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This is a TREK not a hike. The river and falls were beautiful and my group of 4 moms on a girls' getaway all returned home safe but exhausted!. It was more adventure than we thought we were signing up for. The tour company requires that you wear the felt-bottom scuba shoes because you spend several portions walking through knee- to thigh-deep water if the tide is in. These shoes do not offer any ankle or arch support or really much traction. The hiking portion is around a mile but it is very rocky and muddy with many roots and hazards. At several points there are guide ropes along mere inches of slick clay on a hillside. Several people -- including one tour guide -- fell pretty hard on the hike back down. It was a clear day in February, low 80sF with low humidity. This would have been a taxing expedition if it were high summer heat and humidity. We were most concerned that the kayaking would be hard for us, but that portion of the trip is almost disappointingly short.
Lunch is the onigiri rice balls and some cold cuts and barley tea. Be sure to bring your own water bottle -- they have potable water at the base camp to refill your water bottles. They provide the shoes, life jackets, kayak, and a wet bag that you will carry. You'll want to wear clothing you don't mind getting wet and muddy. There are several shower rooms to rinse off and change upon return, so be sure to carry your towel and change of clothes all the way to the base camp we misunderstood where the showers were, and left our clothes in the car, parked on the wrong island!
You can also extend your stay somewhat on Iriomote island if you request a different return ferry, otherwise the default is the earliest available. For us, we took the 8:30 Ishigaki-Iriomote and the 15:30 to return. The return ferry was much smaller, smelled of diesel, was incredibly loud, and did not have restrooms on board. The one in the morning was like a Block Island commuter ferry with live TV and a snack bar.
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