The sun hadn´t been out in days, but it was up and shining this one day. How lucky we were! So, we all got into a pick up truck and drove off to the caves . There we were given a candle each and we were on our way. It was pitch black inside and surprisingly warm. We were all told that the caves were cold. Again, the sun made a huge difference. We walked or swam in the dark, climbing the occasional rock or ladder, squeezing through tight cracks in the rock or jumping off stuff.
The cave apparently was 11km long but we only did 300m as the rest was unexplored and too narrow a guide said. They also told us the story of some people who spent two days in the caves tryig to get as far down as possible. Eventually they had to come back.
The first challenge was climbing up a small waterfall. It was kinda strong, and it did look a lot harder to climb than it actually was. That was fun, we then swam (trying not to hit underwater rocks and cut ourselves) to a point where we could jump off a cliff. After that it was time to go back. Too bad we couldn´t take any cameras inside as the line of peole swimming in the dark, candle in hand made a great picture.
After some sliding and more swimming we got to another waterfall falling through a narrow crack in the rocks. It was the most unnverving passage of all as we had to squeeze through the crack (water coming over us) not knowing what was beneath us and how deep it was. It turned out to be a meter high an very calm once you were beyond the waterfall.
So, we were done with the caves. A fund experience, something that I hadn´t done before. It was time for the tubing and the giant swing. We each had a go (or a few) at the swing, landing in the middle of the river. It was fun, as it was very high up and one splashed into the river from aheight of 3-4m. The swing was fun, but only if you landed properly. I unfortunately landed on my ass which still hurts from the experience. Abit later we all grabbed a tube and floated down the river, enjoying the sun and relaxing.
Time to have some lunch before we went onto Semuc Champey.
The first thing we did was climb to a viewing point from where all of Semuc Champey could be seen in al its glory. It was indeed pretty, very blue. You may have notice how I am not too excited talking about this experience but that´s only because I had seen similar stuff (if not prettier) in Mexico. I am by no means dismissing the beauty and importance of Semuc Champey though.
We made our way down to the pools, where we had some time to ourselves. The water in the pools was slighlt warmer than the river as they were two separate things. Semuc Champey is a naturally formed limestone bridge, under which passes the Cahabon River. Apparently, three boys fell into the river an were never found.
We slowly made out way downto the last pool where a surprise awaited us – a 12m jump into the river under a powerful waterfall. Not everybody had to do it, it was voluntary. At first I though we all had to make our way down, either through jumping or through climbing down a rope our guide had prepared. I was pretty tired by this point and climbing down the rope seemed like too much work. So I jumped. Again, another unfortunate landing on my ass and that one hurt! It still does. I have indeed been very unkind to my bottom in the last few days. Previous to going to Semuc Champey I had done tubing nearby the hostel an hud bumped the very end of my back on an underwater stone. I couldn´t get to the middle of the river fast enough, and experienced the painful bump. It´s like falling down a staircase, and the last time it happened to me it hurt for weeks.
I haven´t had a single day since I have started travelling where I have been in perfect health. There´s always something – a cold, muscle ache, a sore bottom!