Tourist In My Own Country 🌄 Ralleigh Falls 🚤 D-1
A few weeks ago we embarked on another off the grid four day adventure, exploring our own country with friends. It was my first trip to a place called Ralleighvallen (falls), that's a bit in the middle of the country. Definitely smack in the jungle; when looking on Google maps you'll only see forest green 😅.
We also had to be up early morning just like with our Apoera trip, because the bus ride would be approximately four hours and after that it would be a three to four hours boat trip in small (wooden) canoe like boats mind you, with little to no comfort. So we prepared our lunch for the first day the evening before, but woke up a bit too late to make breakfast on day one. Lucky for us, the food stands were already open, so we were able to buy something to eat in the morning.
The day started out very chill and despite the jerky ride (poor infrastructure) I was able to rest a bit and I enjoyed the company. Thinking back, I'm happy I wasn't focused on the time, because it would've driven me crazy to constantly check the time and trying to estimate how much longer. For the most part the ride was going well, except for that one instance when one of the passengers had gotten motion sickness and needed to cool off and needed some fresh air.
After - I don't know how many hours - we safely arrived at Witagron, where we would step into the canoes, that would bring us to Foengoe island; our sleeping destination. And it just had to start raining at that moment. Happy that we came prepared and had garbage bags ready for our travel bags. It didn't look like it would stop pouring soon, so the bags, food supplies, camping gear, fishing rods, etc. had to be loaded in the rain. Then, I didn't realize that we were also going to have to step into those boats while it was still raining. When it was time to step in, I was a bit scared and definitely had it cold, because I forgot my oversized rain jacket.
That was when the real adventure started for me. I was sitting in a motorized canoe with no cover against the rain and/or the wind. I was shivering a lot, even when it stopped raining. But I'm not sure if that's worse or if it's the sputtering engine of the canoe, which lengthened our travel time. Not long after we left the shore the engine stopped working and the helmsman had trouble starting it up. Because we were with a large group, there were other canoes available, so the helmsman got help with that.
Still, we could hear the engine sputtering from time to time and it breaking down a few times after that initial time. The helmsman was then able to start the engine again without help, until we were close to our destination. By then it was dark out and we had to use our flashlights to see and to beckon the other boats for help. Because we were near Foengoe island, the helmsmen decided to "tow" the boats by letting the passengers hold unto the other boat.
Imagine being in wet and cold clothes without a life vest, in a defect canoe on one of the deepest rivers in the country in the dark, with here and there rock formations coming out of the water. Could you imagine all of those scenes that might be going through your head? I kept calm, because I kept thinking of one instance that I went into a boat as a child in the dark. I was with family and it was or it felt safe. None the less, it got daunting in the end, because the two boats were sometimes squeezing each other, getting water into the other boat.