Friday, January 31, 2014

A Deserted Island

Zipline, though it has little to do with the Maya or any part of Mexican history has gained popularity as a vacation activity.  It is currently used as a means to travel through forrest canopy and is extraordinarily fun.  We went on a half day zipline course with the Selvatica company.  They have setup a course of twelve ziplines.  Varying in range and pitch they are basically hanging from a harness from a pulley moving across a more or less horizontal wire.

It was a blast.  We went with a basic package that was labeled safe enough for even a three year old, though I have a hard time imagining a three year old understanding the grasp of using your hand and weight as a brake.   Loren has never been on anything like this and I had been on only a mild version as a young teen.  We weren't quite sure what to expect.  The course goes out from the main entrance area around and loops back.  That way there is no need to trek back through the humid Mexican jungle to your locker.  They have other attractions which includes a bungee swing.  They offer various types of zipline styles, the "superman" being one I think would be a blast to try in which you zip horizontally through the sky like Christopher Reeves.  They also allow you to try zipping hanging upside down, though a guide rides down with you in tandem.  Neither Loren nor I had the guts to try this.  They have camera people mixed in with the crew of guides and they photograph you as you go through the course.  They said they do this, for good reason, because participants need both hands to free in order to brake when zipping across the wires.   These photographs are of course available to purchase for a modest fee when you finish your adventure.  During the zipline portion Loren had made the comment, "If we were stranded on a jungle island like Robinson Crusoe it would be cool to use ziplines to get around!"

After the ziplining course we rode in an army-style open air truck with bench seats in rows over muddy, bumpy roads towards our other destination.  Our main guide would let us know a fresh section of bumpy road was coming by announcing we should be ready for a "Mayan massage."  He made charming allusions to buildings in various states of shabby disrepair or construction with phrases like, "Here comes our super duper 7-11" or "On your left you will see our Starbucks...coming soon."  Once we finally made it to our second destination we split up, some of us going onto ride ATV's and the rest of us to swim.

Our particular package did not include the ATV portion so we enjoyed walking down a gravel path to a cenote of smallish size, about 30 meters deep our guide told us.  These are filled with cool fresh water, and seem endlessly deep.  They had a water zipline setup and we all took turns riding it and dropping a few feet into the water.  We had fun swimming and splashing around.  We made our way over to a submerged dock they had on one side connected to a path that wound up to the observation area.  While standing on it we had little fishes nibble/suck on our feet.  After careful observation and a quick query with our guide....yes it turns out that it was the self same type of fish used for fish pedicures.  However the fish in the cenote were closer to two or three inches.  It was fun to watch them.
After leaving the cenote we were taken back to the base area and fed some yummy chicken dinner, as well as offered our photos for a modest price.


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