So I arrived in Chile, made it all the way to Santiago airport where I met MaryKatherine, Isaac and Eric at the gate, after a long queue for immigration, and a difficult conversation with a woman at the baggage pick up, because my paddle bag (also the bag containing ALL my clothes) was still in Madrid!
We then flew into Pucon, where we met Dave and John at the airport, loaded all the bags and kayaks and kids into the trailer and car, before heading to base!
We arrived at Pucon Kayak Hostel and after being shown our rooms and some kayaks we’d be using (until ours arrived) we hit the water! We paddled the Lower Trancura, which although (in retrospect!) a very easy stretch, has big wave trains and I was extremely nervous. I was super tired because of jet lag, so after tea I headed straight to bed!
I woke up ridiculously early the next morning, and spent time writing and reading my book. Eventually other people appeared to show me where breakfast was. 🙂
We then kayaked, talked about how our lessons would work, learnt how to tie boats on the trailer and threw throwlines. A busy day of learning how things worked around the hostel before we started school.
A couple of days later we headed up for our first run of the Upper Trancura, which was pretty exciting, but also scary, as it was a new river again. My nerves were up, but I had a good run, and ran Garganta and Feo first time after scouting.
I’ve now (nearly two weeks later) run this run a LOT of times! The Upper Trancura is like our training ground, and today we (we being the development group consisting of MK, Will and I) even ran the bottom half of last laugh! Fun times!
In the time between getting here and me (finally) writing this first blog post there’s been a lot happening. We start the day with a morning workout, followed by breakfast. We then normally have lessons in the morning, and then go kayaking after lunch. We’ve also been having salsa dance lessons twice a week, which is actually really fun, but most of the guys seem to hate. We’ve got the bus into Pucon lots, and we even drove to get firewood from a local farm as one of our Spanish lessons.
There are a quite a few options for classes, there is Video class, Advanced video class, Spanish 1, Spanish 2, English, Graphic Arts and Survival class. I am taking the video class, Spanish 1 and Graphic Arts, but since the Graphic Arts and Advanced video classes overlap so much, I am actually going to Advanced Video lessons at the moment.
So far the development group has only run the Upper and Lower Trancura, the Leacura (which flows into the Lower Trancura) and the Upper Palguin down to above the crack drop. We have only paddled the Palguin once, and the trip resulted in Will going over a waterfall upside down and making a hole in his lower lip (all the way through!) and having to go to the hospital.
We are planning a trip to the Fui this weekend, with video lab en route! Getting back in time for Dance class on Monday and an Ensada (BBQ?) thing with some Chilean ‘English students’ afterwards.