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Rafting in Pucon

Written on: Tuesday January 29th, 2008

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Location: Rio Villarrica and the Thermals de Panqui, Pucon, Chile. 

Author: Kevin 


After climbing the volcano and sliding back down it, I was looking for a bit more adventure and noticed that some of the tour companies offered white water rafting.  At the hostel, I met a father and son from Hungry who had booked this tour, so I politely invited myself along and they agreed the more the merrier.  That afternoon we were shuttled to the rivers edge and were provided safety gear; helmet, life jacket, wet suit and handed a paddle.  The crowd was divided into groups of 5 or 6 and I ended up getting separated from the others.  In my boat were two Israeli friends that I had met the day before on the volcano climb, Doobie and the other who´s name escapes me.  The other two were girls from the UK, Anna and Emily, who we later become great friends with and you will read more about them in future stories.   All geared up and ready to float, we met our guide and got into our raft for a quick lesson.  The guide drilled us with a series of movements that would be critical for us to learn in order to avoid flipping.  I looked like a clumsy fool and was just too excited to comprehend anything, so I was zigging when I should have been zagging.  Anyway I eventually got the just of things and we were able to hit some rapids. 

The positions were set with me seated at the front with Anna to my right, and behind her Emily, behind me Doobie and the other guy.  Our journey started with small rapids but quickly they were worthy of their names, ?The Devils Pit?, ?Eternal Damnation?, and each getting intensely stronger.   As we approach the rapid, the thrill we got comes from the sound of the force of the water breaking on the rocks of the river bed.   This noise gets louder the closer you get and sounds like thunder rumbling in your ears.  Closer, you can see a V of white water breaking from the smoothness of the crest of the drop off.    This is when you can see what you are about to go into, its usually full of white spray with lots of rocks around and there is no backing out of it?hold on because you?re rafting now!  Feeling this rush over and again as well as all that paddling can really build a thirst. Fortunately the guys at Politur have some cold refreshment waiting at the end of the trip and it gives us time to talk to everyone and tell our stories. 

Later that day Julie and I decided that we would visit the hot springs and it was great to relax my muscles in some hot mineral water.  There were a total of 10 pools, each with different temperatures, and we tried them all.  We arrived at dusk and this gave us a chance to float on our backs and look up at the stars in the sky.  After three hours, we were fully tenderized and headed back to town in our tour van.  And yes with our luck, the van?s battery caught on fire.   Up until now, I had no idea batteries could actually catch fire?wow another great lesson learned?thanks fate.  So we pulled the van over and waited an hour and a half for another van to come and rescue us. By the time we got back to our room and packed our bags it was close to 3:00 am.  The next morning we took the 7:30am bus out of Pucon to Puerto Varas.  We laugh at our luck and invited fate to give us more!