Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sabie and Graskop trip - Part 3 - Canyoning

After an eventful first day with water tubing & caving, most of us rested well in the night to get ready for probably the most enjoyed of them all - canyoning or kloofing as it's called in the native tongue. The only glitch is we had to start early at 7 AM and have breakfast as well, which not many of us managed to do.

Kestelle was prompt in arriving but Alagiri was without his shoes. So, Kestelle probably planned it and scared off Karthik from Canyoning thereby securing shoes for Alagiri :)

Oh, and I forgot to tell about our two best players throughout - Barkesh and RedBull. Kestelle was finding it very difficult to pronounce Prakash and Prabhu and somehow started calling them Barkesh and RedBull :-) Those names just stuck to them for rest of our trip.

It was a misty morning and the drive to MacMac falls was very enjoyable, especially with our guys drooling in the trailer when a lady joined us near Kestelle's office - her name was Vanya and she was from Serbia.

Our first exercise upon reaching Mac Mac was for all of us to get into our Superman dress ... with the wet suit & shorts over it. For most of us, this was the touch part - to get our wet suits on, most of them not fitting in size. Gnana had in fact got it reversed and was very uncomfortable with the fit! Over the wet suit, we had to wear a shorts for helping in bum sliding over rocks. The first ordeal over, we started with the trek.

It was a nice walk for a while slowly but steadily getting more and more slippery. So was the 'nicety' of our experience I thought! Kestelle was just walking along with us and suddenly jumped into a pool of water some 15 to 20 feet! I, for one was damned, when one after another people started jumping in ... I was honestly cursing myself under the breath for my twin fears - of water and of heights. But anyway decided to take the plunge after quite some hesitation. The pool of water was amidst a few rocks and so people had to jump right in between. I closed my eyes and just jumped but I guess it was close to the rocks than the pool's center. Anyway, gasping for breath once more and hanging around the people extending their help, I reached shore. The very first feeling after the jump was of disbelief that even I went through something like this :-)

Rest of the trek did not involve more jumps but was more of climbing rocks up and down, sometimes bum sliding. Nantha unfortunately had a couple of bad falls hurting his hands and knees, but that did not show as the man braved on!

We had our first break after an hour near the first waterfall on our kloofing trip with kestelle distributing some biscuits & coke. I am sure if we had any idea of the work that lay ahead, people would grabbed lot more to eat. There was a mini-jump from a 6 feet which people enjoyed. Shaju was our hero of this trip as well. Nanthu was "terrific" helping everybody (more desperately for the ladies in our group) in both the jumps but Shaju was "terrifying" trying to sink Nanthu every time he offered him help with swimming across ;-)

Only people who knew swimming could go closer to the second water fall and Prabhu helped a couple of us to go closer. I stopped mid-way due to the depth, but it seems we could have gone farther! That in itself was still very good and from there, we moved on to the final Mac Mac falls. Everybody was tired by then as we reached our final destination. But the beauty of the fall had us temporarily forget our weariness and the braver souls carried on with another mini-swim to reach the foot-rocks. We had our second snack-meal there but obviously the biscuits & coke was no match to our hunger this time :-)

The return journey was in itself a brilliant adventure! Our tired limbs had to carry us over a rather steep climb of over 60 metres, sometimes walking across trees & vines, sometimes climbing over steep landscape and sometimes literally over 6 feet rocks. There were several breaks taken by all of us given the nature of the climb and there was a palpable relief in everyone just reaching the top. The relief turned into joy for our guys seeing all the bikini clad women who were obviously flustered by the heat :-))

The return journey was without further mishaps and in fact enjoyable with us trying to learn "Chao Cacusi" in Serbian & Vanya trying to learn "Un peyar enna" :-) So famished was our group that the lunch at Wild Fig Tree restaurant comprised of all possible dishes, the exotic ones being Ostrich, Springbok, Fried Fish Trout, Chicken and Milkshakes!

Thus ended the three of our adventures, each different in its own respect and yet with the common thread of letting us overcome our own fears!

Oh well ... and the final part of my writing will need to be about Kestelle, the big swing and our last big adventure - the return journey itself!

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