Posted by: yachtcrewsing | January 4, 2012

Zip-Lining through the Rainforest

I fly across the valley of Antiguan rain forest far below, legs dangling, heart pumping, and ears full of the combination of chirping birds, whirring of metal wheels on taut wire and the speed-induced whistling wind.

It is indisputable: life is more exhilarating when experienced via zip line.

This zip lining adventure came about entirely by accident. My family was partaking in one of our ‘magical mystery tours’ of the South-West coast of the island. Entering into the lush tropical region of that area, our rent-a-wreck of a car bottomed out on a speed bump serendipitously (or perhaps intentionally) placed at the entrance of Antiguan Rainforest Canopy Tours. Happily open to any random direction out adventure might take us, we parked by the side of the road and enrolled in an hour and a half zip lining experience.

Our congratulatory feelings on finding a relatively out-of-the-way adventure turned out to be premature. In waiting for our experience to commence, we were disheartened to witness a group of around 30 middle-aged, overweight cruise ship passengers pile out of a touring bus and rudely insert themselves into our 6 person group.

As the more statistically inclined adventurer knows, there is truly no more prominent quantifying indicator of ‘touristy-ness’ than the number of cruise ship passengers at any given attraction.

Despite this perceived setback, we were rewarded for our independent arrival by being the first ones on the course, with harnesses unattractively tight around the waist and helmets like incubating eggshells snugly affixed to our heads.

The initial hop off of the wooden platform, legs forward and arms back, made it all worthwhile. There was a half second downwards drop as the line sagged under the weight before being smoothly propelled in a forward motion. After marveling for a few seconds at the sensation of flight, there was time to gaze at the stunning array of greenery in the valleys below and mountains above before breaking with a backward-reaching gloved hand and landing, slightly dazed, on another wooden treetop platform.

The zip lines were connected by a series of boardwalks, forest paths, tree-houses and suspended rope bridges. If not even for the zip lining, the walks in between made the experience truly special and worthwhile. On the last zip line my mother, who was dragged along despite ardent protestations, asked the zip line employee “aw, is this REALLY our last one?”

Okay Princess Cruises, we admit it: that was a good choice for a tour…

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