Monday, 11 May 2015

Ziplining and Hummingbirds

The first adrenaline activity day for me had arrived. I'd waited a good few years to try ziplining, after doing one awesome cable locally in Hampshire at Go Ape, and now I was finally doing it. And what can I tell you - it was immense !!! But not the four practice cables beforehand, I could not get the technique right for the braking system. The first time, I stopped short of the platform. The second time, I stopped even shorter. The third time, I went careening into the platform wall and bashed up my knees. And the final practice line, I almost lost my glove and cut my hand in two on the cable. FUN! It was then that I decided I didn't like doing adrenaline stuff where I have to be in control. Luckily for me, it got much more amazing after the practice cables with the introduction of the automatic braking system, and the next three wires were phenomenal. I wasn't interested in the rappelling midway through the course or the giant Tarzan swing at the end - which looked to me like an upright bungee jump and I'm not a lover of those - but I did do some hanging bridges amongst the trees and climbing higher and higher through the forest to the better cables meant I got some practice in for the Ometepe volcano hike in a couple of days.

I mean, how can I describe the feeling you get when you're flying high above the rainforest canopy. It's simply the most incredible feeling if you love the sensation of flying.
The first of the three real cables, you sit up and take it all in, and then for the two big wires, you fly down the cable like superman, or superwoman. It's quite scary putting your trust in a harness, but then it's too exhilarating to be worried. I just thought, if I'm going to die, what a great way to go out. 

The company and activities
Getting ready to zipline the cloud forest
Briefing time
Demonstrating the braking system which I couldn't get the hang of at all! Let's skip to the good bit where you guys apply the automatic brake
Group shot. Photo by Abby Starr
First practice cable
Practice ziplines
I think you need to reel me in!
Are we getting to the good bits yet?
The first of the three real cables!
So I guess we're really doing this! Superwoman zipline number 1 above the canopy was immense. Superwoman zipline number 2 was even better. Longest zipline in Latin America! The most amazing feeling as you fly along the cable, can't even describe it

Hurtling towards the automatic brake...!

Completing the longest zipline (1600m) in Latin America Super woman style! 80m above the ground, flying over the cloud forest canopy at about 60mph
After the amazing-ness of the morning, we got back to the hotel, walked into town and grabbed a burger and chips takeaway from another little place we happened to stumble upon. We tried to find somewhere to sit and eat and watch the world of Monteverde go by, but it was so windy we ended up eating back at the hotel before the next excursion started in the afternoon.

It was time for more wildlife. Olivia and I had booked a private guide, Henry, to take us for a hike in the lower cloud forest at Curi-Cancha Reserve. We managed sightings of Agouti, Coati, toucans but really far off, heard the national bird of Costa Rica, the Quetzal, another blue Morphos butterfly that we almost got pics of if we hadn't met a group of birders at that exact moment. They stomped past in search of the toucan miles away and that was my photo opportunity done for. What cheered me up was getting my hummingbird fix straight after this happened. I've been waiting to photograph hummingbirds for three years, after missing out in Soroa, Cuba. I was totally in my element!

And so my love of hummingbird photography is born...

... and I could spend hours trying to capture them on camera