You are here

Zipping down Mombacho

My first zip line.

So today (Sunday, May 14th) we did what is called a "Canopy Tour"... which is a very exciting combination of climbing gear; gloves, helmets, the lot... trees, platforms, ropes, swings, and repelling... Yeah.

We left Granada at the ungodly hour of 8am (it's Sunday, people!). Luckily, we had been awoken at 4:30am by the joyous and upbeat strains of the marching band wending down our street who paused briefly to set off firecrackers in front of our bedroom windows. When I asked our guide what that whole marching experience would have been in aid of, he informed us that May is the month of the Virgin, so, you know, there's quite a bit going on parade and firecracker wise. I wanted to go on with "Yes, but is 4:30am the usual TIME to celebrate the Virgin?" But I refrained.

Hard to focus the camera when you're bouncing up and down in the back of a 4WD.

So yes, we went and collected our fellow canopy adventurers, and headed for the hills... well, Mombacho. The canopy tour we were doing was around the other side of the volcano, so the side we haven't been up before. In hindsight, there's a good reason that the "road" we were using was less traveled... I didn't think cars were even capable of driving on roads like that. They looked like some delinquent children had been given sticks of dynamite and let loose on large volcanic rocks. It was all rocks and dust roughly thrown into a vaguely road like shape. It was pretty amazing, and our driver just bumped along, calmly humming to the radio, while we were all tossed around the back of the 4WD like ice in a cocktail shaker. I wanted to ask if they often blew tyres, and then decided I would prefer not to know. However, I will never complain about a dirt track again!

When we arrived at the coffee plantation, we got kitted up in our harnesses, signed our "This activity is inherently dangerous and we realise that it's our own fault if we get killed or injured" forms, and got back in the 4WD for some more shaking on our way to the beginning of the canopy tour.

Huh? What are we supposed to do?

We only had the vaguest idea of what we would be doing... the guide book said it was fun and that was the extent of our knowledge. It turns out that the canopy tour is a series of zip lines (flying foxes) from and to platforms high up in the Mombacho rain forest. The guys were great, very confident and safety conscious, and gave us a talk about how to do zip lines. Then we were marched to the ladder, and up we went. The first ladder wasn't very high (5m), just to ease us in, but the first zip line was the third longest at 73 metres and we were all laughing nervously and watching everyone going before us carefully.

I very cleverly managed to hold on to the zip too tight on a couple of the zips, which meant I slowed myself down too quickly and had to pull myself hand over hand to the next platform. Obviously, I was quite reminiscent of Spiderman. Dave was a natural at the zipping. Unfortunately, on the very first zip, Kaleb lost a glove and got a bit of rope burn, so he went strapped to a guide after that. Which turned out to be an excellent alternative, because he got to relax and look around and not focus on the whole "Am I zipping right or am I about to go into a spin?"

The trees were were climbing on and seeing were huge and lovely with lots of other plants and vines growing off them, there were coffee plants below us and butterflies around the place. And the ants! We saw heaps of different types, and some of them were huge (although apparently they are "friendly" and don't bite even though they are called Tiger Ants. HAH!) and they were all hanging out on the canopy tour, doing their own thing on the ropes.

This bit is easy.

Anyway, we did a couple more lines and then got to serious climbing up another ladder, which Kaleb managed one handed, and then we were 15m above the ground and it was so cool, being on these tiny little platforms so high in the air and then flying through the air to the next one. The longest zip line was one hundred metres long, and we were sailing over and under branches through the canopy. It was pretty phenomenal, and Dave and I were thinking how awesome it would be to have something like that in Denmark, where the trees are even bigger.

That's Kaleb up there about to repel down the 18m drop one-handed.

After the last zip, we walked a hanging bridge, and then repelled down and eighteen metre drop off the tree platform to the ground. Which was amazing... even though I chose "slow" as opposed to "freefall". Dave and the other guy there did freefall, and my god it was fast! And they both yelled as they descended... manfully of course. Then we walked back to the finca to get our harnesses off and get back in the cocktail shaker.

All in all, a super fun experience. If anyone offers you a zipline canopy tour, say yes!!


So how many "lines" did you do exactly???