Cape Tribulation, Australia
Jungle Surfing Through The Daintree Rainforest In Cape Tribulation.
There I was, suspended fifty feet above the misty rainforest floor. My life being held up by a few colorful ropes, a too tight harness and a hairy, overzealous Australian bloke known as Captain Taco. My goal? To make it from one platform to other all in one piece. Which I did. But little did I know the experience between the platforms is what made Jungle Surfing the highlight of my trip.
Jungle Surfing in the Daintree Rainforest is one of the top tourist attractions in Cape Tribulation North of Cairns Australia. It is an exhilarating activity where you are fully harnessed, helmet on, and flown through the jungle canopy on zip-lines, stopping at platforms along the way. As you fly through the trees like a hawk soaring through the sky, you get to see, touch and be one with nature.
The Daintree Rainforest is the only natural World Heritage site that meets another, The Great Barrier Reef. The biodiversity in the Daintree Rainforest ranges from frogs, reptiles to marsupials and birds. These species which are the rarest and most threatened in the world all live cohesively in this small environment. On a humid, late afternoon summer day, I went Jungle Surfing through this old growth forest.
My adventure began at the harnessing center where I was debriefed and got dressed in my Jungle Surfing attire. As I walked bull-legged to the first platform, I looked like I was about to go on a mining expedition being led by two fearless leaders. I bravely took the lead and offered myself as the first person to be swung across the abyss. Captain Taco winched me to the ropes and off I flew, or so I hoped. CT (I felt we were close friends by now) decided to stop my ascend and had me dangle in the forest. I turned to him with my death stare as if to say, “You’re kidding me, right?” He had a good chuckle and told me to “Stop, look and listen.” What is this, 3rd grade? I took a deep breath and looked around. A huge smile slowly filled my face. A small bird with midnight blue feathers soared through the trees and nestled itself in the leaves between two hanging branches. Before I knew it, I was released from CT’s clutches and flew to the other platform. At platform two I was greeted by a towering, soft-spoken English guide called Goose, who introduced me to the other characteristics of the forest. I thought he was going to show me something to look at, which he did. But I did not think he was going to put the bum of an ant in my face and make me kiss it!
The Green Ant is one of Australia’s peskiest ants. It likes to dwell in suburban and urban areas where its bite can sting and cause pain for hours. It is delicately skinny and has a caramel colored bodied with an effervescent lime green bum. I took hold of this tiny Ant and held it carefully between my thumb and forefinger hoping not to be stung. With its backside staring me straight in the eyes, I nervously stuck out my tongue and slowly placed the ants bum on the tip of it. My eyes immediately bugged out as this was the most lemony, sweet and sour taste imaginable. All I needed was a shot of vodka and voila, a lemon drop! With that adrenaline rush of taste, I was hooked up to the wires, ready to be propelled through the air.
At sixty-five feet this was the highest platform. Captain Taco told me to find my inner Jungle Jane and to roar the loudest noise I can as this was going to be the longest and fasted ride of the day. I roared through that jungle on a mission. I hollered, flung my arms in the air as if on a roller coaster and let the ride take me to the next platform. As I waited for the other surfers to arrive, Goose informed me of a few things to avoid while in the Daintree.
Wait-A-While Vines gets their names for obvious reasons. The vines are covered in small spikes that latch and rip through your clothes and skin if you get into their clutches. Even worse is the Stinging Tree. Their large leaves look innocuous enough, but they have microscopic pricks that when lodged into your skin will leave you itching in pain for hours. After getting the fright put into me, I was eager for my next ride. I arrived at the platform hearing the faintest sounds of barking. Did a dog lose its way? Nope! It was the Green Tree Frog that comes out in the early evening to call and hunt.
The Green Tree Frog is the largest Tree Frog in the World measuring in at 13cm in length. The frog is usually a bright lime green with a white stripe lip that extends to its shoulders. It has toe pads and webbed feet and hands that help it climb. Having a frog bark like a dog is strange enough, but CT told me that if the frogs are being attacked by predators they admit a high-pitched meow sound.
I was coming to the end of my Jungle surfing adventure. For my last surf, I was propelled upside down like a bat. Upon returning to the rainforest floor and letting the blood flow back to my legs, I realized that my Honey I Shrunk the Kids adventure was over. Everything in the Daintree seemed so substantial and important. I was just a tiny entity surrounded by a one hundred and thirty million-year-old forest. As I walked back to the harnessing center I tripped and fell over the root of a tree. How is that for the forest telling me, “Look around. You never know what you might see!”