Originally Published March 8th 2018 for trip 2017-18,
Edited November 3rd 2020
This trip I brought too many rods for trout fishing. I carried a 5/6 switch and a 5 wt nymph rod that I never used so my Winston 9 foot 6 weight BXIII did all the work. The Winston was good in the wind, cast the lighter streamers, and nymph rigs with indicators, a great all around rod. A softer 4 or 5 weight to play fish was on my wish list.
Remember it’s a good idea to have a backup rod and in case you have to make an insurance claim photograph everything before you leave on the trip.
My 9’4 piece rod tube fits into a large suitcase so there is no need for separate rod case luggage. This is a reminder for the future to get all my rods into a suitcase, rods have to be 9′ or less and come in 4 pieces, if they are longer than 9′ then they will have to be in 5 or 6 pieces to fit. The benefits if everything is in a suitcase is that no one can see your stuff, it’s easier to keep things organized and keep track of, there is less risk of accident, 30 inch hard plastic suitcases with wheels are easier to move around and they cost a lot less to bring on airplanes. You can buy a well build large hard plastic suitcases for 100 to 150 dollars on Amazon.
November 2020 update. My feelings now are that if I ever get to make a trip like this again these are the rods I will bring; 9′ 5 weight Winston Air, 9′ 6 weight Winston BXIII, 9′ 7 weight Winston BXIII, and the Meiser 11’3″ trout spey with both the Skagit and Scandi Heads and if I want to cheat a little I will buy and bring a Santiam Fishing Rod. Santiam makes long travel spinning and center pin rods in 4 to 6 pieces that will fit in my 30″ suitcase which will be great for exploring larger rivers.
Villa Manihuales is found at the confluence of the Rio Niriguao and the Rio Manihuales.
Villa Manihuales has a population of 3000 inhabitants. The primary income-generating activities of the area are mining, ecotourism, sport fishing, secondary activities include logging, dairy, farming, and livestock.
The town is located along the Carretera Austral which is also called the Ruta del Los Parques and is close to the cities of Puerto Aysen and Coyhaique in the region of Aysen Patagonia.
I found it a peaceful small town with plenty of markets, restaurants, hostels, cafes, and two great little parks. Backpackers, campers, and touring bicycle adventurers plus the usual auto and bus tourists are everywhere in February. The town’s cell service is 4G and first-class plus the hostels in town have fast WiFi.
January can be rainy but in February the weather starts to improve but both months are notoriously windy. In March the weather moderates, the wind eases, and for fly fishermen, the hopper season hits high gear. Hoppers, Chernobyl Ants and Foam Beetles, and Attractors are in order plus anything else you can cast because the trout are hungry and will eat anything.
The Rio Manihuales at Villa Manihuales is the upper course of the river, it is not a white water flow here but it does run fast and deep. The Rio Manihuales is not the largest river in Patagonia but it has a moves and is cold, clean, and has healthy populations of Rainbow and Brown Trout plus runs of King Salmon. Its tributaries are the Rio Picaflor and the Rio Nirehuao and the Rio Manihuales itself is a tributary of the Rio Aysen.
There is no one on the river but me, and there are miles and miles of water all to myself. I have not found many posts on Facebook or in Web searches about fishing the Rio Manihuales which makes it good for me as there are lots of uneducated and trusting trout. The river has runs King Salmon and very large trout but I had to look for them. I found plenty of access and no one seemed to mind if I crossed through their property as I always closed the cattle gates on the trails. The river can be wide so I needed to be able to fly cast for a distance which not my strong point, and there is the wind in January and February, sometimes lots of it, but I hear it lessens in March and April. Despite all this, I managed to land large fish.
My Guide working. I hooked a rather large trout in this lagoon and it fled for the bottom like a rocket and then hid under a submerged tree. Federico swam for it but we didn’t retrieve the fish or the Fat Albert. The picture of me is with one that I managed to hook.
The Parque Lavadoras is large for such a small town. It has gentle trails wandering through the park with pleasant views and benches to enjoy them while sitting. The lower section has custom wooden toy rides for the children and gazebos in case of inclement weather. The park is named because there is a small rill or creek running through it. In the past the washerwomen of the town came to do laundry, scrubbing the clothing in the stream and then hanging it on the trees in the park. One Sunday I was lucky to have been there to watch a performance art piece, that is where the picture up top is from. I also took a video and it is posted below. Here are the credits.
This is an iPhone movie that I made that Sunday afternoon.
I gained an understanding of why the park is named as it is. The performance art was about the spirit of the washerwomen, las lavenderas, who used to work along the stream that runs down from the mountains and through the park.
