Overnight was stormy and rainy, and so getting up everything is pretty wet and my swimming costume still hasn’t dried out from the previous days kayaking so that last thing I want on a freezing morning is to put wet clothes on.
Breakfast is put up early, and we tuck into that and not long after we are being picked up to be taken off to the white water rafting. We head out down a lot of dirt tracks until we reach a side turning, now I was under the impression we were heading to some office to change, well that office is the river, so we all head off and grab ourselves a tree to change behind and get into the wetsuits, helmets and bounce aids as well as wetsuit shoes.
We are then taken through how to paddle by Meme, who is obviously the main guy in the team. He has a great enthusiasm and wit around teaching you what you should and shouldn’t do, and you get a good sense that this is going to be a fun adventure. Because there are 8 of us we get 6 people in the main raft and 2 in a separate raft. Pretty quickly we are on the water and getting some practice commands in, forward, backward, forward hard, forward left, right, stop, pretty simple to follow and everyone is well up for it. And finally after every rapid it will be paddles up, and Meme tells us “you can say whatever you want”.
The rapids range from a rating of 3-5 and this is apparently one of the best spots to do this in the region, and lets just say it wasn’t a disappointment. There are 3 safety boats along side us at all time and each rapid is explained, and what point we will take e.g left, right, middle etc and where the safety boats will be and what to do if you fall in. Very clear, but lets try and stay in the raft!!
We jump on the first rapid, and get the paddle hard command and immediately we are slapped in the face by a massive wave of water, told to keep paddling hard and we make it through. Adrenalin pumping and 12 more rapids to go we are all smiling! Paddles up and we all shout “whatever you want”!!!
Each rapid is different and when we do our first grade 5 everyone feels the sense of achievement, we are still in the raft and all smiling widely. We are truly on an adrenalin pumped thrill ride, getting bashed around by the river with every rapid. Sometimes paddling hard into thin air as we are bouncing around so much there isn’t any water underneath us to paddle into.
The scenery as well is truly stunning, the river is crystal clear and surrounded by beautiful mountains and greenery, luckily we get a chance to really take it in and appreciate it in-between every rapid as we float down the river.
We have one little break before the last few rapids and the chance to jump in the river, we climb out of the rafts, unfortunately Mark slipped out of his raft and fell in but thankfully wasn’t hurt. So then I go to climb up, not so easy as my legs seem to be just a little bit too short so there is a lot of leg ups, lifting and pushing to get me to the top of the rock. Then one at a time we all take a running jump into the river which was great fun. Then the hard part of getting back into the raft, not something that is that graceful to be honest, but I make it and soon we are all set and ready for the last rapids, which again do not disappoint.
We get out of the river, pack up our stuff, look at the great photos that were taken that complete capture the experience, really amazing. We get provided a well deserved snack, fruit, cake, juice, water, say our thank you’s to the team that got us down the river safely and then hit the road back to the office to pay (cash only, thats pretty standard though around here) 65,000 CLP. The company we used is called “Bochinche Expediciones” great people, great crew and the name means happy people, playing in the river apparently!!! Well, it certainly was that. Awesome morning and well worth it.
We get back to camp and everything is pretty much packed away by those people not rafting, and we pretty much get on the truck and head to our next campsite called Los Toninas Camp Site in a place called Puyuhuapi. Its a cool little place, but as we arrive it starts to rain, not ideal for pitching camp but its not too wet yet. There are little open wooden gazebo type area’s with seating ideal for staying clear of the rain, and there is shelter under the tree’s. Tents are quickly up and I run round helping a few people where there tent buddies are part of the cook group, and so we make short work of getting the site ready while the group is cooking. Quick shower, the facilities are a little poorer here than the last place the hot tap basically has no tap but Krista uses her initiative and gets some pliers out so we don’t end up with just one useable shower!!
Dinner is prepared by the cook group (some of the group are not happy about the arrangement at all and think it is unfair so that causes a few heated conversations), we get sausage (well… lets just say its the ones you get out of tins!) and cheesy mash potato and a nice veggie sauce. There is a little hut at the campsite that we all go and sit down in around a large dinner table, next to an open fire which makes it a nice experience. It goes down really well for the first dinner so its almost like a competition now to make the next meal better. Then a few glasses of wine and some chat by the fire and its off to the tent once more.