Thursday, December 26, 2013

Samuc Champey

Yesterday was one of the most challenging days of the trip and I think my life too.  We went to the Samuc Champey caves for the day, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  We took an all day tour and the first stop on the tour is to go into the caves, which I don't think I really comprehended when we signed up.  So, you show up and strip down to your bathing suit and your Spanish guide hands you a long candle.  Hmm, candle?  Wonder why.  Oh, that must mean its dark.  Wait, its dark, so we are like, going INTO a cave??  Our group of 15 hiked up to the entrance of the cave and started descending into the dark.  Wait, we are going INTO this cave???  So then panic set in.  My mind started racing, what if I can't get out, what if I cant breathe, what if I get into the middle and panic and need to get out but I cant?  I grabbed Mike and said "I cant do so sorry, I really can't though".  He said all the right things to make me feel better, but at that point I was looking at everyone lighting their candles and walking into the water deeper into the caves.  I can't do it, im really sorry, I can't go.  I then pictured turning around, getting out of the cave and at the end he would come out saying it was amazing and he wished I had been there to experience it for myself.  I made a decision, I was stronger than my mind.  I lit my candle, grabbed his hand and started in.  My chest was so tight and I was doing everything to fight against my claustrophobia, I  knew this was one of those moments that would change everything if I could just fight it.

Ok, these aren't my pics because we didn't have a camera in there, but just wanted to put things in perspective.  

Now, this makes no sense at all, but as we started walking into the water and deeper into the cave my brain went to Pirates of the Carribean, the ride at Disneyland.  Suddenly, I was in a fake cave and I was feeling more calm.  I was in the ride and I was discovering a new portion of it!  I was helping to plan the ride!  This made me feel SO much better and I think I just had to feel in control of something, so clearly I went to setting up the logistics of this new ride.  I looked at Mike with a huge smile and said "Im a part of Pirates of the Carribean and I am building the ride!!"  What a guy to just go with it and say "Ya! You're building the ride!"
There were parts that were really scary, like going under a waterfall and parts where the water was so deep we couldnt touch and we had to swim with our candles over our head.  If your candle goes out you are in the dark, but not really because there are 15 other people with their candles.  I was enjoying it, but the realistic part of my brain was thinking: this would NEVER be sanctioned in the US.
We got deep into the cave and I was really enjoying it.  I couldnt even remember how my mind felt at the beginning when there was no way I could think of doing this.  I was climbing through tight spaces and up and down ladders that led to...who knows where.  And I was in it!  We made our way out of the cave and the feeling of when I was out was pure joy.  I was so proud of myself for conquering a major fear, but more of taking control of my mind.  

Feeling powerful with our war paint from inside the cave

The rest of the day was just beautiful hiking and playing in lagoons that were the models for many postcards.  No real challenge here, just pure happy. 

Now back to our spot for well deserved hammock time.  Tomorrow we are on the road again to travel south to Antigua.  We are hoping for an eeeeasy 8 hour trip.  No need for challenge and adventure on the road trip; had enough of that here.  

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