Friday 22 April 2016

Aboard MS Expedition: Steaming wet Colombia

It quickly became known as the 'death march'. A little melodramatic perhaps,
but after four hours hiking in scattered groups in what appeared to be in
circles with a local guide who quickly vanished from view every time we set
off, it was one of those events you had to laugh about.

Bahia Solano on the Pacific Coast of Colombia is a remote fishing and
subsistence agricultural village deep in the primary rainforest. The local
people are predominantly of African descent, made up from slaves who escaped
their Spanish masters hundreds of years ago and vanished into the jungle as
best they good. By all accounts, a successful ploy.

Groups from MS Expedition set off in different directions in the 97%
humidity. Some for a waterfall, others for a 'botanical garden', while our
objective was the remote village of Huina that, as it turned out, raised
cattle in large clearings in the 'primary' jungle. The trail was narrow
through dense jungle, muddy with frequent stream crossings, swelled by
recent rains. Those rains thankfully did not recur during our walk, but
there would have been those, myself included, who would have welcomed a
cooling shower even though I looked like I'd been standing in one already.

After a series of comical 'hide and seek' episodes amid the undergrowth, we
eventually emerged at a tiny beach resort which provided a trickle of WiFi
and very welcome cold Colombian lager.


* Group assembles at the beach head
* Local woodcutter with 'wild acacia' planks
* Jungle trail near Bahia Solano

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