Class III on the Rio Antigua - Jalco to Coetzala

Trip Start Feb 05, 2010
Trip End Feb 13, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel La Villa

Flag of Mexico  , Veracruz-Llave,
Sunday, February 7, 2010

Our morning began at 8:30 a.m. at Esprit for breakfast. We were served huevos a la mexicana, yogurt and granola, fresh mango and papaya and vanilla chi tea.

After breakfast we took some time to get to know each other by playing a game. We each had to say our name and our goal for the week, as we went around the table each woman had to remember what every woman before her said. Ofcourse I was last but I was able to remember everything.

Next we took a short tour of the village and Anna showed us around and explained a little bit about the village and some of the customs. We met a few locals who warmly welcomed us to their village. After our tour we went to Esprit's bodega to get outfitted in kayaks. I ended up back in the same green Diesel that I used on my beginner trip. I was happy, it treated me well the last time. Once everyone was outfitted and signed their waivers we returned to La Villa to get changed for the river.

We were picked up at 11:15 a.m. and taken just down the road outside of Jalco where we unloaded our kayaks, did our usual pre-paddle stretching and Anna had us grab sticks and run down to the river screaming and throw the stick in. I guess it was to help get rid of nerves but it was really funny. Once everyone was in the eddy we worked on ferries, s-turns, stern draws, back ferries and edge control before continuing down river.

I remembered this section from my beginner trip it was the most difficult section of river we ran near the end of the trip. I could remember a bigger class III rapid at the top that we scouted last time. It looked like we weren't scouting this time. I was doing fine until I hit a rock halfway down and got flipped into a large hole. Donna landed on top of my kayak and ran part of the rapid on top of my boat while I was upside down and trying to roll. I made up my mind that I was not going to be the first person to swim and I hung in there until I could feel the current relax on my paddle and I rolled. It was so awesome, both Donna and Mil gave me a huge high five.

In this section of river there are about 13 bigger rapids and several smaller rapids in between. This section of the Antigua, from Jalcomulco to Coetzala is referred to the Antigua section of the Antigua. The characteristics of this river is rocky and sometimes shallow so you must keep your hips loose and bounce along the rocks. The rapids range from class II-III there are several larger holes that are for the most part friendly.

Along the way we stopped to work on more ferries, back ferries and s-turns. We even ran a smaller rapid backwards and surfed a little bit. I had one swim and two combat rolls and wasn't the only person who swam!

Back at Coetzala we changed by the riverside. Its not like we get completely naked, we use sarongs and towels to cover up while we change out of our wet gear into dry clothes. One thing I found very odd is that while we change the locals nearby just stare at us very openly. I'm sure we must be quite the site and something out of the ordinary but they actually crowd around and stare. Mexico is a very Catholic country and I sort of expected them to avert their eyes but that is not the case!

We had lunch at the take-out in Coetzala, we had peanut butter and jelly tortillas, pasta salad, cookies and beer. We loaded the trailers and drove back to Jalco, singing the whole way. Mil told us about some locals who come to town on Sunday and sell handmade jewelry by the swing bridge. We made it off the river in time so we were able to go shop. Everyone bought something. I bought a beautiful abalone necklace and a blue goldstone bracelet and earrings. The prices were fantastic! We took pictures of the jewelry fair, the bridge and the river before going back to La Villa.

At 4:30 p.m. we had a restorative yoga class with Anna at our hotel. I've never done restorative yoga before and really enjoyed it. We used pillows and blankets to support ourselves in the poses, it was very relaxing and nothing like the traditional asanas of yoga.

After yoga we showered and went to Happy Hour at 6:00 p.m. We had piña coladas, fresh fried tortillas, guacamole and bean dip as appetizers. For dinner we were served arrachera, mixed vegetables with nopal, a type of cactus, potato wedges with lime and chili spice, sour creme and guacamole and a spinach salad with sliced almonds, mango and strawberry. After asking what the spice on the potatoes was Anna asked the Bertas and they told us it was Tajin Classico, I made note of that and decided to find some. For dessert we had a delicious key lime pie.

After dinner we watched the photos taken from the day and were able to sign up for a massage appointment with Abríl, the local massage therapist. The talk inevitably turned to the Superbowl which was on tonight. Anna took us down the road to La Pizzeria where some friends were watching the Superbowl. The shop is owned by Anna's friends Mario and Gabby. Gabby paddled with my beginner group last year and she remembered me. The locals love the Superbowl and bet on the outcome among friends. Gabby told me that most Mexicans follow American football all season long when they can find it on t.v. It was strange to watch an American sport in an all Spanish broadcast but we got to see the last 15 minutes of the Superbowl and New Orleans victory.

After the Superbowl ended we returned to La Villa for the night. I made myself a cup of lemon grass tea journaled for a while, checked my email on my iPod Touch and then went to bed.

Things Learned on Day 3:

1. A ferry is a maneuver used to cross a current of water, going from one side of the river to another without being flushed down river.

2. The stern draw is a powerful maneuver used to quickly change the direction you are going.

3. The section of the Antigua, from Jalcomulco to Coetzala is referred to the Antigua section of the Antigua. The characteristics of this river is rocky and sometimes shallow. There are about 13 bigger rapids and several smaller rapids.
4. You'll want to bring a large towel or sarong to use to change by the riverside, otherwise you'll provide the locals with a peep-show.

5. On certain Sundays several locals sell handmade jewelry at rock bottom prices by the swing bridge in Jalcomulco.

6. Restorative yoga info:

7. Nopal:
8. Arrachera :
9. Tajin Spice:
10. Mexicans watch the Superbowl and really get into it. Its usually bet on between friends. I was told that they watch American football all season if they can find it on t.v.11. Rio Antigua info :
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