La Garganta del Diablo: The Devil’s Throat.
To get to the highlight of Iguazú, you have to take a short train ride through the upper reaches of the park. Above the waterfalls, the jungle gives way to long flat stretches of river. Even though the water spreads almost as far as the eye can see in every direction, the mind can’t reconcile the raging torrents of the waterfalls below with the calm expanses of the water above.
A metal catwalk stretches just over a kilometer from the end of the train tracks to the platform above their featured attraction. Oksana and I let our fellow train passengers rush past us while we took pictures of butterflies and birds. We were in no rush and we realized that if we didn’t have to catch the very next train back, we could have the end platform almost to ourselves before the next gaggle of tourists arrived.
The view, when you finally reach it, answers any questions you might have about the naming of “The Devil’s Throat.” Water comes out of the jungle from three directions, finds every edge of the semi-circular cliff, and plunges over the edge. Clouds of water vapor periodically explode out of the white abyss, forming rainbows in their wake. Tiny swifts flit everywhere, in and out of their nests in the small caves hidden away below. The railing is perched right on the edge; in certain places you can lean out and look straight down into the maelstrom.
Oksana and I made the trip out to La Garganta twice, making a mental note to visit in the late afternoon after the sun fell behind our backs (and our camera lens).
We must have taken dozens (if not hundreds) of photos from different areas on the platform. This one is, again, a stitched panorama from about 15 actual photos. Some of the rainbows we captured were much more vibrant, but of course that was because the mist was in full effect and obscuring the waterfalls.
The building hidden in the trees on the other side of the falls, only a few hundred yards away, is a part of Iguaçu, the Brazilian side of the park. In the full-resolution version, you can actually make out the swifts in the mist. Also, I cropped a significant portion of the panorama out, but I left in just a tiny piece of water cascading over the edge in the lower left-hand corner. It’s an almost subliminal hint of just how close to the edge we were.
Canon Digital Rebel XT
Date: 13 November 2008
Focal Length: 18mm
Shutter: 1/1000 second
Photoshop: Stitched 15 photos in Autostitch, cropped, cloned out arm and water bottle from railing
Just for fun, I’ve included the un-retouched version of what I cropped out after the jump, plus a bookmark in Google Maps for a sense of scale…