Where in the World is…Derik Pritchett?

By in Futaleufu, Guides, Travel Comments Off on Where in the World is…Derik Pritchett?

At the end of an incredible Futa 2017 – 2018 season, I had the opportunity to join Jorge Esquivel on a rally in his beloved Toyota Landcruiser, “Chunche”, from Esquel in Southern Argentina to Salta for a couple weeks. Along for the ride were Grace McCutcheon (from ROAM Outfitters) and Tam Jackson. What a trip!! From the Asados with friends, wild camping, and eventually to visiting owner (and Bio Bio guide) of Valsecchi Wines, Diego Valsecchi. We got to see him work his magic with his vineyards in Cafayate, keeping the amazing reputation and tradition of delicious Argentine wines. It was a perfect journey to cap off a stellar river season in South America.

Once back in the States, I felt like I needed a bit of a readjustment period before totally falling back into the North American pulse of life, which it did not take long to find some more adventure, great food, and MUSIC in New Orleans!

Most recently I was lucky enough to run a trip with Jenner Fox, Elena Louder, Lorenzo Alvarez Roos (Bio Bio Co-founder), and legendary Bio Bio guide Kipchoge Spencer on the much sought after Illinois River in Oregon! This was yet another incredible experience with river family and friends, and of course with incredible music from Kipchoge and Jenner.



I brewed my first batch of Fu Brew Ginger Beard (beer)!

For the Present???? I am living in Hood River, Oregon, enjoying the wind, mountain bike trails, and looking forward to lots of great activities and work opportunities this summer such as:
…Riding all the incredible mountain biking trails around Oregon
…Brewing beer with the FU BREW Brewing maestro Jakob Foley in Northern California
…Possibly hiking the Oregon Coast Trail
…Working with Bio Bio guide Diego Ibanez in his first ever North American Season!!!!!!!!!
…Sitting in the A/C of a movie Theatre watching a Summer Blockbuster
…Playing music!
…Finally learning how to kayak!…maybe…Anyone wanna watch me swim?

I would say that one idea/thought/thing that I am most looking forward to and am seeking help/advice/insight to would be my continuous pursuit to try and become a better steward to the Rivers. They keep me sane and bring so much joy and growth into my life. While I am in no way a professional at advocacy, and am still trying to figure out where to really start, it is a goal that I honestly do not know much about. But, I’m super stoked to be getting into the arena, finding ways to help, or even help others find their way to the Water to see what it can do for them.

This coming Fall, I hope join one of our super guides, Stanford Ricketts, on a Kilimanjaro expedition for Bio Bio Expeditions!  Afterwards, I can bounce to the Zambezi to help the Bio Bio team on another incredible Zambezi Explorer experience!

After that? Hopefully back to Peru for more River time, trekking, and spanish practice before traveling back down to the Mighty Futaleufu River for another beautiful season!

Fishing Report from Futa (post-volcano)

By in Futaleufu Comments Off on Fishing Report from Futa (post-volcano)

For those of you interested in how the Chaiten Volcano eruption (in May,
2008) has affected fishing on the Futaleufu, read on for the
perspective of our guide Alex Obregon who was in Futa in February…….

