Cayla and I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to watch sunrise on the beach. Unfortunately it was overcast and there was no sun to be found, but we were happy to get off to an early start. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the cafe and then set off for jungle surfing. We were picked up at 7:30, and scooped up other adventurers at their lodgings along the way. The driver cruised down the dirt roads and bumpy driveways much faster than Cayla and I would have dared on our cautious journey here.
Once at the Jungle Tours house, we were fitted for harnesses and helmets by a friendly crew. The five young instructors were from Australia, Canada, and England, and they all had the travel bug. It was interesting to hear how they ended up in the middle of the jungle, teaching tourists how to swing through the trees. All the helmets had names inscribed on them, and participants were referred to by that name for the remainder of the jungle surfing experience. Cayla was dubbed Rambo, and I was the Incredible Hulk. We went through a course of five zip lines, and traveled through the different levels of the rainforest. I could have stayed all day and repeated the course until dark. My favorite ride was the last one, where we were able to zip upside down to the next tree. Next time I hope to convince them to let me go upside-down at full speed down the whole mountain. The weather was overcast and it started to drizzle, which is appropriate for rainforest adventures. We couldn’t see the full view of the ocean from the treetops because the clouds had descended onto the mountain. It was still incredible and amazing to get a bird’s eye view of the oldest rainforest on the planet.
We learned that the Cape Tribulation rainforest area is estimated to be 120 million years old! Cayla and I love the fan palm trees that are everywhere. One of our guides informed us that the creators of Avatar came here and borrowed ideas from the rainforest, including the fan palm, for the movie. The strangling fig tree is another amazing phenomenon. Bats and birds eat the figs, and their droppings scatter the seeds on the tops of trees. The fig trees grow downward and wrap themselves around the host tree, creating a spider-web effect. The host tree is eventually overpowered by the fig, does not get enough sunlight to survive, and disintegrates. A hollow, net-like tree trunk remains, and makes for a perfect climbing tree. I used this natural ladder a few times on our hike up Mt. Sorrow yesterday.
Back at the Cape Trib Beach House, Cayla and I relaxed at a table in the cafe, under a large canopy, and chatted with the American friends we made. At 1:30, we left for a highly anticipated exotic fruit tasting. An enthusiastic woman named Leslie picked us up in a muddy van from the farm. In a large gazebo, we learned about the winter fruits of Cape Tribulation and sampled some of the most delicious and interesting fruits. Leslie gave us a glass of lemon water to cleanse our pallet for the tasting. The tastes and textures ranged from grapefruit-like “pommelo” to the rich custard tasting “soursop.” I’m pretty sure I will be dreaming about these rare and mouthwatering fruits until I return to this paradise some day. The couple who owns the farm purchased the land in the late 1980s when there were no roads in the area. They learned about the land and experimented with different seeds purchased in southeast Asia and various Pacific islands. Their commitment to their profession and loyalty to keeping the landscape eco-friendly is admirable. Following the tasting, we toured the farm and saw the trees and plants where the fruits grow.
Very satisfied, we returned from the farm and went for a run on the beach. Cayla and I found a path up to a beautiful overlook of the shoreline and soaked up the view. Between the thick, mysterious rainforest with the perfect climbing trees and places to set up a hammock, and the pristine blue ocean that seems to stretch into eternity, it’s unbelievable that this place is real. We are so blessed to be experiencing the beauty of this environment.
After exploring the beach, we hopped in the car and bounced along the gravel road to Mason’s for a dinner of crocodile and kangaroo burgers. We pulled up just before close, and munched on our meals at a table outside, looking up at the green mountains cloaked in fog. The burgers were delicious and we finished every last bite. Cayla is the perfect travel companion, and we are making the most of every moment we have here.
Another incredible day with the most unique experiences. I am so happy and content, I only wish that my family and adventurous friends were here to enjoy it with me.