Does my travel insurance policy cover me for this?
Caving in Semuc Champey, Guatemala, with guides who looked 15, because they were 15.
One was guiding for the first time.
We weren’t told much. Well, the guides didn’t speak English. None of the travellers in the group spoke fluent Spanish.
At the hostel, they’d said wear old clothes. Shoes or sandals. You will get wet. You will get dirty.
No headlamps, even though it’s caving
We got candles. To take through the water, no worries.
“Vamos” the guides grinned, as I wondered how to say “she’ll be right mate” in Spanish.
In we went. Walking, squeezing, crouching, sliding, climbing, swimming.
Candles went out. Surprise, surprise.
“Vamos”. Deeper and deeper into the dark cave.
Fascinating. Beautiful. Exhilarating, and unnerving.
Deep caverns, tiny crevices, mini waterfalls.
Then a deep pool. Apparently it was deep. The guides said it was. Well, they said something before removing their headlamps and leaping in.
“Me? You mad?”
Well, we’re in this far, why not?
What a rush.
Further and further. Colder and colder. Deeper and deeper. Then I started to shiver, we were only halfway in.
The guides grinned and leapt and crawled and climbed. We followed.
Just as I was about to freeze to death, we made it out.
Great fun, but no time to thaw out.
We stood on the bridge. The guides threw their tyre tube into the fast flowing water.
So did we…
Published on http://www.myholidayflashback.auspost.com.au, May 2016.
Image: Rachelle Blake.