Thursday, January 04, 2007

Holiday vacation- part iii (Iriomote)

Christmas day!! We tried our luck to go Iriomote again today. It seemed like this island was domed for us from the beginning- we missed the ferry the day before, and unfortunately, the guy we were trying to contact to do zip-tours through the jungle was out of town. Then, the ferry that we wanted to take was cancelled due to rough seas, so we had to take another ferry that went a different route. After waiting another hour or two, we finally got onto the right ferry, where we were tossed around in those choppy waters for the next hour!!! We docked and then were shuffled onto a bus, not knowing where it was going and drove another hour on a winding coastal road (no roads go through the interior of the island). Iriomote is 90% covered with dense jungles and there are few residents. We had no idea what was going on and ended up getting off at the port that we were orignally supposed to arrive at, thinking there would be an information booth we could go to. Apparently not- since the ferries weren't running, no one was working at the port either... A helpful woman found us a map and pointed us in the direction of the Urauchi-gawa, the Amazon-like river that runs through the island. There are boat trips that take tourists to waterfalls and hiking trails deep in the jungle, so we headed off for that. It was a little frustrating not know what was going on but we just started walking. It was a nice way to see the island, I suppose.

We walked about an hour until we finally got to the river's mouth. The guy at the booth told us we had just missed the last 3-hour boat trip that was going to the waterfalls and we could only take the short hour-long river trip (they both cost the same!!) Man, after all that! If the weather/water was warmer, we would've rented kayaks and explored the river on our own, but we settled for the boat ride, admiring the impressive mangroves and cool rock formations. It was nice to relax our tired feet, but it was also a pretty anti-climatic way to see the interior of this jungle that we had heard so much about!

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