It is not easy to access the Canaima Parc, south of Venezuela. If you want to see it, you have two possibilities: Either you buy a postcard or you book a small plane; there is no overland access. The planes leave from Ciudad Bolivar, whenever there are enough passengers to make it profitable. I was lucky, as usual, and we were five to board a small Cessna for a 1 ½ hour flight to Canaima, in the middle of the rain forest. The name says it, and on the flight in there, I got a clear preview of what was waiting for us: water, a lot of water.

Thanks to the global warming, since a few years the rainy season lasts longer and the rainfalls are more abundant. This will not be funny, but I am here for a special spectacle, the Rio Kerepes Falls, and the Salto Angel. And to appreciate these, the more it rains, the more water is there, the better it is.

In Canaima we changed from plane for a pirogue, and off we were for a four hour long drive upstream the Kerepes river. These long pirogues carved from huge trees lie deep in the water, and are not the latest results of aerodynamic studies. We were wet almost immediately after leaving. The rowing days are gone; now a big, a very big engine powers them up. As we speeded upstream I wandered why they were so much bigger as those one can usually see.

I understood at the firs rapid.

If this was white water rafting, I guess it would be difficulty level 3-4 on a scale up to 5. But this is different. This very long and rigid boat does not adapt to the waves as a flexible rafting boat does, there is almost no possibility to maneuvers. The pilot revved the engine to full power and drove straight into the turbulent waters. The battle between the screaming machine and the furious nature lasted some 20 seconds, black waves clashed over us, we are totally soaked, and there are some 5 cm of water at the bottom of the boat, and we start shoveling it out. Fortunately our belongings are secured in waterproof trash bags. For hours rapids and cataracts will succeed, and, as the river starts narrowing the difficulties get bigger.

Finally we arrived at our hotel for this night: a dozen hammocks under a tin roof. No electricity, nor water, but a great barbecue. It would have been quite charming if the mosquitoes would not have invited themselves to the party. I did not sleep a lot that night; a violent thunderstorm is drumming on the roof. There is a hellish noise and water everywhere; pretty uncomfortable, but somehow welcome.  Because tomorrow, we’re going to watch the Salto Angel.