On late November I started a three day journey to Chile. Departing from Bracelona to New York and to Panamá for a couple days layover as my boat wasn't allowed in the plane after making it all the way there… a day of paperwork and 400$ less and my boat was on its way via Cargo with the same airline… thanks Copa Airlines!
Anyways made it to Chile and went straight to the río Maipo just outside of Santiago where my good Astorga friends live and fight against the Alto Maipo Project the Government and private corporations are trying to put on their river and land. The plan is to divert the river and all it's tributaries into 70 km of pipes to produce energy for the copper mines in the north. This means drying a whole region with multiple valleys and rivers and taking all of the drinking water for Santiago polluting its waters and mixing them with residual waters from gold mines and others to be purified later on… I really hope that the Government and politicians that rule Chile can see further than their own pockets and decide what's best for Chile and for its people, NO ALTO MAIPO! Learn more about the Alto Maipo Project here: https://www.facebook.com/NoAlProyectoAltoMaipo
After settling down and paddling the Maipo for a few days we started the drive south with a first stop at the río Claro. The Claro is one of the most amazing rivers in the world, clean water and the most beautiful lava canyon you can imagine with all kind of drops and rapids, it truly is a kayakers dream.
The last time I was there was in 2007 together with Chris Korbulic on what we thought was the first descent of the 'Garganta del Diablo', my favorite section. It took us a long day to scout as much as we could from the canyon rim, and I think we only saw the 20% of it? Anyway we put on the next day hoping everything would be fine and we discovered one of the most awesome places on earth. It was such an awesome feeling to go back and remember everything from that tip… We got there late afternoon and put on straight away.
The water was low but we paddled some of the best white water ever so we war so stroked!! The next day we ran the 'Cocina and 22 saltos' into Garganta and finished off with the 7 tazas. Such an awesome day of kayaking surrounded by the most polished and smooth basalt walls you'll ever find, its amazing, you have to be in there to understand it and experience it by yourself. After another day of some more paddling we started to long drive south to Pucón.
The levels in Pucón were still good when we got there so we rushed on paddling the Nevados, Trancura, Palguin and Puesco at good flows. All this runs are really close to town and it's easy to paddle three rivers in one day so within a couple days I was already pretty sore but so stoked to be down there after so much time since I paddled any of this runs, for me it's like a rediscovery trip as the last time was 7 years ago and a lot has changed since then, the rivers, the rapids, the gear and myself so its an awesome personal experience to live it all again. After a few days of great weather levels started to drop and we decided it was time to head south.