|i made it to the fue a few days ago. went down the river yesterday. the fue is still running really strong right now so we did a trip down the azul, which is a tributary of the fue. the guys asked me to stick around to help out with a documentary film that they are producing on the area. the director flew in from sweden last night and we had dinner with him and talked about his expectations for the piece. we will spend the weekend getting things organized and monday morning head out to the river. argentina is releasing a lot of water from the damn that they have put on a minor tributary. in addition the river is at full capacity after a lot of rain. the river hasn't opened up for commercial use yet so it looks like i'll get to be one of the first guys down the river. right place, right time. can't wait.
ok, an update. i have just spent the best week of my life in Futaleufu! The Fue is the premiere white water rapid destination on the planet. we were the first boat to raft the river this year. the current volume is at 15,000 cubic feet per second! the last five days we rafted every rapid on the river....Magic Carpet Ride, Torro, Mas o Minos, Puma, Indian Face, Casa, Moondaca, Pillow, Terminator. it turns out that we weren't filming a documentary film. Erikson, think cell phones, contracted a film crew to collect footage for their new marketing campaign. the film and stills that we collected are going to be used in conferences in Europe. The experience of rafting such amazing rapids combined with learning the art of producing an adventure piece was unparrelled. we were doing things in the raft that were way out of the regular commercial trips in order to capture amazing footage. i can't thank Jim and his crew enough. KC, James, Junewin, Frank, Pedro, Gustavo, Samuel, Forrest, Alan, Toren, Shelby, Talia, Felix, Mons, the Dartmoth college crew.....you guys are awesome!!!! If anyone is interested in rafting in Chile go to exchile.com and sign up! extremely professional, friendly and in my opinion the best outfit on the river!
Two days ago we were rafting in the lower Fue. the two photographers were up in the front of the boat and we took a wave the wrong way. the raft went straight up in the air and we lost everyone in the boat. i have spent a lot of time in nature but have never been so humbled by mother nature in my life. the rapid that we spilled in was a class 5 rapid. the danger level was very high because the Fue is essentially one big rapid, one right after another. if you go down then it becomes a real challenge to get out because it is so powerful for such a long period of time. the saftey kayaks and the cataraft responded really quickly and got everyone out of the river but it was pretty sketchy for a while. it felt like being in a gigantic washing machine. you would surface suck down air as quick as you could before getting taken under by the next wave. at the end of the day we were all in a state of shock but glad to have had the experience.
the other great moment in an unlimited amount of memories was when i got to go out on the rescue cataraft with James. He is a cool outdoors type from British Columbia who taught me a lot about how to feel the river. he taught me so much in such a short time. i have vowed that when i get back to Colorado I am going to take kayak lessons and spend as much time on the river as possible. Get ready Steve, it's on!!!!
We ended the week at the campo last night with a huge asado, chilean BBQ. Pedro spent all day smoking a lamb and cooking up delicious grub for the final party. we sat in the sauna, drank sangria and ate like kings. Jim gave a great farewell toast and presented each of the rafters with a picture taken by Felix. Wow! Wow!!!