Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Photo's available

Our photo's from Chile, Argentina and Peru are now available on our webshots page. The folders are seperated between paddling and scenery.
You can either use this link or the Our Picture Gallery to the right of the page.

Worst / Scariest Day of our trip so Far / border crossing hell

Before we tell you about our adventures.. we are both okay and everything turned out fine in the end.
We arrived in Tumbes, in far nothernest Peru, ready to head via international bus to Quito, Equador. We had read many horror stories about taxis and abandoning you in a no-mans land town which isn’t policed so we thought we would be extra vigilant..
On our exit of the Bus in Tumbes a Panamerican Bus tout said he could get us across the border on the bus no problem.. Si was a little wary and so checked out another recommended company first who advised they couldn’t go directly to where we needed.
Back to the guy…he quickly arranges a taxi and before we know it we are bundled with all our gear into a taxi and he is on the phone booking our tickets. Good so far….

On immediate entry into the car they lock all the doors and advise us to take off all our watches and jewelry and any money and hide it.
It took over an hour to get our exit stamps at the Peru border, in a stiflingly hot room…all the time the guy and his friend stood guard on us and made sure no one jumped the queue.. So we figured we had a couple of okay guys.

We then drove in to know mans land where he explained we would be taken to the bus station. We avoided the main checkpoint and headed an incredible crowded street…we were the only car and as soon as we were entered people crowded the car and tried to get our stuff out. We began to panic…but the guys assured us we were fine.
A armed security guard then stopped the car and demanded a bribe of $20 each to allow us up the street…we didn’t have the $40 in cash so offered him 100 peruvian soles he took it and walked away. We drove about 5 yards and turned down a side street where we were ordered to get out the car. At first we refused and said this wasn’t the deal…we were frightened that they would leave us in no-mans land in a seriously crimes ridden area. Anyway the guys after much argument said it was okay and the bus station was not far but they couldn’t take the taxi into the Equador side of town (over the bridge).
We bundled our luggage and kayaks up onto some type of bikecart we followed closely always watching our backs.
We made it to the bus station at 1pm and they put our stuff straight on…we sighed a big relief…
Until we were told we had to leave the gear there and take a taxi to the Equador immigration station 5km outside town to get our visa’s… our bus left at problem.. and the guys accompanied us to makes sure we would get the bus.
An hour later we had just had got our visa’s… one of the guys had taken enough money to buy our tickets and would make sure the bus stopped at the border to pick us up…The other guy however bundled us back in a taxi…we were starting to think we had lost everything. But to their honesty the taxi flagged down the bus in the middle of the highway we got off exchanged money for all the taxis and there services and we were on our way to Equador. We sighed a huge breath of relief.
At 12pm (Midnight) we were awoken suddenly and ordered to get off the bus by Equadorian police brandishing huge semi guns. Bleary eyed we stumbled off the bus and we quickly realized we were separated in to two groups Women and children and Men.
Cheryl was really scared.. the police checked Her passport and couldn’t find the Equador stamp at the same time we watched as the police pushed and frisked a guy on the side of the bus.
The police quickly passed Cheryl over.. but Si didn’t have same luck and was taking a serious questioning. Cheryl was ushered back on the bus wondering if they had a problem with him.. She sighed a big relief when she saw him back on the bus safely.

It is one journey we care not to repeat ever again and we both agree no matter what a flight would cost it’s a better option.

Sorry, no pictures available, wasn't going to get the camera out.... No chance

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


We have spent the last week in Peru traveling around and visiting many of its sites.
Starting with a relaxing day in Lima our friendly hostel owner (who kindly arranged everything for the rest of our stay in Peru) took us to the sacred site of Pachamac, An Inca sun temple… he then took us to his favorite beach where we soaked up the sun.

Our next stop was Nasca, where the famous Nasca lines are located. We took an early morning flight over them to get the best views..

In the afternoon we visited the Chauchilla Cemetary, an ancient burial ground which in the past has seen destruction of thousands of graves by grave robbers, the remains of scattered bones from these can still be seen today. Nowadays the site is preserved and no further digging is allowed. Some graves are open…and what you see in the pictures we took are real people.

We visited a museum which also housed some of Chauchilla’s findings…gruesome trophy heads.. some still even had aging skin attached urghhh.

