sea kayak trip went well. It was awesome putting
in at Don Mario's. The little class two stuff
was fun in our huge, fully loaded sea kayak!
river was fun to paddle, the scenery stellar,
the lake was windy. We could hear the surf breaking
on the backside of the island when we entered
the north end of the lake. The wind funnels right
through those tight steep walls. We had a few
4 footers break over the bow and steady 15 -25
knot winds which made the paddling slow. We lucked
out and found a protected little gravel beach
and hauled out for the night. We stayed on that
beach for the rest of that day and half of the
next waiting for the weather to improve- when
it didn't we decided to stay a second night. Reassuring
ourselves that "tomorrow would be BETTER".
Tomorrow was actually worse but we had to paddle.
We paddled close to 4 hours into the seas and
stout head winds- hiding in the lee of little
points. Finally we came onto our chart- which
was good, at least we knew where we were- but
it meant that we had 10 more miles of snails pace
paddling to go if we were going to finish the
kept going passing large cascades- which coincidentally
offered good places to stop near by- and came
to the suspension bridge around 7:00 at night.
Immediately under the bridge the river picks up-the
current sweeping us around the corner- after all
day plugging along we suddenly found ourselves
zooming along. In front of us a big eddyline on
the left, trees and steep bank on the right, dead
ahead a sizable curler wave. After a few seconds
of debate- we paddled like hell-pierced the wave-
it broke falling powerfully limp onto Danielle's
chest. We made it through and camped down stream
on a higher gravel floodplain island.
next morning, Danielle woke up to find a huge
(3 inch long) slug in her mug, it had squeezed
through the hole that you drink out of. We put
on and let the current sweep us down stream, our
destination Chaiten. It rained off and on all
day, the upper hills, cliff faces and glaciers
hiding behind a ghostly veil that would drift
in and out. Although it would have been really
nice with sunshine- the rain made it feel so much
more remote and foreign- every little rock crack
or crevice was spilling over with water, falling,
collecting an micropools and falling again- on
both sides of the river hundreds of large and
small falls brought waters to the river.
made through Tres Piedras where the Amarillo comes
in with out incidence- but in some spots without
warning, or visible obstacles the river would
boil, surge, slide in sheets over one another,
crease and lie flat- even after traveling through
that long lake- the waters remember where they
made it out to the Pacific around 7:00 on the
night before we flew out. Amazingly the tides
were up enough to sneak into the Rio Negro where
we cooked and camped out on the outskirts of Chaiten.
The rain still coming and going, but the wind
that we had fought all the way across the lake,
and down the river, had vanished. As we crawled
into our tent the rain began again!
next morning we awoke to SUNSHINE!!!! and flat
seas- and the tide was again favorable. We got
lucky, but for all this fortune there had to be
a price. As I pulled off my sprayskirt from the
coaming I noticed that it wasn't exactly how I
had put it on. Someone had been in my cockpit.
My drybag lay slightly limp in my seat, I opened
it. All of my passports, credit cards, license,
business cards, brochures were laying there looking
at me, the Eagle Creek travel pouch that they
were in was gone, and with it, a stinky heavy
weight poly pro shirt, and my friends copy of
Ayn Rands' "The Fountianhead" - which
I had borrowed from my roommate without him knowing.
So if you find a paperback copy of the Fountainhead
in Chaiten with a little inscription signed with
a happy face, you know who it used to belong to
and I'd like to get it back - the only thing of
real value that was taken.
skipped breakfast and paddled towards Chaiten-about
a 35 minute paddled from Rio Negro. We were a
little disappointed because we didn't have time
to cruise around the island to check out the sea
lion colony. But as we were paddling in we saw
a head poke through the still blueness of the
bay and then another. Danielle whipped out the
camera and started shooting... pictures of 6-10
sea lions as they swam closer and closer towards
us chasing fish- It was awesome and THE perfect
way to finish the trip!
We met Nicholas, who was just out buying some
fruit, at the beach and he came back later and
helped us get the boat taken care of, and we hung
out the rest of the day at the bus station with
him, listen to chorongo music, and he jammed with
another guide that was passing through town with
some friends. From there to the airport- to Puerto
Montt to Puerto Varas and some congrio and kuchen!
So thanks all! It turned out to be exactly what
we were looking for a little scary, a little challenging,
very supportive, a little adventurous, and a hell
of a lot of FUN!