1-5 Millennium Caves

Walking to the caves.
It was quite a hike through mud

 Because we are busy playing tourist on Santo, we went to a tourist place. Like everything in this country, it is all about being in the right place at the right time. Jason and I were on a bus going back to the house we’re staying at and the driver asked us if we wanted to go to Millennium Caves. Five days later, we went.

They say the tour takes three hours but that is Island Time, it actually took about five. We arrived at the first village via bus. From there, we walked to the second village where we met our guides. Then we started the hike. The hike took us an hour and a half along muddy foot paths into the bush. Jason and I felt right at home, it was just like going to the garden. Then things got cool.

The cave mouth is down a steep slope. The slope has ladders that we had to crawl down facing the wall, like a proper ladder. After the ladders, there is short stretch of boulders and then the cave mouth. To get down into the cave mouth, we had to rappel down a ten feet of rock face. Fun!
There were a lot of ladders to climb down into the caves
The cave itself is about a hundred feet tall and varies between ten and forty feet wide with a river running through the middle. There are birds and bats roosting in the walls from about ten feet up to the top of the cave. All we could see of most of them was their butts sticking out of the nests, though occasionally, I’d see a baby bird squawking in its nest. Unfortunately, the butts sticking out over the nests also released a lot of excrement that we had to walk and climb over or wade through. Eww.
Into the caves!
There were bats and a river to hike through

We walked in the river that started out about knee deep and got as deep as my hips in some places. For the most part, it was shallow enough that I could see the bottom and where to put my feet, but every once in a while, it got a bit dodgy. The water wasn’t the cleanest and in the dark a flashlight beam doesn’t go far. A lot of people wiped out at least once. I just sat down on a convenient rock.
At the end of the cave, we rinsed the bat poo off in the river and had a picnic. After our picnic, we got our floaties and started canyoning. By canyoning, I mean climbing around on really big rocks. Sometimes the rocks went up, sometimes they went down and sometimes the guide just sort of disappeared. That was when we had to crawl under a really big rock. It was FUN!
We went down the river in childrens’ toys.
We also climbed over rocks with them

At the end of the canyoning section, we got to a nice lazy river through a gorge. We floated down the river on our floaties. Both Jason’s and mine had holes so each time we had a break on the rocks, we would blow up our floaties again. The gorge was gorgeous (had to be said) with waterfalls, places to jump from and short breaks of rocks to climb over. When Jason and some of the other people got too far ahead, they did ankle (or is it wrist?) -deep handstands while they waited. Some of us were too busy taking pictures to go quickly.

Floating down the river was AMAZING

The end of the tour was a climb up some more ladders and another rope-assisted waterfall climb. At the top of the waterfall, we leveled out to an easy path to the first village. We took a break at the village and ate pineapple and passion fruit before we walked the last half an hour back to the bus.

The canyoning was SO COOL! Totally my kind of fun. It was one of the more beautiful places I’ve seen in this country of wonders.

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