July 2002

ihana.com - big trip - diary - venezuela - july 2002




and flora again

Saturday 27 - Sunday 28 July

The way continued with deep ruts punctuated by mud holes or mini lakes up to the door handles. Most of it we could hack through using speed and the traction of our front wheels to drag us through, rear diff leaving a slug trail behind us. However, once we lost forward motion, which was regularly, it normally meant minimum half an hour hard graft to get going again.

There were many sections with two choices, an old overgrown but less rutted track or the clear but deep current one. Walking along them was the best option, if we didn't we often ended up deeply stuck, once the front of the landy ended up deep in a giant puddle with the exhaust still bubbling through to the surface, the cab full to the seat bases.


...up to the door handles...

...in muddy water

B clears the path

Out of the water, into the mud

One of countless winching sessions

At the end of the second day we had made it almost 40kms to the first log bridge, then camped in a clearing. As the evening drew on some guys with Toyota Landcruisers with big tyres came past, the cause of the deep ruts in the track. They were delivering fuel and supplies to Candelaria and were surprised that we'd made it this far. One said that further on wasn't as bad and that the latter 30kms is savannah. They thought the landy was wicked and wished us luck, they would be returning in a few days time. Lying in the tent that night , B with a long sleeved t-shirt and a towel wrapped around the head, allowed a few hours more sleep than the nightmare night before.

T wades and...

...the landy drives

Sideways causes a broken driveshaft...

...and some team unhappiness

After a scant 2kms gained in the morning, T drove badly down a reasonably easy part of the track and got between some ruts. Attempting to get out, the landy went totally 90 degrees to the track and stuck fast. During the subsequent winching and effort of spinning the wheels a bit to get free we heard a loud crack. We suspected something bad had happened but things seemed to be normal, we got out of the mess and carried on going until a fairly innocuous mud hole had us stuck fast. Checking which wheels needed traction we realized neither of the fronts were spinning, either the diff or a driveshaft was broken. We were devastated, we'd worked hard to get this far and possibly only had another 10kms or so of tough work to do to make it to the easy part of the trail.

While trying to winch the landy out to turn around a couple of Toyotas appeared, we thought they'd be able to tow us all the way back. Letting the four guys eat our biscuits, they pulled us out backwards and towed us back 50m to the last clearing. As we turned the landy around to face the way back, they drove off laughing and left us stranded in the jungle.


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