- canyoning with dalat passion tours (vietnam) -
We began our trip not too far out of town, at some small nature park where we were given our introduction by our guide Black Buffalo. Here we were told what we were going to be doing and taught exactly how everything was going to be done. Essentially we were going to be abseiling down both dry and wet falls.
Our first abseil was down the dryer edges of a 15m waterfall, however due to the large volumes of water, we found ourselves letting go a couple of metres from the bottom and landing in the large pool of refreshing water at the base. Despite the first 5 metres of the drop having a gentle decline of about 45 degrees, the rocky edge soon became this daunting vertical drop where we found ourselves moving down quite gingerly, releasing the ropes very cautiously. Although we had an additional safety rope attached to us, when looking down the sheer drop it wasn’t easy to release our ropes to lower ourselves closer to the bottom.
Having gained that little bit of confidence after the first abseil and got the hang of how to do it, we couldn’t wait to get to the second one. Between each of the climbs, we also had to trek through the forest, across the fast flowing rapids, along narrow ridges and in amongst large boulders. As well as the trekking, in order to get to our next major drops, at times we had to slide down smooth, natural rocky water ways in the powerful, fast flowing water. This was really enjoyable as you were rapidly washed away over the huge boulders and naturally guided by the water into the calmer pools. With these large rocks being so smooth due to the constant flow of water, getting hurt was very unlikely, given we let our body relax and move like jelly. Our life jackets also provided a good form of padding whilst our helmets protected us from any knocks to the head.
If the adrenaline and excitement didn’t encourage us for our second abseil, Dragon, our other guide was setting up our packed lunch at the bottom to potentially entice the less daring from the group. It was the shortest drop of the day, however from the top it didn’t look very short as it was a sheer vertical drop. For those wanting an additional thrill, Black Buffalo also gave a further challenge whereby instead of walking down the face, we were to leap down in as few jumps as possible. With Lou and I really enjoying it all, we both took on the challenge to the bottom, taking us two leaps to reach the base.
In order to stock up after an action packed morning, they provided us with a big buffet packed lunch which had quite a range of fillings for our sandwiches and snacks or fruit to finish off with. They also set up a little camp fire for us to warm up by as it did get quite cold in the shade when wet.
Our next abseil was the one that you either love or hate as it was both in the waterfall and the highest one! Nominated by Black Buffalo to go first I really didn’t know what to expect and so I became the guinea pig of the group but was super excited. After having to move out into the water and onto the edge of the waterfall we had to be really careful when climbing down as the water would rush past our feet making it really slippery. The first few metres were along a very gradual gradient until we reached the ridge where it suddenly became a vertical drop and the water would gradually spray up our body as we moved down. Half way down the rock face began to go in on itself and the fast flowing water began to pound on the side of our faces making it hard to see as we had to look to the bottom to take instructions as to which direction to head. Once we were at around 4 metres from the pool at the bottom we had to release the ropes where we just plummeted into the water on our backs.
At times it was slightly daunting but the fact that we had two really experienced guides and we were on safety ropes, meant we always felt safe. For this particular decent one from our group did have a mini panic attack halfway down but was simply just lowered down to the water by the mighty Black Buffalo. However for those into adventurous activities, it simply is amazing.
Our last abseil called The Washing Machine, was not the tallest but was both wet and dry and probably the craziest. The first half was a dry climb until we met the fast flowing waterfall in a narrow drop where there were rock faces on three sides. Once we were below the edge of the waterfall, we let go of the ropes and dropped a couple of metres into a narrow violent whirlpool. When in this “washing machine” for a few seconds, we were then spat out into the larger, calmer section of the pool where we were caught by Dragon as it was still quite rapid. Here both my shoes and socks came off but was only able to find my shoes when I was out.
Dalat Passion Tours were definitely the tour group to go with. Everything we did was to perfection with 2 brilliant guides who always made us feel safe and gave us a complementary beer to finish it all off. Throughout the day they would take pictures of us doing the activities which they then gave us at the end for no additional cost.
Just before out last abseil, we came to an 11 metre drop into a deep large pool which instead of lowering ourselves into using ropes, we were able to jump it. There was a path round to the bottom, or also a 7 metre jump but like they would say on our tour “Don’t be Lazy, Just be crazy”, only four of us jumped and both Lou and I went from the top…again and again and again.