Wednesday, 10 December 2014

2nd South Pacific Sea Kayak Symposium - Valdivia, Chile

I was back to work on the 2nd South Pacific Sea Kayak Symposium and I was greeted by a smiling Pueblito Expeditiones team of Eduardo Saldias, Roberto Saldias and Jorge Muller with great warmth. I had decided to arrive 5 days before hand, partly to get over the jet lag (apparently one day for every hour) and to have a few hours private Spanish lessons.  

The previous year I had found it hard not being able to communicate effectively, so I was attempting to get a basic grasp, although my main focus was on words such as .. 'move your torso to the left' and 'lift your right knee'.  Great for coaching individuals specifics, but not much good for ordering a beer and a pizza!! 

What I particularly enjoyed this year was the opportunity to paddle informally before hand on a group paddle out and around the island and then the following day, surfing at Mission beach ... It also allowed me to practise a couple of my recently learnt Spanish phrases! 

It had been a lovely paddle and great to see some more familiar faces.  The next 8 photos were taken by Eduardo, one of the organiser and a super nice guy.  Thanks for the photos - surfing at Mission beach.

There was some great waves over the day and with a fairly strong rip close to the shore, so if someone took a swim, it was difficult for them to get to the shore ...  I also new when it was time to finish as my timing and reactions slowed and I had to roll more often.  But it was hard to get off.  Just waiting for that next super long ride, back to the beach ...

Getting off was rather exciting and as you can see I had decided to pull my deck before going for land, so it was one less thing to manage ...

Jorge one of the organisers, skilfully taking a big wave with a Greenland stick ...

It was good to see so many sponsors getting behind the event (photo Eduardo).  It was also really good to see familiar faces, from the previous year as people slowly gathered for the first morning ...

The coaching team included Jeff Allan, Simon Osborne, Nick Cunliffe from the UK and Ben Lawry, Steve Maynard, Roger Schuman, James Manke, Kate Hives and Santia Berrueta, from North America.
It has to be said the 2 hour or so drive and boat ride form Valdivia, is worth the time and is a beautiful location, providing something for every one.  Protected calm river section and exciting river outlet, sandy beach surfing, rocky shorelines for incident management, rescues and rock hoping.  The wild life was fantastic, with various terns, hawks, pelicans (below), Humboldt penguins occasionally bobbing about (only the 2nd time Ive seen real penguins and a real high point) and a sea otter was also spotted. 

Next 3 photos by Eduardo, capture a little more of the environment and amazing area.  The left side of the dunes is the sheltered river area, beach surf and the far right side is the rocky coastline.

Individuals were keen to learn, play and stretch their skills .... photo below showing the river entrance, with gentle flow.

The beach can be seen on the far left, which leads on to the river mouth and the fantastic colour  of the P and H sea kayaks ...

It had been a super event, with some settled weather and windy weather, but all had a super time and its probably one huge advantage with a 4 day symposium, that a mix of weather is more likely to be experienced.

So keep your eyes open for 2015. If you fancy paddling and exploring Chilean Patagonia its a great way to meet a real mix of super friendly people and then why not continue exploring Chile, as I did this year (more on a later Blog).  Its such a vast and varied country and I'm already keen to return, and next time with more Spanish!

Photo by Eduardo

A great team of people!


roger chandler