I was in Bogota Columbia and had just ordered my lunch at the Albahaca Restaurante, it was 1 PM Thursday, March 19th. While I was waiting for my food I took out my cell and opened the NY Times app which headlined the US government advised that all US Citizens should return home immediately or be prepared to stay where they were overseas indefinitely. Wow! Next, I called my friend Marc who works in the American consulate in Juarez Mexico and asked him what was happening and his only answer was for me to leave immediately for home.
My original return flight back to New York was on April 7 with American Airlines. When I called AA to re-book the flight I went right into a hold and when I tried their website it was not functioning. Chase Travel who booked a flight for me put me on indefinite hold also and was not much help either.
What am I supposed to do, wait?
<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">It was at 2 PM when I searched for online return flights and bought a new ticket on the Copa Airlines website for a flight out a 9 PM that night. I quickly packed, I just threw everything in the suitcase, and grabbed a cab to the Bogota Airport, I made it to the airport by 3 PM, six hours later my flight left on time, the stopover was in Panama City, the next morning I flew to JFK; all the flights were uneventful.It was at 2 PM when I searched for online return flights and bought a new ticket on the Copa Airlines website for a flight out a 9 PM that night. I quickly packed, I just threw everything in the suitcase, and grabbed a cab to the Bogota Airport, I made it to the airport by 3 PM, six hours later my flight left on time, the stopover was in Panama City, the next morning I flew to JFK; all the flights were uneventful.
It was smart to move that fast and I was very lucky to make it home before everything shut down. From my understanding, the Bogota airport closed Thursday, March 19th at midnight which was three hours after I departed. JFK closed March 20th.
My travel insurance company will not pay for anything, not the new return flight home, not for the Bogota rent that I paid in advance, nor the food I left in the refrigerator in Bogota, nada nothing. American Airlines told me yesterday April 18, 2020, that they will refund me 15 dollars for the canceled return flight from Bogota to Miami to JFK which originally cost over eight hundred dollars.
The point is that for 2 days I had to completely rely on myself with no support or assistance from any of the airlines, travel agents, backup or insurance systems I had in place. I paid through the nose for everything and when push comes to shove the people I engaged and who were supposed to look out or assist me did not answer the phone.
<p class="has-text-align-center" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><strong>From the New York Times on March 19, 2020. Should I stay or should I go?</strong>From the New York Times on March 19, 2020. Should I stay or should I go?
Note, eventually my return ticket on American Airlines was refunded to me.
Heading back to Bogota on Tuesday morning, it’s a 8 to 10-hour bus trip through the mountains and the suburbs of the city. There is more to do in Bogota than in the campo especially if I am not fishing. I also want more Spanish tutoring, even though it’s expensive it does help my confidence with the language. Additionally, in Bogota, I am better able to manage my diet as there are more restaurants and markets with healthier food, I am limited to tourist fare here in Salento.
Valle de Corcora; The creeks and streams are running clear up in the mountains even with all the heavy rains. The steep mountains are forested or grassy, and although there are places where there are cattle herds, the streams run clean
I have noticed here in Salento in the Department of Quindio, Colombia, that there are many small properties with well maintained barbed wire fences between them, which gives me pause. I have not found that in Chilean Patagonia. Properties there are much larger, and the barb wire fences maintained with only a couple of wires that are easy to slip through. In this area of Colombia, the locals are catching the trout to sell to the restaurants.
My stomach has settled down, it makes life so much easier when I do not have to be located near a head.
I am lining up my to-do’s when I arrive in Chile. Hopefully, my Entel Telephone SIM card will still work, and I only have to add data to get the phone up and running. I also need to buy a fishing license. In the past, I purchased my fishing license in Puerto Montt, at the main commercial and sport fishing office; buying a license in Coyhaique will be a new experience. It was easier.
I am still trying to rent a car, and I found a few very good prices. It would be a great advantage for a week or two when exploring and looking for Chinook in Aysen Provence.
None of my Facebook friends in Coyhaique will tell me where they catch salmon. They post impressive pictures with great stories of the humongous fish they caught, but when I ask “WHERE,” I get nada, nothing, totally ignored, they are guides after all. You know me and my where’s, “where did you catch that”? Next winter, I will stay upstate for the winter, or most of it, and I will try and get a guide’s license. It would be great to guide on the Pepacton and its tributaries for bass and trout. What do you think?
I have been in Bogotá now for nearly four weeks. I would have left five days ago, but the national strike and a severe cold persuaded me to put it off for a few more days. I leave tomorrow for Cali. I changed AirBnB a few days ago, and my new hosts, Claudia and Jairo, have been Saints. When I arrived at the new place, all I wanted to do was sleep, and I could not think about my food. I’d be in bed with the covers piled high when the tap would come on the door and invited to a meal. Claudia and Jairo Have been feeding me three meals a day. Of course, I contributed to the cost.
