Falling over the side of a waterfall, clinging onto a bamboo tree and a machete... Oh dear...
Falling over the side of a waterfall, clinging onto a bamboo tree and a machete… Oh dear…

So Wednesday morning me and Armi got up for breakfast at 7, I was sharing a room with a Canadian girl called Kate and Armi was at the other side of the building, after breakfast we got told to stay in the kitchen as we were making lunch at 10 so there was no point going to the woods, instead me Armi and Tim, the teacher from the school in Essex sat there and pummeled and sieved guava for jam, Tim turned out to be a really cool guy, the other teacher in the kitchen was Jo, she had been to Jatun Sacha the year before by herself and had organised the school trip, if I went on a trip with school these were the kind of teachers I want to go with.

In the end it took so long to make this Jam that Linda (the cook) made most of the dinner by herself and we did mainly the washing up, setting tables making limeade etc, after dinner it turns out there was no plan for volunteering instead Cesar and Miguel (the two guys who ran the place) wanted to do some games etc as the school group and the other volunteers had kind of sectioned off, so we started learning Cuarenta. A BRILLIANT card game, though if you play with an Ecuadorian you´re screwed. They´re crazy and mess with your mind and know all the cards before any are down, Eduardo another guy from Jatun was like that, he would put a card face down and tease us all saying this will get you this will get you and every time it would win him the hand! I have NO idea how he did it!

So the plan was to play football but it was raining pretty badly so we mainly stuck to cards and bananagram, then Jools arrived in the afternoon, a new guy to Jatun who was studying at Manchester and somehow managed to persuade them to let him come out here for 3 weeks (I have to try this!). So once we realised he was very good at bananagram because somehow he had already heard of it!? We stuck to Cuarenta, mainly me Armi Tim and Jools, though every so often one of us would sit out or I’d go play the guitar with Cesar and someone else would join in, So that was a pretty chilled day and pretty easy. Everyone else had been in production in the morning and they were all shattered but there we were after sitting down all day simply squeezing guavas…

So that night it rained, (Wednesday night) and I mean it RAINED constantly, the house we were in was the old house (the better one with hammocks) but it turned out to be the less waterproof one too, the rain was so loud on the roof and at 2am I felt the rain come in down one side of my mozzy net, then at about 4 it came in from the top too and by 5 I was sat in the far corner reading my kindle absolutely soaking… SO as you may have guessed in the morning I wasn’t in the best mood when someone asked how I slept! It also meant the rain was too bad to work in for a while so we had to hide out in the dining area.

The rain had also broken our water system so at that moment we had no water for showers washing or anything, just the drinking water left so Miguel said does anyone want to help me fix the water line, you´ll get wet and I’d wear long trousers as there are ants in the water usually so I though, this sounds different, and got ready to go wading through the water tank pulling all the stuff out of it blocking the water, and after a bit of persuasion me, Jools and Natalia from Germany I think? headed off with Cesar and Miguel. Best. Decision. Ever.

So we started walking away from the reserve and after a while me and Jools just started wondering where this water tank was, then we started heading into the valley and then steeper and steeper until we heard the river… So we were wrong, it wasn’t a tank, the water came from he fresh water lagoon at the top and then the pipe ran down the river for a few kilometers where the force of the water and things getting tangled in it the night before had caused it to snap at the joins of the pipes, so we got in.

First of all we got in the river just after a waterfall where Miguel ran up and jumped into the plunge pool, me Jools and Natalia went to follow, Jools jumped in but was close to rocks so said to jump more to the left, Natalia wanted to go next so she jumped straight in and it looked pretty fun, when she surfaces she was smiling and took a moment to look back up at the river, basically a moment too long, because she didn’t swim off straight away the current got her and she got pulled under, for a second no one really knew what was going on then Miguel jumped in after her, after a second Cesar who was filming realised she needed help and threw my camera at Jools which he almost didn’t catch (though tbh I’d rather Natalia was safe than my camera was around) and they got her out, both of them were fantastic but I decided not to jump, mainly because Natalia needed a bit of comforting, oh, and I didn’t want to die… We watched it back afterwards on the computer and you can see the moment where she just didn’t move fast enough, but anyway, then we headed down the river, the currents went from nothing to so strong in seconds and it was so rocky and just so much fun, basically sliding and crawling or getting thrown down this river by the water, we were doing bits at a time and then we´d all wait at a big ginger tree (which was everywhere and pretty strong so good to hold on to) and wait for everyone else. hahah Every time we got somewhere we´d all be holding on as the river tried to take us down the rapids and then Cesar would come past and get swept up by the current and almost go over the edge, or get stuck in the current (he was smiling and I think he was putting it on a but sometimes it wasn’t on purpose) but it was every time!hahahah he´d be hanging off the rock and we´d have to drag him back up (once we´d stopped laughing and shouting CESARRRRRRRR NOOOO!hahahaha) he said it was because he´s too heavy but I don’t think the fact he basically leaped of every rock helped!

