As I was about to go into my sophomore year of college, I began to feel the need for a little change of pace after having diligently indulged in the academic world for
14 years; so obviously I decided to take my spring semester off and go kayaking in
Chile. I absolutely love kayaking, but between school, summer jobs, and not ever
living in close proximity with enough gradient and water to offer more than a
pleasant cocktail tube ride, I felt like I had never really had the chance to
improve my boating skills beyond the standard class 3/4 runs 3 hours from my house in Ketchum, Idaho.
After a phone call with Chris Spelius, I arranged to stay at his kayak camp at the
confluence of the Rio Azul and the Futaleufu river season pass style- unlimited
boating for one month. I had no idea what I was getting myself in for- beautiful,
dream-like, incredible- there are just no words for it. There is no way to describe
the feeling that takes over when your schedule consists of waking up to the Tres
Monjas, the aqua blue water of the Futa and the Azul, and some fresh baked Pedro (the gourmet chef at the camp) bread, putting on your gear and loading into your kayak on the beach just outside of your tent, kayaking all day, and returning (kayaking back to camp of course) to a sauna and some scrumptious Pedro punch and dinner. Amazingly enough, day after day, this never gets old.
The set-up at the camp is absolutely ideal and the instructors and staff are pretty
much the embodiment of anyone and everyone's best friend and perfect person. I
mainly had the privilege of boating with Fergus Coffey, the British man of mystery;
not only does he hold four valid passports, but also that sort of jaw-dropping
kayaking skill. Although it is tempting just to sit and watch Fergus kayak, this is
not an option, his inspiring kayaking ability is accompanied by a true gift to teach
his passion. Between the talented guides and the mere opportunity to go kayaking
every day, my kayaking and general well-being improved immensely.
Whether it was the boating, the smiles, or the setting, I couldn't help but extend
my stay to two months. Needless to say, I impatiently await the next time I will be
able to be a season passer on the Futaleufu.