For the tourists that fly in from Georgetown, walking the trails around Kaieteur Falls probably feels like quite the jungle experience. There are few sign posts, the trails are quite uneven and to get to one of the viewpoints you even have to walk under some giant boulders where all manner of snakes could be lurking. They should try fishing with the locals.
Ben and I thought we were going to be fishing from a canoe, so we just went out in our flip-flops. What actually happened was that we drove down river from Menzie's Landing towards the falls, and turned off at a creek with some rapids at its mouth. We then stumbled and tripped our way along an invisible 'path' along the creek's edge that consisted of thick vegetation, roots, fallen trees, spiky plants, razor grass, slippery moss, rotten logs, swamps, creeks, sinking piles of dry leaves, muddy banks, hanging vines, and the possibility of snakes around every corner. Indeed, one member of the party spotted a metre long snake sliding into the water.
So the two of us amateurs would just about battle our way to a spot by the creek and get our lines in the water, only to look up and find that everybody else had caught another three fish and gracefully disappeared into the bush ahead of us. What little time we did spend fishing, instead of just keeping up, was only 50% successful as both of us dropped half our catch back into the water whilst trying to get it off the hook.
In the end, Ben took 3 fish and I took 2. Fazal, the 10 year old boy, had taken 18 from the creek in the same time. Looks like we'll need a bit of practice, and to remember our boots next time somebody suggests a fishing trip.
For our last morning at Kaieteur, it was necessary to have some kind of grand finale. This time, when we made the walk from Menzie's Landing, we took our hammocks. After a refreshing bathe in the water above the falls, taking care not to go too deep, and an atmospheric walk around the jungle in the mist, unsuccesfully looking for the cock of the rock (google image that), the hammocks were slung between two trees, right on a viewpoint, a few paces from the cliff edge. From here we could at last lie back in extreme comfort, one with an unobstructed view of the waterfall, the other with the endless green valley in front of him. Snacks were bough from the visitor centre, the sun came out, and even some of the swifts came out to play. I don't believe there is a better 'hammock spot' anywhere in the world.
6 hours later, I found myself in a familiar position. Curled over, back aching, under a blue tarpaulin that now smelled of fish as well as smoke. Damp, cold, and hungry. By the time the 15 HP engine coughed and spluttered and simply ran out of fuel, Ben and I said "thank you very much, we'll walk from here".
As we trudged through the dripping wet rainforest all I could thinkabout was being warm, dry, and inside a hammock. Spag-bol would have to wait, but hot chocolate and a bowl of farine would do the job.