Today, we arrived in the small town of Pucon, in Southern Chile, after a long and jumbled journey. We had traveled about 40 hours, slept on an overnight flight and, the next night, on an overnight bus. Last night it was Tuesday the 31st of January, as was the night before. On the airplane, we had crossed the date line, turning back the time. Once in Pucon, we took a taxi to a large, secluded piece of land with several huts, cabins, and lots of kayaks. We would be staying at the Pucon Kayak Hostel. It was still early morning and the air was cold. We were invited inside, to a fire and some left over breakfast. We were excited to explore the grounds and to participate in a kayak rolling session later in the day.
The hostel is more of a camp than anything else. All over the property are dome shaped buildings supported by metal beams. Inside are beds and lights. The kitchen is an open building with all open walls save some concrete panels. Inside there is a fire place, a sink and stove, and several tables. The other buildings include housing for the staff and owner, kayak sheds, and scattered guest houses. Hung from a few trees are hammocks shaded by big beech trees. Wandering the property is a golden fluffy dog who likes to snuggle and jump on me.
After letting the sun come out and hanging out on the hammocks, Dave, the owner of the hostel and a terrific boater, took me and a couple of other guests to a warn pool to practice our rolls. With me were Anna and Carsten, a German couple, Nora, a grade IV kayaker, and a non kayaker named Claire who just planned to hang out in the hot water. We pulled up in a parking lot before a big and fairly warm pool. Next to the pool were two hot tubs with boiling hot water. Today, I was outfitted with a play boat which is an extremely short kayak that is easy to turn, roll, surf, and to do other tricks.
Once in the water, it felt cool to be able to have so much control over my boat. When I started rolling, I realized that both my rolls had decreased in skill and technique since Murchison, New Zealand. Dave taught the roll a bit differently than did the instructors in Murchison, but I tried to combine the two techniques and harness them into an easy roll. I have to confess, I flipped one of the instructors over while she was practicing her bracing. It was just too good of an opportunity to miss. Nora laughed and continued the session. I also worked on unexpected rolls. An instructor stood at the back of my boat and shook the boat in random directions. She then slammed me down to the water in an unexpected direction. I enjoyed the pool session and soon we were back in the car returning to the hostel.
We are in a super cool place and I am loving Chile. I was a little disappointed about my roll, but I am sure that I will get it back. I am excited for the days to come at the Hostel.
Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!