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Stabroek News

High-speed fun
published: Saturday | May 31, 2008

Krista Henry, Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter Leighton Williams believes he can fly during his daring trip on the zipline.

Soaring through the air, the wind in your face and the trees beneath your feet, you can't help but shout ear-splitting 'woo-hoos' at Zipline Adventure Tours.

Located in Lethe, Hanover, Zipline Tours is perfect for local and international adventurers who want to 'fly' through the air at top speed, climb mountainous terrain and sample local fruits.

When The Gleaner visited the beautiful 200-acre estate recently, we were immediately impressed by the serene atmosphere complemented by the neighbouring Great River beckoning us to jump in.

But anxious to conquer the longest 'zip' at 1,600 feet wide, the team ignored the glistening waters and headed to the mountains.

In 'ziplining', a participant is strapped into a harness that is hooked to a large cable, hung several feet above the trees.

When launched from a platform, you 'zip' along the cable which gives the feeling of 'flying'.

Miguel Arthurs, general manager of the property, explained that the two-month-old tour was unique.

"One of our zips is almost the entire length of our competitor's (Chukka Caribbean Adventures). Our tour is unique, it's not just a canopy tour, but an off-road safari ...," he said.

Zipline Adventure Tours was built by the United States firm, Canopy Tours Inc, and is owned by Bradd Morse.

Safety a priority

This is the closest one will come to flying at Zipline Adventure Tours.

The Zipline crew assured The Gleaner team that the breaking point for the harness was 5,000 pounds and each of the two cables could hold up to 23,000 pounds. As another safety precaution, the tour only allows persons weighing below 265lb to participate.

After going through a routine safety check, participants in the tour are transported in a Swiss army vehicle called a Pinzgauer.

The six-wheel vehicle took us on a journey up an unbeaten path and over rocky terrain, causing some passengers to scream occasionally. During the journey, one of the tour guides, Michael Powell, explained that the estate was once a banana plantation which was later replanted with coconut and sugar cane.

The ride led to the first zip which is 20 feet high and 250 feet wide. Each zip takes you higher and longer and for the most part, you travel at speeds reaching up to 30-40 miles per hour.

After the third zip, guests are treated to coconut water, sugar cane, pineapples and cocoa. Between the fourth and fifth zips, you have to cross on a swinging bridge (sky bridge) which is 250 feet long and 13 feet off the ground. The final zip, 250 feet high, delivers a spectacular view as it passes over the Great River.

At the end of the journey, it's back in the Pinzgauer where persons can either call it a day or explore the other tours such as river tubing, kayaking or rafting down the Great River as well as plantation, liquor-tasting and hiking tours.

With plans to add longer ziplines in the near future, Zipline Adventure Tours is definitely aiming for new heights.

Tour guide Michael Powell walks easily along a precarious bridge.

One of the guides makes a run before 'take-off'.

Miguel Arthurs demonstrates how to secure the straps on the Zipline Adventure Tours. - Photos by Krista Henry

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