We were awakened by the roosters of course and a radio that blared from 5 am on. We were going to go cave tubing but Eke had a very sore throat and decided to take it easy.
Brian did go and really enjoyed his adventure. The trip to get to the caves was an adventure in itself.
First we met at the tour company office which runs many tours in the area. Bruce, John and Brian got into the back of a 12 passenger tuk tuk with 13 other people. If you do the math you will discover that it was quite crowded. And confusing; We asked the others what trip they were doing and we got three different answers. We were the only ones doing the half-day cave tubing. That raised doubts in everyone’s minds as to whether we were on the right tuk tuk.
As it turns out the same tuk tuk was delivering us to four separate locations. The tuk tuk lurched off giving a horrible “scream” from the clutch every time the driver changed gears. At the second stop where they unloaded six kayaks from the top of the vehicle we waited patiently only to be faced with a tuk tuk which would not restart. Sooo….. we had to get out to push start it.
We were the last stop where we trekked through a few small impoverished villages to reach the caves. It was quite organized once we arrived there. We had a small outhouse in which to change to our bathing suits. There was a small raised covered platform with a few rough picnic tables. We were asked what we wanted for our BBQ lunch; chicken or fish.
We were provided headlamps and assigned our tubes and set off into the cave. We followed a rope by pulling ourselves along through a small opening into the cave. Once inside the only illumination was from our headlamps, In most places the ceiling was about two metres above us but occasionally it was much higher. The formations in the rocks were stunning. In one place we had to leave the rope and wade through the mild current to reach the next leg. We tubed for another 500 metres to the end.
On the return journey we stopped to explore a side cave on foot. We had to crawl through a narrow opening on our hands and knees to reach a very large cave. It was tough on my new knee.
We continued back to the beginning uneventfully. We were in the caves for almost an hour and did about two kilometres round trip.
While Brian was away Eke updated the trip journal, walked into town, had a pot of tea and a sweet at the bakery where Sarah, Sue and Ingrid joined her. Back at the hotel she wrote some postcards and chatted with the others coming back from shopping, massage, hair wash with head massage!
Brian came back at 1.30pm and then Eke went for a swim with Ingrid and Valerie in the "Blue Lagoon". The Blue Lagoon is a narrow lagoon with very clean water. Lots of young people having fun in the water or sunbathing. The lagoon is 7km out of town. We took a tuk tuk there over a very dusty, bumpy gravel road with cows in our path! The swim was great and we were back at the hotel at 3.15pm
At 4pm our group walked down to the river to go for a boat ride down the river in a narrow longboat. The boats are for two people sitting behind each other with the driver in rear. We saw lots of people tubing in the river, kayaking and children swimming. Because it is the dry season, the water level is very low. Nice views of the mountains on each side of the river. It was a very nice way of spending an hour in the late afternoon.
Dinner was at a nice restaurant on the river with a French cuisine where we celebrated Dianne's birthday with a cake and a song and a good meal!