A Travellerspoint blog

The cave adventure

overcast 10 °C

When you travel you find yourself in situations that, when at home, you would never dream of. You take risks that in your own country would never even come into your mind. For some reason when you are away with your backpack your level headed approach to life is thrown out the window - with the health and safety book.

Linn and I found ourselves in exactly one of these situations while exploring caves in Seamuc Champey in central Guatemala.

After a lovely morning of walking through jungle and swimming in beautiful turquoise pools on the River Coban we decided to take the recommended Seamuc cave tour. 18 other intrepid Gringo explorers and 1 guide joined us on the adventure underground. As we entered the flooded cave system we removed our shoes and were given a candle for light and nothing more. No hard hat. No head torch. No briefing or map. As we paddled deeper into the cave the water became cooler and deeper, eventually finding ourselves swimming in the dark water, holding a candle with water lapping round the wax. Trying our hardest to keep the wic dry and the flame burning. Slowely the group became disjointed as we clambered over rocks, avoided under water obsticles and struggled up rope ladders. At one stage we were asked to climb a rope up a waterfall. The height was only just over 2 meters but a fall would have resulted in a broken head, at the very least.

As time went on it was clear the group had become spread over several hundred meters of cave system. Myself, Linn and four others found ourselves cut from the group and standing on a small silt island in the middle of a larger part of the cave. As our 3 remaining operational candles began to run out we decided it best to ration them and blew two out. Minutes later our guide arrived from the entry side of the cave looking as confused as we were. We then realised our inept guide had been hanging around at the rear of the group and failed to notice everyone had cracked on into the system and were wondering along a 10km long spur. With a mumbled Spanish slur he ran off down the cave after the group leaving us in more confusion. After a few minutes two Dutch girls appeared. They too had been standing around wondering where everyone had gone. Several minutes later the groups lights came into sight and they rounded the corner, swimming in the freezing water. They had thought the guide was in front, as you would expect, but had become lost and thought the best thing to do was to keep going...?

On returning to the over world we were asked to squeeze through a small crevis through which a river flowed. Not knowing how high or what we were going to land on we went through one at a time. As we got closer to day light we were down to 4 or 5 candles for the remaining 20 people.

Getting out felt like we had really survived. We walked back to the 'reception' and dried our selves off. The guide appeared some time later and never took a head count. I like how confident he is in himself.

As far as we know we all made it out!

nb.

Parents and loved ones. We are all fine and we have decided not to go in any more caves.

TukTuk in Flores

TukTuk in Flores


Interesting ferry we took

Interesting ferry we took


High jump

High jump


Scary spider

Scary spider


What would Jesus say?

What would Jesus say?


Little girl

Little girl


Spider monkey at Tikal

Spider monkey at Tikal


Find the Toucan

Find the Toucan


At Tikal

At Tikal


Natural pools

Natural pools


TsunamiRoss

TsunamiRoss


Heavy lifting

Heavy lifting


Cave Adventure

Cave Adventure


Using the camera flash to light the way...

Using the camera flash to light the way...


Six survivors, one candle, no guide, no clue.

Six survivors, one candle, no guide, no clue.


Ross´new pet

Ross´new pet


Ross´second new pet

Ross´second new pet

Posted by LinnSailer 16:19 Archived in Guatemala Comments (1)

Guatemala - We saw a Toucan

They don´t carry tins of paint like they told us in primary school.

sunny 30 °C

Today we got up at 4am to catch a 4.30am shuttle bus to Tikal - a huge Mayan city taken by the jungle just north of the city of Flores. It´s no Ankor Wat but it´s a great place to spend a morning. We were lucky enough to see howler monkeys, spider monkeys, monkey-cat-mice, a huge spider (not related to the monkeys) and loads of birds, including the toucan mentioned above.

Tomorrow we head south to some place I cant remember the name of. Linn keeps telling me to read the Lonely Planet but I can´t be bothered at all. We have met a pair of Germans and they do all the planning we need. Germans are great at planning. I think it all comes back to their old boss who used to love European and North African travel. He really inspired the nation. It´s boring to read the LP when someone else has already done it. I don´t even read the menu in the restaurant so I can´t be expected to plan a days entertainment. As Linn says to me the whole time, ´if you can´t get the easy things right, how can I expect you to get the hard things right´. She is a bully. But her boobs are nice.

Tomorrow we head south for the town of... I don´t know the name. I don´t really care until I get there. The bus leaves at 9am and I have banana cake. That is what is important.

Now I shall leave for a beer and a little bit of pizza - the national dish of Guatemala. The things you learn when you travel....

Ross

Posted by LinnSailer 16:19 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Sailing, Snorkling and Sunburn

The hard life of Belize.

