Daily Log : TRIP ONE
1st December - 25th. December
Friday 1st. December
Weather terrible today. My back was very painful
following the arduous day yesterday. Not much filming achieved.
Saturday 2nd. December
Weather better this morning. Climbed down to
a small river where I spent the day filming, working very slowly because
I could still hardly move.
Sunday 3rd. December
Filmed rock shapes and gullies not far from camp,
for erosion sequences.
Monday 4th December
Concentrated on filming plants and a hummingbird
not far from camp. Our porters complaining of the cold and not enough
food - this always happens; every time I have climbed the tepuis I have
always ended up giving my food to the porters.
Tuesday 5th December
Started our journey back. I carried the Arriflex
with 7 mm Cynar lens and filmed Steve and the porters crossing the summit.
We stopped at the top of the ascent point in order to look for the little
black frog, Oreophrynella - this is where I discovered the species back
in 1974. It has since been described as Oreophrynella cryptica, and
is significantly different from the Roraima species. Unfortunately,
on this trip, I did not find any more and, in any case, I was not really
in a fit state to start filming a macro sequence. Every move was agony,
and I don't really know how I got through the days. We met another small
group of climbers who had just arrived on the summit - they were heading
for "Oso" where we had been based. We descended the cliffs,
in mist and in rain, and spent the night at "El Penon".
Wednesday 6th December
Received news that one of the climbers from the
other party has broken a leg on the summit, so used the satellite telephone
to summon helicopter evacuation assistance. Departed and made good time
to Guayaraca. We decided to press on and try to reach Uruyen, thus saving
a day. Finally arrived, exhausted, just as it was getting dark.
Thursday 7th December
I could hardly move today. Spent a restful day
unloading film, cleaning camera equipment and doing laundry in the river.
Friday 8th December
Filmed the flanks of Auyantepui. Started preparation
for Angel Falls boat trip. Rested my back.
Saturday 9th December
Preparation for Angel Falls boat trip.
Sunday 10th December
Departed early from Uruyen by vehicle to Kamarata,
a journey of nearly two hours across the savannah and fording several
rivers. Transferred our equipment and ourselves to a long dug out canoe,
and set off down the rio Acanan. Made camp at a place called "Iwaran-Meru";
where the river widened over a series of rapids and cataracts, with
a small tepui visible in the distance. Filmed the rapids and a sequence
with the boat.
Monday 11th December
Found a small yellow and black frog, Dendrobates
leucomelas, which I filmed with small 12 volt lights. Further downstream,
near the confluence of the rio Acanan and rio Carrao, we walked in to
a small stretch of savannah to film the wreckage of a DC-3 which crashed
here in 1960, after running out of fuel. The plane had been full of
miners and luckily no one was killed in the forced landing, although
the aircraft was destroyed. Continuing down the rio Carrao, filmed some
views from the boat - the water is so black that its surface gives almost
perfect mirror reflections of the forest and the sky. Camped on the
banks of the rio Carrao, near the mouth of the rio Churun. Back very
bad - could hardly walk tonight.
Adrian Warren filming
DC3 Wreck near Auyantepui
Tuesday 12th December
A long journey today, down the Carrao to the
mouth of the Churun, and then upriver, crossing seventy four separate
stretches of rapids to reach our camp site near the base of Angel Falls.
The level of the water is very low for this time of year and it was
not easy to pass all the rapids. Back still very painful - not helped
by sitting in the boat all day long.
Wednesday 13th December
Rose early and walked up through the forest,
for just under an hour, to reach a look out point to view Angel Falls.
Sent Steve to climb further up to find a way to reach the actual base
of the Falls. On our descent to camp, filmed a large green praying mantis
with the bore scope on the Arriflex.
Thursday 14th December
Climbed up to view Angel Falls again, reaching
another look out rock close to the cliff wall.
Friday 15th December
Climbed up to view Angel Falls again, finally
reaching the actual base of the waterfall and beyond: the water, over
the aeons has carved out a huge hollow in the cliff face and we ended
up far behind the Falls themselves, gazing out across the gorge of the
rio Churun. The huge mountain of loose rock at the base of the waterfall
is highly unstable, and very slippery. We also found the remains of
a helicopter which crashed here two years ago, when it flew too close
to cliff wall. The pilot and photographer were both killed.
Steve Groves with
the remains of the helicopter at base of Angel Falls
Saturday 16th December
Climbed once more to main look out to film Angel
Falls with rainbow. Set off down river to Canaima where we met Lindsay
from the British Embassy, and brought him back with us to camp near
the mouth of the rio Churun. It was a long journey and the last hour
or so was in darkness.
Sunday 17th December
Continued on our river journey up the rio Carrao
and then the rio Acanan, all the way to Kamarata. Hired a vehicle to
take us to Uruyen, arriving well after dark.
Monday 18th December
Clean up from boat trip. Reconfigure camera and
prepare Wing Mount for more aerial filming. Aircraft due to arrive this
afternoon but did not show up.
Tuesday 19th December
Cessna 206 finally arrived this afternoon. Made
one flight to film the summit and cliffs of Auyantepui near the ascent
point, but very cloudy.
Wednesday 20th December
Early morning flight to film forest and river.
Air quite bumpy so had to over crank the camera. Made a second flight,
because time is running short, but air very bumpy. Second Cessna 206
arrived early afternoon. Filmed air to air shots from wing mount in
Chimantatepui area, then made a second flight to film air to air over
forest and the rio Carrao, on the eastern side of Auyantepui. Some very
bumpy air in places.
Thursday 21st December
Early flight to film air to air from wing mount
in the Churun Gorge and by Angel Falls. Landed at Canaima and made second
flight for additional material. Returned to Canaima, took the camera
off the wing mount and prepared for hand held filming, air to air, again
in the Churun Gorge. Shot two magazines on this flight. All the air
to air filming proved to be very difficult because the pilot of the
other aircraft had no experience of formation flying, and proved incapable
of holding either altitude, or constant speed. Once we lost sight of
him completely for a few seconds, but then he reappeared from below,
rising straight up just in front of us, an extremely dangerous manoeuvre
- at that point we decided we had risked enough and returned to Uruyen.
Second Cessna 206 left to go to Santa Elena with Lindsay and a lot of
equipment we were positioning there in advance for next trip. Made one
final filming flight late afternoon, with the camera back on the wing
mount, for cloud layers in the orange light of the fading sun.
Friday 22nd December
Finished packing and flew the Cessna 206 to Canaima
to meet the DC-3 flight to Caracas, via Puerto Ordaz, where we met Lindsay.
A British Embassy vehicle met us at Charallave to drive us to Caracas.
Stored our equipment at the British Embassy.
Saturday 23rd December
A day of sorting equipment and final packing,
visiting the Embassy again to deposit a few more things.
Sunday 24th December
Departed American Airlines for Miami, with connection
Monday 25th December
Arrive London Heathrow, drive to Somerset.