Last Thursday, there were large protests here in Bogota. I did not go out that day, which I attributed more to my cold than to fear, but I did hear marchers and pot banging in the distance. This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the city has been tranquil, most of the shops closed early, and there have been police curfews at night. What is happening here is not like the marches, protests, and riots I have seen on the news occurring in Chile. I am concerned and a bit uncomfortable about my imminent visit to Chile even though my friends in Coyhaique assure me that all is quiet.
The bus trip to Cali should take about 10 hours even though it’s only 200 miles. To go to the airport is such a pain, why not take a bus. By bus, I can see the countryside, travel through the mountains, and meet new people. Why not? I will report back on Tuesday.
I strongly suggest that voyagers use travel insurance. The policies I purchased have paid for themselves a couple of times on past trips. Travel Insurance makes life much less stressful. If you happen to get sick or hurt, they could save your life or even a small fortune. If your flight is delayed or canceled, you will be covered for additional charges, delays, meals, and hotel rooms. Remember to keep every single receipt; copy them on your cell phone scanner app.
Today I bought the American Airlines roundtrip New York JFK to Bogota, Colombia. The flight leaves October 30 and returns April 7, 2020. The next chore is to buy the Bogota to Santiago Chile ticket leaving around January 1 and returning March 31. My travel dates do not take more than 90 days in either country, and I preclude the need for a visa.
The one ticket is now two. I purchased the second round trip ticket going from Bogota to Santiago, Chile. I also made an Airbnb reservation in Bogota for the first two weeks. After that, my plans are not entirely fleshed out, but I intend to go to Cali and spend at least two weeks, if not a month, learning Spanish and Salsa there. That leaves two weeks to float somewhere else before I fly to Chile.
I am considering not flying from Santiago to Balmaceda / Coyhaique Airport. It would be nicer to arrive at Santiago Airport, then take a taxi to the bus station, catch the overnight bus to Puerto Montt, then take the Naviera Austral ferry to Puerto Chacabuco and a short bus ride to Coyhaique. This trip will take a few days, but why fly when I can enjoy the scenery and fellowship on the boat. Today I reviewed the cost of a round trip flight from Santiago to Balmaceda, and it turned out to be about 200 bucks round trip; going overland would cost me twice that. As long as the Latham Airline doesn’t charge a fortune for luggage, this is a better option.
I had been fantasizing about this canoe trip for some time. I do not know where the idea came from, but the paddle is an 8 to 9-day float down the Missouri River from Coal Banks Landing to Kipp Recreation Area in Montana for a total of 105 miles.
When I drove from Roxbury NY to Santa Cruz CA at the beginning of the May I brought my canoe with me, it is a 2003 17ft, Wenonah Voyager Graphite Ultra-Light (30 lbs) Performance Touring single seat glider.
Graphite Ultra-light 33lbs. $3,249 USD
Ultra-light hulls are stiff and incredibly light. They are ideal for speed and distance paddling and for all people or conditions that demand the lightest gear. In our Ultra-light construction a structural-foam core and ribs are laminated into the hull and sides. We also add extra fabric layers to strengthen specific targeted areas. Aluminum plates are strategically laminated into the hull. Seats, footbraces, and all hardware is then riveted into these plates. This gives a very secure connection and eliminates rivet heads on the exterior. A Graphite Ultra-light canoe is made the same way as an Ultra-light with Kevlar®, but with Graphite as the outer layer. It’s ideal for paddlers desiring more stiffness in their composite canoe. Graphite transfers energy better than any of our other materials, which makes these the most crisp paddling canoes. The aesthetic appeal of a black Graphite canoe is also undeniable.
Graphite Ultra-light canoe shown with Standard Options, may not be the Voyager.
Same after the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument.
Here is the packing list that I used as a template from a guide found in Backpacker, or was it REI?
Planning a paddle-camping vacation by canoe? Our comprehensive checklist includes required and optional gear, clothing, accessories and more.
