Sea Kayaking Down River

I was feeling pretty nervous heading out on the sea kayak trip.   My foot was tender from a cut that’s been healing and I was a bit concerned about the cold, rain, and anticipated waves.    We drove down to the put in with our guides, but rather than starting directly into the fjord in the ocean we headed up the Rio Puelo to boat the last 10 miles of that river down into where it joins the ocean.   Due to the rains we’ve had the past few days, it was kind of huge looking and for me a bit intimidating.

I was excited that Bobby was in a double kayak with me.   He’s been kayaking like 40 years or something crazy and I made him promise, more than once, that he would keep me dry and safe.   Basically, no surfing or anything that he might think was fun.

Off we went down river with 8 double kayaks and our local Chilean guides in 3 singles.    The water was warm which was kind of nice, but clouds were low on the mountains and rain was falling.   About 6 miles down the swiftly flowing river we came around a corner, the gorge narrowed, and we realized we were about to run a rapid in sea kayaks.  Hmmmm.    Bobby better keep his promise.

We led off into the whitewater with the other boats following our line.   Bobby yelled a lot and for once in my life I followed directions, which proved to be a good thing.   Other boats, however, flipped and we worked for quite awhile to get everyone rescued and back in their boats.

Michael and Louisa were two that we rescued, but their boat was stuck on a rock in the river so we had to do some pretty snazzy rope work to get the boat off, back to shore, and them into it.

We paddled the rest of the way  to the confluence and had a little lunch, but it was 3pm and we were cold.   The cold couscous in zip locks was not the most memorable meal of the trip but we ate it for the fuel and heat.  Rain and wind picked up and we decided as a group to pull the plug on camping and headed back to the Campo lodge for the night to warm up with showers and fires in the stove.

Tomorrow, we’ll leave out early to where left the boats and cross the fjord to the far side where we’ll stay at a little organic farm with hot springs along the shore and get a talk on the salmon fishing industry.  I’ve had my tea and it’s time to tuck in.

- Anne

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