From the put-in in Puerto Fuy, the river flows out of a large lake and gradually builds up steam to a collection of class III and IV rapids. With our flows, everything was boat-scoutable and pool-drop.
Mike running the ledge I swam out of
Joe having himself a great Christmas
After a dozen good rapids, the Río Fuy pools up, then drops off the edge of the Earth. The waterfall section kicks off with a clean 30-footer, followed closely by four more smaller drops. This may be the best 500 meters of whitewater I´ve ever run.
Drop 1 - Salto La Leona: 30ft
The water was dead-calm approaching the lip, giving us plenty of time to line up exactly where we wanted. From the right bank, we could easily scout the line, which started off with a 5-foot slide into a flake that launched us out into a soft landing. At our flow, the drop was very flushy and most of the water we were landing in went right into an eddy on river right. Between the two days, we all had a variety of lines. I demonstrated my inability to boof out straight, both times turning sideways in the air and landing on edge. Still, I didn´t flip either time, which I attribute entirely to my boat. For a drop of this height, I can´t imagine it getting any easier or more forgiving.
Me at the top of La Leona with the second drop in the foreground
Mike in the runnout of the second drop
Drop 3: 10ft?
The third drop is really a low-angle slide that picks up plenty of speed before crashing through two big holes. It´s easily scoutable, and much steeper than it looks. Fortunately, with the speed you get coming down the tongue, the two holes aren´t a big deal. Still, this slide intimidated me into hiking out on the first run, mostly because it leads directly into drop 4. Alan and Zak still fired it up with a little chaos, but good runs.
Blue angels dropping in
Things get a little wild.....
But they keep it alive to the lip of drop 4
Drop 4: 10ft
This one isn´t easily scoutable or portageable, which is a shame considering the hole at the base of it. The lip is a uniform horseshoe shape and forms a massive hydraulic that I want nothing to do with. The line is to drive off the left corner and boof into the eddy, which isn´t too hard if you´re in the right spot.
The waterfalls from below, with the sticky fourth drop in the foreground
Drop 5: 15ft
Zak approaches the lip
Joe with another great run
On our Christmas run I was nervous, but excited for the third and fourth drops (which we all ran as one rapid without eddying out). But when I arrived in the eddy above the the slide, there was runaway gear downstream and I was the only one in my boat. I had to go. I took a moment to catch my breath and try to recall what everything looked like from the scout several days before. The gear kept going and I made chase, driving left down the slide. I bounced through the holes without incident and set my eyes on the weir downstream.
Me at the lip of the slide (drop 3)
I came up to the lip with plenty of speed, but my timing was off. I was forced to boof with the wrong blade, but everything still worked out and I paddled away hooting. I continued to chase the runaway boat through a hundred yards of boogey water when I suddenly found myself at another horizon line. I hopped out to give the last drop a quick scout, ran the obvious and easy line, and pushed the boat into an eddy shortly thereafter. In the rush, I wasn´t able to get many pictures myself, but the other guys came down behind me with cameras.
On the same run, Zak waited until we had all gone through so he could run the first four drops in sequence without stopping. He took a perfect line off the 30-footer that lined him up to finish off the next three without getting his head wet. This is truly an outstanding section of whitewater.