Posted by: Waheeda Harris | June 21, 2012

The butterfly daredevil of Grenada

Hiking down the muddy pathway to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls on the island of Grenada, the last thing I expected to meet was a daredevil named Butterfly.

I had done this hike before, starting from a small rest stop and heading through a couple of homes before descending down the red mud hiking path to discover the Seven Sisters Waterfall.

The lush surroundings of this island’s vegetation opening up to the view of the waterfalls was a welcome sight on a hot humid day. But what was an even more interesting sight was Butterfly, a local who regularly dives off the waterfalls for visitors, with a gentle request for some financial compensation for his performance.

Like our hiking guide, Butterfly easily stepped up and down the slippery rocky areas in a pair of plastic shoes, sporting a tank top and shorts in his country’s colours of  red, yellow and green.

After introducing himself, he proceeded to quickly climb up the side of the waterfall, a nimble creature who felt at home at this waterfall. After taking a moment to focus, he elegantly arced backwards, diving into the water below the waterfalls in mere seconds.

I was reminded of being a child, when daredevils seemed to be popular and frequently on tv – men using souped-up vehicles,  jumping across valleys, canyons and piles of cars.

But this quiet spoken man didn’t have the bravado of those past daredevils. He was excited and smiling when he came out of the water, proud of his skill, but he would repeat it, every day if there was someone to watch and slip him a few precious dollars.

As I slowly climbed back up the muddy path in the steamy heat, he skipped alongside me like a mountain goat, his spirit renewed by the experience of sharing his skill.

I wanted that adrenaline rush, but knew diving off a waterfall wasn’t my choice – it was being a witness, and the luck of being able to travel for work and share my experiences.

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