While camping out near the ruined Mayan city of Palenque, a Californian on his way to the intergalactic rainbow gathering in Veracruz noticed the boats on the roof and stopped by to chat. Turns out Dan, who happens to be Fred Corriell's cousin, is a kayaker, but hadn't imagined he'd end up kayaking on his trip to Mexico to fly kites and practice holistic health in a communal setting. We were going to the Agua Azul river and waterfalls the next day and invited him along. Fortuitously enough, he fit in Skarda's gear and boat and subbed in for her on the river. We conducted aerial reconnaisance (bought postcards of the river shot from above). We negotiated access (chatted up the security guard who was eating lunch with his back turned to the mess of tourists swimming above the waterfalls). And then we dropped in. The river goes into countless channels, braiding together and splintering apart in a veritable maze of whitewater in the jungle. If you were here at high water, there would be many days worth of taking new lines and new channels, but the water was low, so we followed the ones that looked to hold the most cfs. It is a typically travertine river, which is to say it looks like a large-scale set of fabricated pools from a miniature golf course, with turquoise water pouring from one into the next. After paddling down a ways, but not arriving at the famous final falls which drop the river to its confluence with a larger river, we began attaining the flats and carrying up the grippy rapids back to put-in. I have a feeling I will find my way back to this place. Thanks to Dan for sharing these photos with me.
"Kayakismo es prohibido." Security guard man didn't want us running this one. The pool below was a nice put-in.
Paddlesports can be a life-enhancing activity!
I'm not showing off my cross-bow, my paddle actually got caught in the vines.
At this rapid, going right is wonderful. As much as travertine makes for easy rapids, it also has a heinous propensity for making caves behind curtains, as in the case of the left side of this guy.