sunny 50 °C

We left Cuba the 10th of February for Cancun, Mexico. I liked the airport right away because the first Mexican we spoke to told us that Ross looked like Harry Potter and the second one tried to scam us - M$1000 for a bus that costs M$140. Ross guilt tripped him with 'why would you try to do that, we thought you were our friend'... He ran away. We grabbed the first bus to Playa del Carmen and had a McDonalds meal. Oh Capitalism, how we've missed you. I loved this city, full of 60 year old American women wearing hot pants and turquoise cowboy hats, but we decided to leave for Tulum, a supposed to be "backpacker city". It was more like a truck stop with a beach, a tiny Maya temple and younger american women with hot pants and turquoise cowboy hats. Ross liked that, so after one day there I decided we should take the bus to Belize. The night bus was just as sleep depriving as the night buses usually are, but I liked the border crossing. It's the first time ever the security didn't say they needed to search my bag for drugs, but that i had cool dreads! I could not Belieze it! (word play) In Belize we headed straight to "Backpackers Paradise" in Sarteneja, a tiny village with very few tourists and no cars. They did have a lot of Mosquitoes though, I thought it was great having an itchy body. And we did see a monkey-dog-cat (coatimundi). After two days here, where Ross managed to get bitten by a snake (not poisonous...) because, for some reason, he has to pick up every animal and insect he finds, we took the boat on to Caye Caulker, supposed to be less commercial than the other islands in the area. It was very commercial, and it took us two hours to find a place to stay that wasn't full, overbooked or just shit. The plan was spending two days at the island, then getting a sailboat down to Placencia, but of course the boat we wanted to take was full and we first found out there was another boat 12 hours before it left. The boat takes 2nights, 3days and you have to sleep in tents - which I don't like. We also went snorkeling twice a day - as usual Ross found every animal possible; like sting rays, eagle rays, giant star fish and squid. I got a sunburn for the second time in my life. And some dolphins where swimming besides the boat for a while. Also, the first teenie-tiny island we stayed at had no fresh water so our skin was topped with sexy layers of sun tan lotion, sweat and salt for two days. Now we're in Placencia and it's really hot. Heading to Florens and Tikal in Guatemala way to early tommorrow.

Ross says I complain alot. I don't know why.

-Linn

p.s. Go slow.

Frigate birds

Frigate birds


The Mayan Temple in Tulum

The Mayan Temple in Tulum


Rendezvous Caye - our home for a night

Rendezvous Caye - our home for a night


Fishing

Fishing


We're on a boat

We're on a boat


Eagle ray

Eagle ray


Snorkeling

Snorkeling


Backpackers Paradise

Backpackers Paradise

Posted by LinnSailer 11:45 Archived in Belize Comments (5)

Viva Fidel

Socialism and its high and lows

sunny 30 °C

Cuba is puzzle. Back when Fidel, Che and the 'other one' landed their boat with their 16 men on the southern coast of Cuba their dream was to defeat the power of Batista and launch a new breed of socialism into the world. Were they successful? It is hard to come to a final decision. Yes, Cuba has its problems - but then so does the Capitalist Western World.

In Cuba 1 in every 170 people is a doctor. This is a credit to their free education system, something most developed countries can only dream of. And with those (roughly) 65,000 doctors Cuba offer free health care to all which has resulted in Cubans living on average to their 77th birthday. Looking north to the US where education and health care are offered as an option to the rich makes you question who is living the right life. After hurricane Katriona struck Cuba nobody died. When New Orleans was hit thousands died. Cuba offered 1000 doctors to the USA - an offer which was refused... When Haiti was rocked by an earth quake the Cubans were the first rescue team in. They were also the last rescue team out after stopping the outbreak of Malaria - something the western world forgot to report. Cuba sends hundreds of doctors to South America and Africa in return for oil. They cure hundreds of Bolivians every year of blindness...

The social system has also resulted in no homeless living on the streets. There are 'slum' areas like all other countries, but nobody makes their home on a park bench. They all have a place to be. Family ties are also still strong which I am sure helps. Along with no homeless you find no starving people. Food isnt abundant but there is enough and the government make sure a ration goes to all. To be fair they may not have the access to supermarket shelves stuffed with products from around the globe - but you must remember that Cuba is a poor 'third world' nation.

In Cuba there is no drugs scene. When the revolution arrived the drug cartels were thrown out and have never returned. This has helped give Cuba some of the safest streets I have ever been on at night. Not once in any of their cities did I feel under threat or uncomfortable. The occasional glance from interested locals, but never anything more. Those streets are safe for people of all colours too. We have seen no racism on the island and all colours who have arrived at some point in history mix freely. There isn't a stereotypical Cuban, they look like everyone.

So is the Socialist world of Cuba right? Probably not but they seem so very close. They have their issues like any other nation. Is the capitalist world right? Definetly not and we seem to be getting further away. We can learn lot from their little bubble which is sure to burst when the USA drop their bullyboy embargo. When the USA finally allow this peaceful little island to take its place in the world it is sure to follow the Capitalist way - I hope Fidel, Raul or whoever is charged with the transition is wise and can keep the positives their country has. They are third world only on in finance. In culture they are streets ahead.

Viva la revolution

Viva la revolution


Sick

Sick


Jump

Jump


Nice ride

Nice ride


On the top of Matanzas

On the top of Matanzas

Posted by LinnSailer 16:36 Archived in Cuba Comments (2)

Homosexuality in Oslo and Flamingos

semi-overcast 30 °C

It's strange the things you find in the places you dont expect to find them.

While kicking back in a boring little Cuban city called Cienfuegos we were surprised to find a Norwegian touring theatre group performing a modernest play called 'Toy Boys' about living life as a closet-ed homosexual in Norway. After an hour of full frontal male penis action, gay kisses and rough around the edges acting we left the theatre (which was a beautiful 1800's French inspired masterpiece) confused about what we had just witnessed....

Earlier that day we'd seen flamingos. They are much easier to understand. But probably just as gay.

Tomorrow we head to Mexico with the national airline of Cuba; Cubana. We had to check in earlier today and we were happy to find out our flight is already 2 hours delayed.

Love Ross.

Posted by LinnSailer 14:13 Archived in Cuba Comments (2)

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