Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Well, this is probably the material dreams are made of.
Roy and On went south, looking for a ride to Antarctica, and I took a 30 hours bus to the little village of Futaleufu (meaning the great river).
First ran by kayakists more then 20 years ago, the river Futalefu is a dream for almost every white water lover.
The river’s turquoise water flows through an amazing valley, surrounded by ice caped mountains and green valleys.
On the water, a series of class 3-5 rapids, with deep water, big waves and nice play spots- a great place to spend a day on the water.
I’m being hosted here by “FUTALEUFU EXPLORE”, a rafting company that operates on the Futa. Guides from around the world, and a lot of experience and good time on the water.
Had a great opportunity to arrive here just a few days before the FutaFest. A white water festival, that took place here last weekend. Kayakists and rafting teams from many countries gathered on a campsite on the river bank.
*Boater cross competitions for kayaks (running down river, catching eddies as fast as possible).
*sprint down a rapid with rafts.
*down river competition for rafts and kayaks (bridge to bridge section as fast as possible)
*free style, on Mondaka hole, rafts and kayaks (just playing on the biggest hole on the bridge to bridge section)

So, after kayaking the river only a few times, I gave up competing with a kayak… but found a place on the FUTALEUFU EXPLORE raft.
us, surfing Mondaka hole Great weekend, on and in the water for a few hours every day.
We also got second and third (on the river running competition) and first place on the rafting freestyle surfing, which means surf the raft into a hole and stay there as much as possible. Interesting flips are also appreciated.
The last day was free rafting for the community of Futa village. Many boats and kayaks on the water on a beautiful sunny day.

So, if you pass by the area, on the boarder between Chile and Argentina, not far from Bariloche, you don’t want to miss this place. Great atmosphere, in and out of the water.

Asado, on the second day of the festival.

a picture taken while i was safety kayaking for a home made raft competition on the near by Rio Espolon.

Gilad in his car. wind shield is optional.... Gilad lend me all his gear while went dancing in the Carnaval in Rio...

kayaks in Mondaka hole.

Mondaka rapid on the down river kayak competition

kayaks playing on Pistola wave, Entrada rapid, the first one on the Bridge to Bridge section

The take out point, next to the lower bridge. the sign says ¨Futaleufu, a landscape painted
by God¨.
The festival was organized by many volunteers, to raise awareness to the place and as part of the effort to prevent new dams on the rivers of Patagonia.
Patagonia sin represas
(without dams)

Thursday, 5 February 2009


Paddling in Patagonia sometimes ¨puts¨ you in a narrow corridor, surrounded by the sky, water and mountains.

Paddling forward in a place like that is like living in a paint. You have a number diferent horizons ahead of you and about the same amount at your back.

As you slide through the water, you slowly change the colors of what`s around.
You make the white mountain ahead gray. The gray becomes blue. And the blue one`s become green by your side.
By looking back, you find out that the oposite was happening behind you the whole time.
The green mountains besides the kayak turned blue as it passed by. Later on it ¨greened¨. Becoming gray and white again is just a matter of time.

After spending a few days here in Puerto Natales, considering our options, we decided to stop here.

Our original plan was to go further south to the city of Punta Arenas. Through the Strait of Magelan. When we went to get our plans authorized by the Chilean Armada, we understood that it`s much safer to take a different rout, in an inner passage. Taking that rout, in 10 days paddling, we would have been in a small port, about 40 km north of Punta Arenas. There, we could load the kayaks on a truck and get to the city.

So, why not?

First, the views are not as dramatic as it was north of here. Vast, open, wind swept planes. Unlike the fjords we got used to...
Second, there is something dissapointing in finishing in a small harbour, without getting to a ¨real place¨.
Third, getting the expedition started took much more time then we expected. Setting of now, will make us miss other things we are planning to do here, since summer last forever onley if you keep traveling...

So, when going through the Magallanes (which are evoided by much larger ships) became irrelevant, continuing south became less apealing as well.

+Logistics are going to be mouch harder from there.

Why to continue?

Because we said so.

Many hours of thinking peacefully while paddling, makes u understand that it`s not a good enough reason.
The extra 10 days (less then 200 miles), are not as important as leaving the water when you still havnèt had enough. Right now, we all feel like we didn`t have enough of paddling. And we prefer it to keep it that way.

In israel. Chile`s fjord were in every though we had for months.
The biggest question was ¨How is it going to be?¨
Well, the answer is- As we imagened and much more.
The weather was better then we thought it will be.
The views more beutifull then we could imagine.
Mountains were higher.
We saw more marine mammels.
More birds.
Fishing was easier.
The wind was stronger.
Currents were stronger but at our back.
People we met along the way were always surprising for the best.
We worked better together then we could expect.
And some parts were more dificult then we thought it will be.

In the 65 days since we left Puerto Montt.
We paddled 49 days.
Had 8 days of rest (usually due to weather)
Had 8 days of re-supplying and resting in villages along the way.
Our longest day was a bit more then 60 km.
And we paddled about 1800 km.

We paddle at the feet of a smoking volcano.
With icebergs, we were pushed by the currents to an icy lagoon.

