Welcome to our sea kayaking project, "Facing the wind".

In March 2009 we will attempt to paddle more than 4.000 nautical miles along Argentina for the first time. Starting at La Quiaca, a little town settled in the heights of the northern Andes Mountains at 14.000 ft we will cycle and paddle to end this trip 10 months later in the very end of Patagonia, precisely in the city of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego province.
We’ll have to cycle 410 miles with our sea kayaks in carts to get to the waters of the Bermejo, an always changing river with plenty of crocodiles, snakes, piranhas and many other wildlife. Also we’ll have to paddle along the big Paraguay and Paraná rivers that come from the Brazilian Amazon to die many miles later in the Atlantic Ocean. These two rivers are an excellent option for kayak fishing. The hardest part of the expedition comes last when our sea kayaks will head south in search of the Patagonian coasts, full of rocks and ridges, cold temperatures and strong winds. This Atlantic coastline is extraordinarily rich in sea birds, penguins, whales and sea lions, but no human presence for many miles. The use of an inverse osmosis bomb for purifying salt water will be vital for survival in places where rain is not usual for many months and fresh water rivers don’t get to the sea.
Why paddling 4.000 nautical miles? Our kayaking philosophy is quite simple; we believe that we can use our kayaks to generate conscience. Working hard locally can lead us to global solutions. The daily effort and a positive mind makes the difference, so lets do what we know best, lets paddle and show people that everybody can do something to solve problems in a local scale. This time we paddle for rural schools and environment preservation. Rural schools have little resources and are settled in the middle of nowhere, so people have to get there walking, horse riding, rowing, but never on a school bus. This kind of schools also feed children that spend all day far away from home. Our help is needed, so we are trying to compromise everybody to donate food, clothes, shoes, books, computers and many other things.
Environmental problems are also important; we paddle for clean rivers and healthy ecosystems, for the respect of wildlife, global warming, against industries breaking the laws and many other threats that nature is suffering.
The team members started paddling in sea kayaks 10 years ago. Now they spend their time teaching the basics of kayaking and guiding people through the islands of the Paraná Delta, a unique ecosystem formed by the deposition of river sediments.
Never stop exploring is an option in Argentina; we still have many rivers to paddle with the same purposes of this trip.
So, lets go paddling!! Enjoy Argentina!

jueves, 5 de noviembre de 2009


THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2009

The river started out with lots of surprises and we started out with lots of uncertainties. From the beginning we received warnings of “be careful here, watch out in Zanjas del Tigre, look out for loose branches (whole trees, actually) and be careful with the rocks at the bottom”, among other things. The first thing we did was check the kayaks’ drafts because the boats were really very loaded. We immediately went into a “runner” and the water was “boiling”, which can only mean two things: it’s not deep and there are rocks at the bottom. Logically, we started to hear the banging on the hulls, but the only to pass through was 30 cms deep, and this continued all through the first stretch, but at the end of the day we had left the rocks behind.

We’re finally in the Bermejo sailing downstream. These are some of the dynamics of this river. The Bermejo is a river born in the heights that receives flows from other rivers. Upstream, it’s a mountain river but when it joins the Tarija, it gets very plentiful. From there on it brings with it loads of trees and yungas. The whole river is a great cemetery of trees, with lots of traps and whirlpools. At the beginning we were zigzagging avoiding tree branches everywhere, but really a whole lot of fun.

The best came the second day, with a river full of static waves (deep ripples that form enormous waves that you can surf). The water was a bit cold and the Asiaks dove their bows against the current halfway into the waves.

The Bermejo is always changing and can either come down with large volumes of water, at medium depth or sometimes during the year with almost no water at all, but at its peak, hold on tight! Since it doesn’t have many drops, it’s a very winding river, curves and counter curves throughout its 1500 kms that if measured in a straight line, are only 500. Some curves form curls that are separated by only 100 meters, but to go around them ones has to paddle for 10 kms.

The Bermejo always hits against a gully, so on the opposite curve there are generally beaches of clay and sand = MUD! Yes, there’s mud everywhere, and what’s more complicating are the moving sands, that if you’re not careful you can sink into up to your neck. The climate these days has been strange. We’re in the medium to low depth part of the year. It has rained almost every night, and during the day the temperature is 35°C or cloudy with no possibility of charging our batteries with the solar panels.

Last comment: in the stretch that crosses the province of Salta, the river is almost 1 km wide, constantly varying in depth, but always looks the same, like a big brown cloak, which makes it difficult to detect the right course. We paddle three in a row, but walking with our kayaks is sometimes involved, because it’s inevitable to get stuck in the mud. And to complicate things more, the riverbed is infested with ray fish, with their sharp tails full of poison, which can be very painful.

