were still wearing our zip-line harnesses and those were used to rappel us down into the water - very convenient.

Phew! The water was cold at first, and it was fairly dark down there. The water looked black, and I was surprised when I looked down that I could clearly see my feet below me, and then nothing beyond my toes. No one seemed clear about how deep that water was.

Once my entire group had made it down the shoot and into the water, I was the first to volunteer to get out. The hook was re-attached to my zip-line harness, but only used as a measure of catching me should I slip and fall off that 40' ladder. That was one heck of a climb straight up, and I was super happy to emerge back at the top!

And that's a photo taken by me, standing on the sidelines before any of my friends came out of the cenote. I'm really glad I got to experience that, and it is officially checked of my bucket-list as an item that does not need to be revisited.

My friends knew that this day was my mom's birthday. I was so touched when one of them said to me, late in the day, "Your mom would be so proud of you." I softly replied, "She always was."


Sian said...

Wow, you are brave! I don't think I could have done either of those things. Maybe the zip lining, but definitely not the climbing into the hole! I gasped. Then I cheered. And I expect your Mum would have too x

Ruth said...

I'm not sure I'd have gone on the zip-line once, never mind twice!

Karen said...

No way I could ever do a zip-line. I get pangs just thinking about it. Wonderful photos of your adventures!

Audrey said...

Wow Deb, that was quite some adventuring!!!! I'm really impressed!!!! :-)

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