Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thanks to the Protestors

Late last week the Chilean Government decided to go ahead with project to dam the Baker and another river for hydropower.  These are BIG rivers and will generate 3+ gigawatts of power.  All to be send north.  This was the spark that has set off protests over long lingering social issues in Patagonia:  lack of infrastructure, jobs, educational opportunities and health care.   Everything here basically has to come in via Port Aysen.  This is the choke point.  Protests and barricades started there and now are in Coyhaique.  Most is for show.  The protesters block the roads with fires.  All at night, of course, because a fire in the street at night is good theater.  Here in Coyhaique there hasn’t been any real violence.  The police are there in riot gear but often talking with the locals.  It is an inconvenience.  There is basically no fuel available.  Lines are long – n the km range – for the rationed fuel.  People leave their cars in line overnight.  It is making getting out to fish very hard!  

Yesterday I had less than a quarter of a tank when I started out.  With that little fuel I was very limited to where I could go.  I had one OK option so off we went.  About 5 km out of town, trucks were parked along both shoulders of the road, flying Chilean flags   It was a solidarity protest.  There were two police officers there but they were just standing around.  I’m not sure what would have happened if another truck had tried to “Run the Gantlet” but we drove through without any problem.  In another few km’s we were at the destination.

The river we fished was the one where I caught my first Chilean trout 5 years ago.  That year I went downstream because of an upstream gorge right at the bridge.  I haven’t fished it very much since then.  Two years ago my son Ethan and good – no best – friend Duane and I climbed above the gorge and looked down at it.  The consensus was if we could get up in there, the fishing might be good.  We forced our way in yesterday.

The fishing was good.  Not spectacular but good.  Good number of fish with a couple of Ok fish.  The day was fantastic.  There is something very special about pushing on into areas that few people chose to venture into.  For a lover of small streams and roads less traveled like me it is what fishing is all about.  It is more than just finding a new place to fish, it is feeding the your spirit and soul.  And the fishing was Ok.  Thank you protestors.  If fuel had not been a problem I would have never done it!


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