We try to camp high on top of the gullies where the mud is dry, but the challenge is to find a landing with as little mud as possible, or else that night it’s muddy feet inside the tent!

Next part, the Bermejo River and its animal kingdom.


THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2009

Hello everyone and sorry for the long absence but there haven’t been many places on the way with internet. After 21 days, we’ve arrived in Colorado in the province of Formosa.

We had left you in Orán, almost at the end of the bike stage and very close to the water. We’ll close this first stage telling you that the short stretch to Aguas Blancas resulted in a real ordeal, far more difficult and challenging than all the 620 km that we had already done. On our last day in Orán, we bought supplies for the first 10 days on the river and really loaded those carts with the idea of “easily” pedaling to Aguas Blancas non-stop, approximately 55 km. Big mistake: temperatures of 40°C, steep slopes, an impossible road with no food anywhere. We had to resort to cereal bars and nougat candies in order to make the last climb of the day, at a very slow pace, almost falling off the bikes. Drama apart, the last part was downhill all the way. We arrived famished and had steak, French fries and eggs at 5:00 in the afternoon.

The second stage would begin the next day, with the kayaks in the water. We sold the carts to the boatmen who cross people over to Paraguay and we dispatched the bikes by land.

The great day arrived and the uncertainty was also great, because in the distance we could see the rocks in the river and we didn’t know if we were going to be able to pass through, but it was time to face the water.

We’re going to divide the Bermejo stage in three parts or else we’ll be here for a year. In this part we’ll tell you some local stories where you’ll be able to find out about the dynamic of the river, the flora and the fauna, the people and our rowing day by day.

In all and up to date, we’ve been rowing for 21 days, averaging 60 km per day at a speed of 10 km per hour. The current is strong. We row 6 hours because the days are short. The sun rises late and sundown comes early. We start off at 10.30, stop at around 1.00 and row the last 30 km of the day from 3.00 to 6.00. Obviously we sometimes stop to take pictures, to just fool around, making rolls here and there just for fun. We’re really enjoying the Río Bermejo. We plan to be in Pilar (Paraguay) in about 7 days.

Thanks for being there!



Not much time has passed and not many things have happened, but we’ve done various kilometers towards our goal of the moment, which is reaching the water. We’re now in Orán, 50 km from the Bermejo River. From what we’ve seen in other rivers along the way, we have ahead of us gullies, ravines, floating branches, muddy waters and lots of sand.

The landscape of the river banks is very nice, but Orán is the city where the first cases of dengue were reported. The mosquitoes have diminished, but at night we still take refuge under our giant mosquito net.

We had to stop two days because of heavy rains and this made it impossible for us to visit the Calilegua National Park, as was our intention. The roads became difficult, to say the least, and our good humor was put to the test, but our goal to reach the water prevailed.

Once we left San Martín, the territory of the Ledesma Corporation which exploits the sugarcane industry in the area, everything started to change: the rains stopped, the toucans and hundreds of other birds started appearing and of course… the sugarcanes.

The first part, the biking stage, is almost complete. We put all our energies into it and achieved our goal in 11 days, making better progress everyday. We’re in top shape, preparing to rest our legs for a long time and to fortify our shoulders and arms.

The balance of the first part of our crossing is more than positive, it presented us with more things than we were expecting and luckily we have everything documented. Now come the waters, and we will not be communicated for a time. Take a rest because we will be lost in the jungle forest for a month, fishing, rowing and rowing some more.

See you next time, but we don’t know from where!


SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2009

We had left you in Humahuaca. Some days have gone by and pedaling smoothly we’ve arrived to Calilegua.

There is a strong environmental movement by the Calilegua National Park of the province of Jujuy to preserve the tropical yunga forests (the yunga is the typical local vegetation). The deforestation of the yungas by the large corporations that operate in the area is a serious ecological problem.

We left Humahuaca and decided to head towards Hornillos, always climbing and pedaling against the wind. The good thing is that the only building we found was a museum of an old Hornillos sentry post and a resting site of national heroes and provincial caudillos (leaders). We were warmly received and were not only given a personalized tour, but were permitted to camp in the backyard of the museum under very old espinillos (the espinillo is a local variety) and carob trees.

The pathway leading to the archaeological site was spectacular but very steep, and we almost had to stay and sleep over because the night surprised us and we couldn’t find our way down.

