Sunday, 31 August 2008

Expedition route

Well, the white line indicates the assumed paddling route. The map is very general, and the resolution is pretty low, but later on, a more detailed one will be uploaded.
The route is submitted to changes for various reasons:
Some of the channels are sometimes closed due to the Chilean Navy restrictions. Others might be better to avoid because of weather and currents. Any way, while trying to gather most of the information in advance, I believe a lot of it will only be reviled later on.
A little about what's planned…
The put in is the city of Puerto Montt. The city is a big industrial city. We hope to complete the final arrangements over there (permits, food, last minute forgotten items and so on…).

We will start paddling south, crossing to the Island of Chiloe. Then along the island's coast. Later on we will cross to the main land and head on south to San Rafael glacier.

I won't go on from there, because on the maps everything looks easy… and what I've described so far is about 750 km long…
As for the scenery, as far as we will paddle south, the less settlements we will encounter and the weather is suppose to be more stormy and windy.
If you'll take a closer look, you will see that San Rafael glacier is a dead end. There is no water way south of it.
So there will begin our first portage across Istmos De Ofqui- a narrow land strip we will need to carry our kayaks in. but only for a short distance. The Istmos has a few rivers crossing it, so we will only need to carry the kayaks for about 1.5 km to the water. From there, we will kayak down stream to the beginning of the second, longer and more demanding part- Golfo De Penas.More of that, later on…
(San Rafael Glacier photo by Frank Holden)

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Gear is starting to pile up

Roy (A.K.A- Shatzki) is back from a week in the USA. As I mentioned before, we took advantage of Roy's flight to order some of the gear for the expedition by the internet to his address at the states. I also mentioned my doubts about the arrival of the gear on time. So, I was only partly wrong. The system is reliable, but Roy did spend about 2 days shopping for the stuff that was absent… the reason was usually the approval needed from the bank in Israel. After waiting for 30 minutes on hold in an international call to the bank, he decided it'll be easier to go shopping.
Bottom line, Roy brought:
Thermal pants ("Gatkes", as they are known in Israel)
Thermal shirts
Flees jackets
Mosquito head nets

wool socks (non of us wear them in Israel)
ACR life jacket strobes (a strong emergency lamp)

And now to the more interesting stuff (the big boys' toys):
Each one got a "suunto- Vector" watch.!-2115131320!168075286!7005!8005!722314813!168075285!7005!8005&CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673939673&bmUID=1219538712967

Basically, it's a wrist watch with a few extras. While being away, we will need to be fully aware to every change in the weather. We will be supported by Karel
But will need to learn to "feel" changes as it occurs. So the Vector has a built in barometer, to indicate every drop of atmospheric pressure that could mean a deteriorating weather.
Another feature the watch has is the compass. An extra compass is always handy.

Why extra? We will need the kayak compasses
(also by Suunto)- Kayak compass is much easier to track then the wrist watch compass.

Another nice gadget is the MSR water treatment system:
The MSR HyperFlow Microfilter is smaller then the average bicycle pump, so even though I believe we won't be using it, (in some areas of southern Patagonia the rain don't stop) we prefer having it with us then having to use chemical water treatment.

One last thing…
Each of us is going to use an I-COM M34 VHF.
it's a floatable, water resistant VHF transceiver. We will attach the device to our life vests, for emergency, for weather reports, and for sending our position to the Chilean Armada.
We are still short of gear that didn't arrive by mail and we will get it later on.
Meanwhile, there is still a lot of work on the physical preperations aspect… more of that next. time.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Gathering information (or- how do you say wind in Spanish…)

Collecting the information is one of the more challenging parts of getting ready.
The more you dig in dipper, the more questions you find…
For example: Are there any special permits needed?
Is there water to be found any where, or there will be need to purify water?
What food supplies we will be able to buy in the more isolated villages?

As for the answers, they come from many sources. First of all, the internet. The net is an endless pull of information; the problem is that not all of it is in English. Fortunately, it seems like that if you use your imagination and read slowly, you can usually understand most of the Spanish you read…

Then there are people who have already been there. A lot of valuable information came from a nice American couple who paddled about the same route we plan to paddle.(they paddled further south)
Here is a link to their expedition. Great descriptions and beautiful pictures:

So, it's "viento", wind in Spanish. And the Chilean Navy weather site is full of it:

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

getting ready: gadgets, kayaks and info...

I'm starting to think that paddling is the easy part of an expedition….
Learning how to work with the blog, finishing al the obligations to the university and trying to get ready in the best possible way takes more effort then a few weeks of paddling. Into the wind…

By now we contacted a kayak store in Valdivia. We have 3 "sirocco" kayaks by "current designs" ready for us. The rest of the gear, as I mentioned will come with us.
Topographic maps and marine charts are still not available for us and we hope to sort this out in the next few days.
Found a great tide predictions for the area, by the Chilean armada (navy)-
Since our starting time is mid November, we can start looking at the predictions, figuring out more or less where we are about to be and when. Of course, it's just a rough guess, but it's another step in the way off getting familiar with the area from home…
By the way, at the day we are about to start paddling, 6 meter of vertical tide difference is expected in Puerto Montt which means there will be strong tidal currents in the narrow channels of the bay…
That's about it for now. Waiting for Roy to come back from the states next week with plenty of gadgets:GPS, barometer watches, VHF radio and more. I'll write some more of the electronics once we will have them in hand. I don't think I will trust the on-line reservations till I'll see the stuff we ordered over here…

Friday, 8 August 2008

welcome to sea kayaking patagonia blog

On november 8.2008, Roy Shatzki, On Arnon and me, Yosale Dror will pack a few bags of paddling gear and take Swiss Air flight to Santiago, Chile.

from Santiago we will take a few hours drive down to Valdivia, to pick up our sea kayaks
Valdivia is only 2.5 hours drive from Puerto Montt, our put in for our over 2000 km expedition down to southern patagonia.

in this blog we will present our expedition plan, the preperation for the expedition and will deliver photos and updates by satellite phone directly from the wind swept fjords of Chile.

About Us

Roy Shatzki-(27) an air force officer, traveler and sea paddler. Lives in kibutz Regavim. On Arnon-(32) an engineer, outdoor instructor, and sea paddler. Lives in kibutz Gaaton in the north of Israel. Yosale Dror- (28)- sea kayak instructor at Optimist kayak club in Sdot Yam, student of Psychology, lives in kibutz Nahsholim.