Less than twenty-four hours after landing in Chile, I was racing head-to-head on the Rio Nuble as part of Nuble Fest. Not quite how expected to be taking my first strokes in the country ... in fact it had been quite strange. After a long flight I arrived in Temuco, only to find my boat and bag had inconsiderately not made the plane changes I had. I was met at the airport by a motley crew of paddlers, only one of whom I sort of knew and taken many hours north for a festival I´d never heard of.
My airport pick-up
Without my bag I had no camping gear, but miraculously the airline sent a driver up after us and my gear was delivered to me in the field we were making camp in for Nuble Fest five hours north of the airport! Good work TAM. After a day of racing both in kayaks and rafts, there was a presentation party in the town square with dreadlocked rappers and old men with guitars. In state of jetlagged confusion I was presented with some medals, a bottle of wine and a giant cheque. Not a bad first day! The next day we loaded up and hauled ass to the Rio Claro where we spent a couple of days paddling the beautiful clean waterfalls known as the Seven Teacups and Twenty-Two Saltos. The river was low, but this is a very cool place. Stunning tight canyons filled with a kayakers theme park of slides and drops.
Aside from the kayaking, we saw some cool wildlife... not least this "little" fella...
Soon it was time to head to Pucon, but I´m told no Chilean adventure is complete without some vehicle mishaps. On our 5 hour drive we broke down 4 times within the first 30 minutes (3 times within 500 metres!), the rough dirt road and heavy load having taken its toll on our suspension and tyres.
A couple of hours later another tyre started to warp and we were forced to chase around a random town trying to find somewhere to buy and fit a new one at gone 8pm. After several failed attempts we found a tyre in a big hardware store and a bloke with a roadside shack to fit it as the sun set.
We finally made it to Pucon at 4.30am ... Quite the epic journey! So we´re now in Pucon and many more adventures have already been had. But now I should get off the internet and go paddling ...
A Welsh girl through and through, Lowri is one of Britain’s leading female paddlers and coaches. Having represented her country for many years in freestyle, collecting gold medals in both British and European Championships, she now continues to notch up podium finishes in most of Europe’s extreme races, and has first descents to her name in Mongolia and Georgia.