So then we found the breaks in the pipes and man we were good motivator, its was like an inverted tug of war trying to get these pipes together we were all screaming VAMOS; COME ON! LETS GO! WOOOO!hhahaha to the point where I think we went a bit loco!

(or at least I did -D of E practice canoe expedition you know what I mean – lying in the bivvy ´reach reach reach for the STARRRRRRRS!´hahahaha)

So there was a break every 100m and most of the time they were covered in ginger plan which we had to get off then we had to try and put the pipes back together, oh also the ginger plant makes a great landing spot, you can leap off the rocks and slide down it, and then get pulled under by the currents, but the first bit is fun…

hahah oh yeah and then it got to points where you had to go under water to get past the trunks over the river and kind of rapids surrounded with plants where at one point I went down and half way down Miguel leaped out at me and my god I screamed and whacked him in the face!hahah but it was worth it just for Miguel laugh, its amazing, it really high pitched and so childish and haha I cant explain it, its just amazing, you´d do anything just to make him laugh, there’s nothing like it!

I cant explain how much fun I t was, I was lucky though tbh, I’d put on my longest tops and had my mozzy net on which made it funny when you got dragged under because when you came back up you couldn’t see a thing! but Jools got pretty badly bitten by the ants, he didn’t tuck his top into the heavy jeans he wore for some reason to go down the river, crazy man…

As we got further down the river we had better rapids and then long periods of kind of lazy rivers with sharp rocks below, so you got pulled along nicely but got bashed around a bit, then we reached the bridge where the taxis were passing to pick up the guys from Jatun who were heading off for a trip to Sta Cruz so once we´d got Jools back after he was swept under the bridge and couldn’t get back we hopped in the free taxis, soaking wet back to Jatun where we said bye to the others.

Man that really was so much fun I wish I could go do it again!

So when we got back everyone had had a pretty lazy morning and we were shattered! Had dinner then watched the videos of Natalia drowning then headed off for reforestation, where Armi got bitten to pieces, but we were basically going into areas where we´d gotten rid of the Mora and planting poison apple,. Bananas and another one which I simply cannot remember the name of, so the afternoon was pretty nice, not too taxing. We finished and headed to the waterfall, Jools didn’t go since he´d spent the day in the River but me and Armi headed down with the girls from he school, we found a plant which had a natural red paint that they used to use here and we covered ourselves in it. Note: It doesn’t come out of clothes, or hair, or finger nails….

Once we got to the waterfall I realised I really couldn’t be bothered!haha but we went in, Armi had had a bit of a bad experience a few weeks before in Mindo with fast flowing water and wasn’t too keen so after climbing the waterfall a few times I took her back to Jatun leaving the girls with Miguel jumping off the cliffs.

Another easy evening that night the other volunteers had headed to other islands for a break so it was the school, us and 3 Germans, so out came the guitar and the cards and we just stayed up and chilled before going back to pack, the next day we were going home so we spent the morning hiking up to the top of the hill where (if it wasn’t cloudy) you can see the whole island however as we reached it we got swallowed up by a cloud but still, it was pretty fun.

We then headed with the school back down to the coast, stopping off at the tree house to find it closed again! So the school went to Eduardo´s restaurant and we headed down to the coast to our hotel, where we split with Jools and met up later for food, where whilst sat outside we bumped into Bryn, then the German girls, then Tim who joined us for a game of Cuarenta as the rest of the school went snorkeling.

So plans were made for Casablanca at 6, once again we headed off to see the sea lions, find an Internet cafe, sort out laundry etc and bump into basically everyone we knew, telling them all Casablanca at six (happy hour)

So its almost 6 so I’m off, 🙂

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