Paddle (1 per paddler)
Personal flotation device (1 per paddler)
Extra PFD (nope)
Knee pads (do not need)
Yoke (with pads)(do not need)
Dry bags (for gear organization)
Spray covers (do not need)
Weather/VHF radio (do not need)
Signaling devices (whistle)
Float bags (nope)
Matches/lighter/fire starter in a waterproof container
Knife or multitool
Two-way radios (do not need as I am alone)
Cell phone in a protective bag
iPad in its own bag
Headlamp or flashlight (with extra batteries)
First-aid supplies (see our First-Aid Checklist)
Sunglasses and reading glasses
Water bottles (filled) 8 gallons of water
Water treatment method (backup) bringing my own water but I will also take a filter)
Energy food (bars, gels, trail mix)
Beverages or powdered drinks, lots of instant coffee, Splenda, and creamer
Camping Tent and tarp
Sleeping bag and liner
Meals and snacks
Stove and fuel
Cookset and utensils
Dishes, bowls and cups
Insect repellent (plus head net, if needed)
Toilet paper and Restop Solid and Liquid Waste Bag
Trip itinerary left with friend + under car seat
Paddling gloves or pogies
Bandana or buff
Wool/synthetic cap or balaclava
Shorts or convertible pants
Sun-shielding shirt (long sleeves) and pants
Rainwear (jacket and pants)
Synthetic vest or jacket (for insulation)
Sealant (such as Aquaseal)
Bailing wire (copper, small roll)
Nylon cord (or bungee cords)
The trip was fantastic! I finished canoeing from Coal Banks to Kipp Landing in 7 days with 2 layover days at Gist Bottom. Up until Gist Bottom I did not see a single person, it was a truly amazing wilderness trip. The paddling was not difficult until the last day and a half when the river widened and the current slacked off. The wind was blowing hard and usually started at 10 or 11 in the morning. Today there was a head wind coming from the east and it did make for difficulty paddling but the canoe was loaded and the extra weight made it easier to keep the boat on track.
I saw 2 herds of Bighorn Sheep – Ovis canadensis along the banks but did not get pictures of them and there were more Bald Eagles – Haliaeetus leucocephalus and Golden Eagles – Aquila chrysaetos than I could count. I paddled alongside a little Swift Fox – Vulpes velox, who ignored me completely and acted as if I was not there. There were lots of American White Pelican – Pelecanus erythrorhynchos. There are what I remembered and can identify but there was so much more to be seen. The Eastern Cottonwood – Populus deltoides were seeding and at times it was as if it were snowing.
I did not plan well for the food and meals, my diet was very simple, I had oatmeal for breakfast, tuna and more tuna for lunch, ramen, and prepared camping meals for dinner when I had the energy to cook.
As of November 1, 2021, the requirements to register one’s phone with a local SIM card in Chile has changed. Here is the webpage you need to look at in Google Chrome with the Spanish to English translate on in settings.
Getting a temporary cell phone number in Chile is a chore. I have quickly bought a prepaid local Chilean sim card chip, but this year I had to register my phone with a government agency before being allowed to get a Chilean chip and number. The process was complicated, but I managed to get through it. I heard before I left in March 2018 that the registration process has changed and become more straightforward. The registration process is something you must work on before going. You do not want to be without your phone and a data connection
Here is the last link I have used, October 2017, to register my American phone, it worked.
Where you will fill out under remote the certification application and then IMEI on your phone at the bottom of the page.
Es claro, si?
If you want I will walk you through the registration for a 7 weight 9′ 4 piece Winston BXlll? Porque, pregunta mi en website.
I live and die with my cell phone, it is my best friend and connection to the world! The cell phone provides local telecom and internet service. Know how to use it and make sure it has a large readable screen.
Check out T Mobile plans before you leave as they have international coverage for phone and data in Chile!
After you register your American cell phone you purchase a SIM card at a local Entel office, I highly recommend Entel. The sim only costs a couple of bucks. Insert the card in your phone then restart the phone. Save the sim from the USA for when you return home, to save it safely I tape it to the inside back of my Otterbox iPhone protective case. Then go to a local pharmacy and ask for recharge, spend 15,000 Chilenos, show them the local phone number that you just got from the Entel carrier, and they will charge up your account. How often you have to recharge the card/account depends on how much you use the phone and data, 15,000 Chilenos should last a week or two.
I have a Skype account for my phone calls home, it’s inexpensive. The cost for international calls is what Skype charges per minute plus what the local data plan charges you per minute, that’s if you want to phone home.
Another option to call internationally is WhatApp which is a Facebook owned app. With WhatsApp on your cell phone you can call friends for free who also have the app on their phone.
If you have an Apple iPhone you can also use Apple FaceTime and make international calls for free to those who also have iPhones.
Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot, do not forget pneumonia if you are older. When you get these shots, be sure to have them recorded on the Yellow Card provided by the World Health Organization; see International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. The card for Yellow Fever, but you never know when you might travel to a country where that disease is present and you might need to get the shot before you go.
The US Center for Disease Control has vaccine recommendations, so take a look and decide if you want them.
Always wash your hands, wash your veggies, and all fruit before eating or cooking. Some people rinse the veggies in a chlorine sterilant that can be bought in the vegetable department of the Supermercado.
Like in the USA, do not drink water from rivers, streams, and lakes, but the city and town tap water is OK. If you must drink from wilderness sources, be sure to bring the water to a boil to sterilize it or use water filters or sterilant drops to purify it.
Update on January 22, 2021. I will be getting my first Covid vaccination shot next week and the second a month later. I intend to ask for and keep a paper record. When I next travel internationally, proof may be required to enter a foreign country or even return to the USA.