Location: Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe
Early wake-ups are always worth it when the rainforest is awaiting us. At 6:15 am, everyone on board was waking up (besides the early birds and the chefs who had been working on breakfast and lunch for quite some time) and prepping for a canyoning adventure. By 8 am, we were on shore in Guadeloupe, walking across the street from a local beach and some vendors to the office of our canyoning guides. That’s when the fun really started, and the helmets and harnesses were handed out. Fashion statements were made. For those of us who tend to get cold, we could request a thicker wetsuit (aka only me), but the 4mm was no match for the freshwater springs around 20C. We started out with a short hike into the canyon and quickly arrived at our first repel, a beautiful waterfall. It takes a lot of trust in the gear and yourself to lean back far enough that your feet don’t slip out from under you, as many of us learned the hard way, but we all made it down in good spirits and with more than a few laughs. Arguably as breathtaking as the waterfall was, the variety of plant life, with leaves easily larger than cookie sheets and vines hanging down to the ground from several stories above. Our first repel turned out to be a warm-up for what was to come. A chilly scramble downstream led us to the second waterfall repel, with a bit more water flow and a sneaky overhang. The vast majority of us took a bit of a slip and got the most scenic freshwater shower imaginable. Past the pool at the bottom of repel number 2, we had a cliff jump of about 15 feet off the top of another waterfall. Keep in mind the jungle is getting more and more stunning as we go. We tried not to disturb the wildlife, but some of our screams may have been heard for quite some distance (cough cough Steph <3), and the instructions to cannonball were interpreted in various ways, such as throat and face first entries. Continuing to hike downstream, we slowly but surely found our way to the third repel, which included a fun surprise– this section started out as a repel, but when we reached the end of the rope, we had to let go and went flying across the canyon via zipline. Our mornings’ efforts were rewarded with clean spring water trickling over the edge of the wall for some rehydration before trailing off the main river up through a narrow side stream with a bit of rope and climbing involved to get back out of the canyon where our ride was waiting. At some point between shuttles, we found time to eat packed lunches. Exhausted but in high spirits, we made our way back to Ocean Star, where Nick and Drew had taken advantage of the quiet boat, getting loads of work done, including some beautiful fresh varnish. Back on board, there were a few moments of downtime and a double rainbow prior to leadership class and a plant-themed squeezeanother epic day for the books.
Our lovely canyoning guides took loads of photos, but we’re still waiting to receive them. Stay tuned! In the meantime:
Photo 1: Rainbow over Guadeloupe
Photo 2: Hummingbird (shout out to Grandma Ducky <3)
Photo 3: Steph and I all geared up, pre canyoning
Photo 4: The Team pre canyoning
Photo 5: Carli and KT geared up and ready to go