So… Canyoning is what we were in Dalat for. Yes that’s what was in the news recently, hence I’m writing this blog 2 days behind what we are actually doing (its got nothing to do with not being able to keep up with how much is going on)
I’ll put your mind at rest; the company that took us canyoning were really professional. They knew their clove hitches from their garlic cloves. All the gear was in good condition and rated well by known brands. It was a properly safe experience, well, as safe as abseiling down waterfalls and jumping 10m into rock pools can get!
We piled into a mini-van and they took us out of Dalat a short way, picking up some other hostel canyoners… canyoneers… canyonaters… They gave us all the gear and waved us down to the first abseil, an introduction. It was 45° and about 5m long… Me and Mike have pleanty of rope experience so where the rest of the group were gingerly shuffling over the edge, we grabbed the kit and bombed down seeing how fast we could do it! The tour guides let us get on with it, they could see we knew what we were doing.
From there we went and did a proper abseil, about 25m over a bulge and free rappel to the ground. After swapping our shoes for an assortment of socks they asked us to climb back up a way to the waterfall abseil. This was probably the only dangerous bit, the rocks were really slippery in just socks but it was fine.
The waterfall abseil was ace! Down a stream in a gully and over the edge. I went first and I think the rest of the group was glad somone experienced did go first. It was nice to be in the water, it was stinking hot. Got a photo on the edge and then plunged down and under the falls water. It was inpossible to hear anything the instructor was shouting but I could see where I was going so it was fine. Mike swiftly followed and made it look so easy. We were buzzing when we got to the bottom and everyone who made it down got a cheer and round of applause – very British.
Shoes on, short walk, floated a bit in the river which was nice and refreshing. Now it was time for the cliff jumping. Mike went first and enough said about that. It was a 10m drop into a deep pool and a few people didnt fancy it. Both of us went twice, go large or go home!
The guide pulled out a massive spread for lunch. He was a really nice guy, all the instructors were really nice actually. Doing things safely but having a laugh. “Dont be lazy! Be CRAZY!”
We were chatting with the rest of the group and made some good friends. The competition was on when the zipline was pulled out. Being the first to get a flip nailed was the challenge. After about 8 attempts one of the guys got it and Mike was not to be out done. Since I’v had my knee injury I’v lost all my climbing strength and I didnt fancy another trip to hospital so wasnt gunna push my luck. As we left the canyon cold beers were passed around to celebrate, presumably, not killing anyone LOL
We had signed up for food again at the hostel. Its just amazing all the veg and meats. We havent had a bad meal in vietnam yet. Im really becomming a fan of their cuisine, I didnt even think about food before I got here and its really good!
We arranged to meet up with our fellow canyonistas at an awesome bar. Apparently its taken 28 years to build and its still being added to and changed around. There is literally no way to explain this bar, its just a health and safety nightmare and amazingly awesome for it. The best way to explain it is a boheimian ants nest where all the walls and floors go all over the place and eachother. Its a gigantic maze over about 4 floors and numerous chambers and bars. Most of it was pitch black too so your navigating on intuition and touch alone. A great place to play sardines!! There was about 10 of us playing and cramming into tiny, dark holes with eachother. I got pretty intimate with this swiss chap and had to explain NAT which quickly evolved into DAT… dont ask.