Spent a nigh on the kicthen floor of an old land guard in the middle of nowhere.

Pushed south by strong gusts of wind, came out of no where.

Cought fish for 3 days in 30 minutes.

Got sea sick.
Got dyharia.
Made new freinds. Smelled bad..
And sang. Alot.
But most of all, we had to deal with ourselves.
Everybody says that in that kind of experience you have the time to look inside, what they don`t say is, that usually you find more questions then answers.
We all had personal goals for the trip.
Now it`s time to start checking if we made some progress.
When you come back to israel, after traveling for a while. the mountains looks lower and the car rides seems shorter. After a while, everything is back to it`s regular ¨size¨.

We can onley hope, that at least some things will keep in their ¨new¨ dimentions, even in our real life.
All of that would have been much harder (or imposible )without the help of a few great people.
Hadas Feldman. Hadas helped us orgenizing, never stopped the tips comming, delivered our position daily to the chilean navy, and kept the blog updated and interesting. We learned alot from the info Hadas uploaded.
Her expedition experiense and knowledge was priceless for us. THANKS!!!!!!!!
Karel Vissel, that sent us an SMS with the next 2 days weather forecast every day(!). In many cases, what we got from Karel efected our plans ahead. Sometimes the accuracy was amazing. So thanks, Karel, for brining it mostely from the north.
Our sponsors:
Werner Paddels
And for all the support we got from all the guys at home. People helped us with collecting information, contacts, medical advice, logistics, psychological preperation, and supporting us the whole way south.

Our plans ahead.
Roy and On are trying to get to Antarctica if they find a ride, and start trecking the hell out of South America. They are also checking the option of a kayak expedition to the Amazone river.
I`m going to make a dream come true by kayaking the Futalefu river.

Don`t stop painting the views...
Roy, On and me.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

some more pictures and the stories behind....

Still in Puerto Natales. A few more pictures....
we also changing the title picture of the blog. the last one was taken in alaska on Optimst trip in June 08. since alaska is pretty far, we chose that picture, taken by On on one of the narrow passages in a narrow channel.

that one was taken is San Rafael, from outside our tent.

that was the day after. crossing the land strech called Istmo De Ofqui. partly in that way-and partly that way. about 1.6 miles, untill we got into Rio Negro, the black river that took us the next 20 km to the ocean. amzing vast open strech of land, with San Rafael and San Quintin glaciers on the horizon.found mint in many places. great for the tea, rice and lentills, fish stew and for the face`s skin...from time to time, sand flies were so bad, we reduced skin exposure to the minimum, even while eating.the worior`s rest.
seconds before Shatz took the opportunity to put a stick next to On`s ear.finding a place with good parking spot is not always easy. in that campsite we were more expereinced with the tides, and expected the water to reach just to the tent`s entrance.
and so it did. when we left, the 2009 tide tables addition was not available yet. later on, the guys from the Armada coppied the relevant tide tables for us. finding a dry place to ¨park¨ the dirty underwear is also very important while changing clothes. as u can see, the coocking set is a perfect platform.

narrow and remote passage at the entrance to Golfo De Pennasmaking wavesusing the lederman for cutting the mustash and the fish in less then 24 hours (in the wrong order) wasn`t such a good idea.
hand shake?worming up, after 9 hours on the water without landing spots.
Puerto Eden, after looking in the mirror.bible lesson, sunday afternoon, Puerto Eden peer.Roy is writing in Angosturae Inglesa guest book. the statue is on the northern entrance to a narrow passage about 10 km north of Pto Eden. strong tidal currents on a buetifull day took us to Pto Eden verry fast and happy.
puerto natales, celebrating the new looks.

we`ll keep you updated about the mustashes.

Monday, 2 February 2009

some pictures...

Finally we were able to arrange some of our photos...
This one is from the sheltered coast, a day before Golfo De Penas

The amazing Puerto Eden.

Shopping. after the ferry brough supply.Some dried meat, rice, beens and so on.Taking a ride back to the hotel. I was wearing dry clothes, and this was as wet as I got, when strong rain and head wind caouth me and the other 2 passenger of guard... Packing the dried fish, Robalo (sea bass), sugar and the rest...

Of we go again..Lunch break. rice and lentils from yesterday+tea.
On the way to Amalia glacier. the bay is clear of ice, which is packed very close to the glacier due to the strong winds.

Barometer is dropping. the souther we went, the changes became faster and faster.

Getting the tent ready. On build a little dam to divert the little stream away. -when we woke up the next stormy morning, we had to make it a bitt higher.Roy and I are learning rules of the card game Avital brought us. onley to loose to On time after time... Storm passed. Icy bay and amazing day.

As u can c, Roy is not onley a heart braker. Roy proud to present the new breakfast (no poridge in Puerto Eden at the time). In the caps- rice, hard cheese and salt or sugar (depend on the mood)

Planning ahead. Just to know how much rice can we eat without finish it before we are in Natales Puerto Natales on the horizon. short Saturday morning paddle after spending the night out

Puerto Natales Armada office. first stop.Natales. German, from Tutravesia , back yard. That`s it for now.

Enjoying city life, resting and thinking ahead.


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.