From Nasca we traveled to Cusco the ancient Inka capital. Cusco is a very interesting city with narrow winding street and huge amounts of history. During our stay we visited many of the local sites.

Next was Machu Picchu, we only had two days so we took the train up stayed the night in Aguas Calientes…which had a huge river running right through the middle of it. We took the first bus 5.45am up to a very misty Machu mid morning the mist had cleared and we climbed up Wayna Picchu to get the aerial view of Machu Picchu. The climb was interesting hundreds of narrow, and very steep stone steps lead you on a winding journey until to you reach another set of ruins at the top the view is breath taking. We also took the long climbed down to the moon temple a place which sees very little tourist action but worth the every literal step we took.

With our Peru time coming to a close we took the train and bus back to Cusco where we stayed one more night. The Next morning we were shocked to learn that most of the historical sites would be closed… thankfully we had booked an earlier bus back to Lima..or so we thought. The protest which had closed the sites had also caused road blocks our 19 hr bus journey took 25 hours instead one road block alone 2hours to get through.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Quite Annoying really, We seem to have attracted SPAM comments. They try and link you to other websites etc.
We have had to change the process. You can still post comments here but wont see them until Si or Cheryl has approved them.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bus Journey to Somewhere!!

Well, I guess we shouldn´t have assumed it would be that easy travelling across South America by bus with two Kayaks... Well we did. Tickets are easy to buy and all the buses are big so what´s the issue.
We turned up at the Bus station extra early. We confirm with the desk people we have kayaks. In return they advise it will cost a little extra but should be fine. The bus turns up and we are point blankly refused by the driver who takes one look at the kayaks and says no. No matter how much we argue that they will fit in the space he wont have it. Thankfully the company refund us the money. At a last ditch attempt Si tries a few other bus companies Ramos Cholele were only to glad to help us and assured us they would take the kayaks.
We boarded with such ease it was unbelievable... the bus was really nice came with a food included..what morer could we ask for.
The bus journey was 28 hours and all of it in the desert, 3 hours before our destination, we were asked to get of the bus, and watched in horror as they unloaded ours and several other passengers bags in the middle of nowhere...the desert. Finally someone explained we had to catch another bus to Arica as ours was going somewhere else.
We finally got on the other bus and discovered no seats.. I shouldn´t laugh but the conductor soon sorted this by putting some locals in a compartment underneath the bus.
We arrive in Arica too late to cross into Peru (the border closes at 11pm), but were kindly rescued by a lovely hostel owner were we stayed in very nice accomodations for a very cheap price.
So finally we are in Peru...
The Peru bus company advise they cant take our kayaks on the bus we are booked so offer an alternative..
We will get to Lima at some point... Where we start the whole process again to get to Quito, Equador.

Friday, February 8, 2008


We have spent the last four days in Santiago. It would have been shorter but the lack of buses to Peru and the holidays have meant our plans have somewhat changed... We will eventually get to Peru via 2 buses and a taxi a journey taking 3 full days..
Santiago is a huge city with a mix of spanish and modern buildings and culture. Latin America is renowned for it devoted catholism, and the Churches and Virgin Mary we visited held us in Awe.

Monday, February 4, 2008


After another tedious border crossing, where we were caught smuggling potatoes into Chile (they didn't find the other stuff....), we arrived in the beautiful Futaleufu valley for a few days paddling. We only wish we could have stayed longer.

Rio Azul (from the Bridge)

First up we checked into the Cara Del Indio campsite, where we suddenly found ourselves very popular, since we had a vehicle. For the rest of the week we paddled various sections of the Fu, and side streams, with many new friends. Levels were low, and all the sections were fun!!!

Of course everyone was in new school playboats for the Fu. We were nearly the oldest there, but felt quite happy in our comfy creek boats. Especially the day Simon did the Inferno canyon to Camp. 7 Hrs in a playboat.... Not for me.....

I hadn't really relished paddling Inferno canyon again after last times scary flood run, but in low water, and a creek boat, it was very manageable, and you don't get flipped anywhere near as much as the tiny playboats!!! There's even a new rapid since last time - Dynamite, one of the biggest hits in the canyon (no pics sorry).

Heading back, we went via Chiloe Island, Its very scenic, but a long expensive ferry. Probably would have gone back via Argentina if we hadn't needed more insurance...

Thanks to Xavier for some of the great paddling pics....