We spent a great day yesterday on one of the rivers that heads from the lake at Bariloche to the Atlantic. Although for the day it was over £50 pounds GBP, it was worth every penny. We went with our guide and instructor called Hector, or nicknamed “Negro” to his colleagues, and his wife who was our driver and cook for lunch. They are both teachers in local schools, bith teaching physical eduction, but on the weekends take tourists on the river kayaking. I really wasn’t bothered about going rafting again, although I had enjoyed it immensely in Ecuador I had always felt that I was just part of a team of horses and there wasn’t really any skill involved. That day there was a guy in a kayak as a kind of safety backup for the rafters and that put the seed of thought in my head watching how much fun river kayaking looked!
We started out a couple of kilometres from the start of the river, suited up in wetsuits and spray tops, before being given some safety instructions and a set of things to learn that we would need to put into practice. We didn’t actually practice getting out of the upturned kayak as the water, although crystal clear and good enough to drink straight, was bloody cold! We did however know the theory, and I knew that sailing and surfing had given me enough experience in water not to panic when under it! I guessed the best method was not to turn over or fall out and that’s exactly the plan I put into action!
Being used to boats, having done some kayaking on the sea, plus a bit on rivers when I was much younger, (near Llandyssul on the Teifi River in Ceredigion), I took to it pretty fast. Lucy had done a bit before and was ok, and Tim took a little bit of time to get used to how the kayak moved and then he was fine too. The rapids were all pretty small, class 2 being the biggest and although we nearly went later in the afternoon for a harder part of the river I found it a perfect way to start. Our instructor was excellent, very patient and had interesting things to say about the river, expecially the information he told us about the proposed dam that the government want to build for hydro-electricity, but which would destroy most of the surrounding countryside, plus the tourist industry supporting rafting, kayaking and trekking.
After a good 4 hours on the river we stopped for lunch which had been prepared by Hector’s wife. After a great lunch we all managed to fall asleep, me in the shade under the tailgate of the pick up, with the two dogs for company! We all awoke about 4.30pm, as to then being too late to carry on any further as it was too late. Thankfully though all of us were so tired I think it was a blessing in disguise!
Anyway, the company was called Huali and the office is on the same road as La Esquina and Wilkenny’s Irish pub. From the gas station you will find it on the left if you head towards Wilkenny’s. The total price per person, assuming three people go is 280 peso AR, or roughly 50 quid. It is alot, and we probably could have tried to negotiate the price down a bit, but to be honest, it was worth every penny. Note however, that it is more expensive if there is just one or two of you!
A great day and caused me to sleep very soundly, which is good considering how loudly Tim snores!