Rafting the Futaleufu River, Patagonia

Rafting the Futaleufu River in Patagonia - photo by Rob McFarland

Rafting the Futaleufu River in Patagonia – photo by Rob McFarland

Escape travel section, Australia – Nov 13, 2011

Finalist, 2012 National Travel Industry Awards Best Travel Writer

“Pay attention,” shouts Pedro from the back of the raft. Six panting heads snap around in unison. We’ve failed to make it to the exit on the left side of the rapid so after some furious back-paddling we’re now in an eddy on the more dangerous right side.

It’s time for Plan B. In front of us the river roars between two hulking granite boulders and there’s just enough space for our raft.

“Ready?” asks Pedro. We nod. Forward paddle. We launch back into the main flow and are catapulted towards the right boulder. Commands come in quick succession: Left back … right back … all forward and we dig our paddles into the bracing, teal-coloured water. The boulders whiz by in a blur of grey and we’re spat out into the calmer waters below.

Exhausted, I turn around to see Pedro grinning. “Good job,” he says, his deep, infectious laugh echoing off the sheer rock walls.

Today is Big Friday. In rafting terms, it’s the biggest day of whitewater in the world. Fifteen Class 4 and 5 rapids spread over 15km of the Futaleufu River in the depths of Chile’s Patagonia.

Read the rest of this story here.

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