The route to Jujuy was mostly descending. We were amazed by the change of scenery and temperature variations. Having left the cardones (giant cactus) behind, we slowly started entering the jungle forest and climbing the hills over hallucinating roads. If you come this way, be sure to travel the road from Zapla to La Mendieta. You won’t regret it.

Everywhere we go, we are welcomed by kind and warm people. In La Mendieta, we were received by the mayor and were allowed to sleep inside the Municipal building, which avoided our sleeping inside the tent under a terrible storm. We thank Mr. Guerra and all the other wonderful people at La Mendieta for their hospitality and a delicious dinner.

From La Mendieta, on our way to Calilegua, we were always accompanied by the sugar cane plantations. We’re now in dengue territory. The dengue is a mosquito-born disease which is widely spread in this part of the country, and the only precaution possible is loads of repellent.

Tomorrow we leave for Pichanal. We’re anxious to reach the Bermejo River, to get into our kayaks and to start paddling, but this symbolic stage on our bikes has exceeded all expectations. Upon arrival to the jungle forest, we were greeted by a giant toucan that with no doubt was asking itself what we were doing there. And, we’re very glad to say, the kayak is no longer an unknown item in these parts.

We’ll see you again during our last stop on dry land before hitting the water.

Regards to all and again, thanks for following our project.



Hi everyone! This afternoon we reached the Quebrada de Humahuaca. Impossible to summarize everything that’s already happening on the way, but we’ll try.

We left La Quiaca on Sunday at noon after a breakfast of cheese pies and caffé-latte (sounds very “Starbuck’s” but it’s a very common part of breakfast in Argentina). As promised, after having our picture taken under the La Quiaca-Ushuaia signpost, we headed for the road. You can’t imagine people’s faces when they saw the kayaks; nobody understood anything, since there is no water for miles around. We now have a new motto: “As useless as a kayak in La Quiaca.”

Our little “whim” is starting to turn into a reality and, tugging 120 kilos behind us, we’re passing through hills, plains, climbing and descending. We’ve pedaled for three days. The first two days to reach Puesto del Marqués and from there on to Tres Cruces have been extremely hard: 100 km (kilometers) reaching an altitude of 3800 m (meters).

We’re stopping every 5 km to recover our breath, slowly improving our rhythm, but the weight doesn’t allow us to go over 20 km/hour on the flat parts of the road. We’ll probably average 50/60 km per day, except today that, in some sections, the road to Humahuaca let us descend at 70 km/hour. A little crazy, but fun.

The landscape is incredible, and one can’t believe that all the beautiful, old train stations that you see along the way are closed down, since trains haven’t run through this part of the country for a long time. Being on bikes has allowed us to stop at places that were once prosperous and full of people, but because of the lack of transportation, are now ghost towns. Everyone talks of the old days, when the train would come through and there was work in the mines. There are totally abandoned houses on sale in towns such as Tres Cruces, with populations of less than 300. Sad things such as these coexist with all the other wonderful things that we’ve seen.

There is so much diversity in a few miles, that it’s unbelievable and breathtaking: ravines covered with cactus, hills of different colors, and on the bike you can take in the view much better. Sometimes we’ll just stop on the side of the road and look at the landscape for a good while before going on. In every stop, we chat with the local people, and that’s also something that we enjoy, so many stories and different realities.

Tomorrow we head for Tilcara. So far, everything is going well and as planned, with some small details to sort out, but fine.

Thanks for all the messages and for being there!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hello everyone, after a long road trip for us and the kayaks, we’ve finally arrived to La Quiaca, the most northern city in Argentina, at an altitude of 3700 meters. We will have to recover red blood cells; during the first day here the altitude has worn us out.

There’s a constant flow of people passing through our hostel on their way to Bolivia and touring La Quiaca, Yavi and Villazón on bikes.

We’ve seen the landscape of the first part of our journey, and it seems Salta and Jujuy will not be easy on us, but the scenery will be incredible. To manage our bicycles in the heights will be hard alone, not to mention the tugging along of the kayak carts, but we have coordinated the logistics for a progressive and smooth rhythm of travel.

Those of you who have been here have already experienced the peace and quiet everywhere, the good vibes and the hospitality of the local people. And for those who have not yet come, we invite you to visit Northern Argentina, an experience you will cherish and remember.

Things we like that we’ve seen on the way: the adobe brick houses, the llamas and vicuñas pasturing on the hillsides, the snow-peaked hills, the peace and the simplicity of it all.

We’re heading for Humahuaca, but before leaving, we’ll have our picture taken under the famous “La Quiaca-Ushuaia” signpost, a symbol of our project.

Follow us / Waypoints of this trip.

Our logo. From North to South, the local wildlife representing our destinations.