Bear Adventures

Venezuelan Adventure

The Bears had arrived in Venezuela.

"So how was it?" enquired Keswick.

"Did you manage to meet any of Paddington's friends?" asked Jerra-Mary. The Bears had arrived in Venezuela; although they were tired after their search for treasure in the Caribbean they still managed to explore some of the tiny islands off the coast.

Little Bear and S'Bastion had opted to explore Venezuela while Keswick and Jerra-Mary stayed to prepare the boat ready for their next voyage.

"How was it? It was amazing!" enthused Little Bear. "Sit back and I'll tell you all about it…"

Around the world the bears were going. Now they were in South America, a huge continent still covered in vast jungles (much still unexplored) and high mountains - the Andes - home of Paddington Bear's aunt.

"Well, we explored both the jungle and mountains."

"I liked the jungle best." piped in S'Bastion.
"I liked the jungle best." piped in S'Bastion.

"How did you get there?" asked Keswick.

"First we took a long bus ride to an airport, then we got on a tiny airplane which flew for 200 miles low over the Orinoco Delta and the jungle. It was huge! We landed and spent the night in the Indian village at Canaima - a very beautiful place on the edge of a lake fed by four big waterfalls. The next day we all got into a dugout canoe for a hair-raising trip up the river.

...and spent the night in the Indian village.

...we got on a tiny airplane

A hair-raising trip up the river.
We camped and slept in hammocks
"We camped and slept in hammocks in a hut in the jungle and saw toucans, parrots, butterflies and all sorts of weird insects."

"What did they look like?" asked Jerra-Mary.

"Well, the ants were enormous and carried leaves across the path, and the spiders were big enough to eat birds! And there were tiny poisonous frogs of brilliant colours.

"We also had a great view of Angel Falls. During the night it rained and rained - and when we woke up in the morning the water fall had grown and we could see three streams coming over the top. It certainly must be the biggest waterfall in the world. After a lovely breakfast of arepas (a sort of sandwich) we walked through the jungle and stood on a ledge to see the falls. It was so wet - like standing under a shower and looking up 1000m to the top of the mountain. Just a minute - I'll read a bit from my guide book." Little Bear then picked up her book and read:-

"In 1936 when pilot Jimmie Angel crashed his plane atop Auyan tepui (a tepui is a sandstone flat-topped mountain - there are lots of these in Canaima National Park (the size of Belgium)) he got bogged down in the marsh on top of the tepui. He didn't find what he was looking for; instead of gold, he found the world's highest waterfall. It is 979 meters (3,230 feet) high with an uninterrupted drop of 807 meters (2,663 ft). The tepuis contain some of the oldest rocks in the world and have unique plants and animals, many of them are inexcessible and have not been explored."

"That sounds like a job for the bears," said Keswick, "lots of new territory and lots of climbing."

"Maybe not this year" interrupted Jerra-Mary, "it sounds too dangerous. So, what happened next?"

"After we walked back from the falls we took the canoe back down river. The river was flowing really strong and the trip back was very fast; rushing through the rapids was wet and frightening but fun. We stopped on the way and visited some smaller falls and even walked under one of them…"

"And got wet again!" interrupted S'Bastion.

"Yes, but the sun was warm and quickly dried our fur. After a lovely meal we caught our little plane back and took a bus all the way across the country to the mountains.

"It was great to be cool again for the first time in a year - and the flowers in the mountains were lovely. We went walking in the mountains for two days just soaking up the views eventually ending up in Merida the capital of the area. From there we took a LONG, LONG cable car ride up to 4000 m - nearly to the top of the highest peak. And guess what? At the top of the mountain there were two mules - one called Paco and the other called Guazella. Hernandez, their guide, led us all down the hair-raising path to a tiny village called Los Nevados. The track was rough with lots of loose rocks which even the mules found difficult to walk on. The hillsides were covered with moss and wildflowers in bright purples, reds, blues and yellows.
"After four hours both Paco and Guazella were tired and when we walked past their home they were both insistent that they had finished and were determined to go down their lane! It took lots of persuasion by Hernandez to get them to continue."

S'bastion chipped in "now I know where the expression "as stubborn as a mule" comes from!"

Little Bear continued. "A little while later we rounded the hill and saw a tiny cluster of houses with their red roofs glinting in the sunlight."

"That's your home for tonight" said Hernandez, "at the Posada "Bella Vista" which means beautiful view."

"And it certainly was… the posada was perched on the mountainside and the view was stupendous. We stayed here for two days. On the second day it rained. Our trip back was by the local bus, which really was a four wheel drive jeep. The road was VERY, VERY narrow and really only a track. The rocks were loose and there had been lots of land slips during the rain. We climbed into the jeep, a little nervous, but lots of other people came too which gave us confidence. The drive was just like a Disneyland ride. Hair-raising bends, drop offs to the valley below and towering cliffs, with the jeep skidding all over the place. Every so often the jeep would grind to a halt, which was a bit of a relief as we could get out, stretch our legs and take in the scenery. There were lots of tumbling streams to cross; often the track was part of the stream! We soon found out that the reason the jeep stopped so often was that the engine kept breaking down and the driver had to do some quick repairs. Suddenly, half way down, there was a loud bang followed by a Boingggg. The jeep stopped and one of the other passengers got out and ran back to pick up a suspension spring. "I think this is important!" said the passenger in Spanish. So out of the jeep we got and had to walk in the rain along the track to the next village, while the driver went ahead to get it fixed. It was lovely to see the jeep when we arrived at the village and the empanadas (snacks) and fruit drinks were very welcome. Half an hour later we were on our way again and three hours later we arrived back in Merida. The next day we caught the bus back to Puerto La Cruz to re-join Poco Andante."

Paco and Guazella

"Wow! What a great time you had," said Keswick.

"Although it must have been frightening in parts," remarked Jerra-Mary. "But now you're back we've got to get lots of supplies on board before we set off for more adventures."

The Four were glad to get back together and talked well into the night about all the things that had happened to them. And talked even longer about their plans ahead…