Ahhh Futa, so much fun. The river is running low, great fishing flow!
I didn’t have all that much time but managed to fish a good deal, my
heart is content. You were right, the fishing is great! Fish in
front of camp (good), on the Island (good, small), Puerto Ramirez (fun),
magic carpet rapid (abundant, hit them like a sniper!), Inferno Canyon
(the challenge), El Limite (the border – clear water, lots of fish), El
Rio Azul (not rated) and the Seno Muerto Lake (beautiful). Some spots better than others but man…so fun.
There is an abundant and healthy bug population, caddis, mayflies,
stoneflies, dragon flies, damsel flies…the list goes on…basically
all good signs of the good health of the water’s ecosystem.
The visibility of the water is not quite the same as before, but the
color is just as dramatic – it picks up hues of turquoise more like the
Azul. The fish are not as easy to spot, but with good polarized aid
and a bit of “know where to” look, you will find them.
The section of El Limite (the border) is still crystal clear water,
there are lots of fish up there. Some say that the fish from the
Espolon got out and headed upstream, concentrating on that short
section. Dry fly fun everywhere. The take out not so easy, right at
the eddy above that “mini zeta” rapid under the Puente Robert…long
haul with the gear to the road.
In front of camp you can go out and catch an early morning Trucha
(rainbow trout) just before breakfast, while the Yogis stretch their
muscles…or… At the end of the day a happy hour hunt down by the
Island and come back just in time for dinner. Heading downstream to Magic Carpet rapid for a little kayak surf…and fish…
This is more laid back fishing (that is after negotiating the
whitewater that guards the pool). After a couple of magic carpet rides
(hopefully without getting whirlpooled) I sat on a warm rock
overlooking the eddy, while in it, the food spins around and
around…and with it comes the target…rainbows that feed carelessly
unaware, like riding on a carousel. Much like a sniper, pick your
target and put your fly out there…all is left are a few seconds of
suspense and zaz! Set your hook! Play your fish, loading the synergy of
the rod until your fish jumps out of the water to throw some aerial
moves…we could make a fish rodeo…what you think about that..!
Puerto Ramirez is a really beautiful section of water. I especially
like that turn behind the Island in front of the beach we once camped
at. The water here is almost still and also holds the clear color. So
calm you can spot any action breaking the surface from one corner of the
Island to the other…peaceful!
I think that my favorite venture was into the Seno Muerto Lake, that
little one next to Lake Lonconao. Dude, it is amazing the color of the
water. It has a shallow section about 3-4 feet deep that extends from
the shoreline like a white rim some 20-30 feet, and then drops
dramatically into the deep blue, disappearing underneath you in between
logs and old trees that have fallen down through time and now serve as
shelter for rainbows and browns…the latter more conservative,
shy…perhaps smarter…bigger…I only caught the not so smart ones…
When you look down into the water it feels as if one is diving under,
trying to find the bottom of the lake with the fish…like an aquarium.
I wanted to share my fishing with you, I know its long and boring, more
boring than fishing itself you might think…but when and if someone
asks you about the fishing on the Fu, post volcano eruption, you will
have more to tell them… I
am very happy I went and I am even happier we are going back, the place
is great! I wouldn’t say that there is no ash, but after you are in
the town of Futa, you come back to the Bio Bio camp in the sector Azul
and it feels like the oasis it has always been, now more so. I uploaded some pictures of the fishing adventure under “Fish Report”, check them out. …Alex…

Save Patagonia’s Rivers

By in Futaleufu Comments Off on Save Patagonia’s Rivers

Hello friends of Bio Bio Expeditions!
Damara here – just wanting to
share some information with you about the threats facing the mighty
rivers of Patagonia (including our beloved Futaleufu). If you traveled
to the Futa with us last winter you may remember the environmental
letter I encouraged everyone to sign? Well, at the end of the season, I
sent off more than 60 letters to the President of Chile – Michelle
Bachelet. Two months later I received a formal response from the
President’s Cabinet thanking me (and all of you) for our concern and
assuring me that our concerns would be considered and sent through the
proper channels. Later in the summer I received another letter from the
President’s cabinet (see photo) also reassuring me that any hydro or
mining projects on the Futaleufu would go under rigorous study first and
that our comments would be considered. Both were very formal letters,
no promises, but I was quite pleased and impressed to have received a
response. So, thank you to all who helped me and signed a letter!!!
In other news, here are two websites you can click on to do your part
to save the beautiful, mighty rivers and forests of Patagonia. Both
the Pascua and Baker rivers, south of Futaleufu, are very threatened
right now. The power transmission lines they would have to build to
transport power from these massive dams would involve clearcutting a 400
foot wide swath (football field size) through pristine forest for
thousands of miles. You can read more about it, and send comments just
with the click of a mouse, at the following websites:


you loved it down there as much as we do, please take a moment to read
about the issues and take action! If you haven’t yet traveled to
Patagonia, now’s the time! Lets show the Chilean government that
tourism and adventure travel is a better alternative for Patagonia than
destructive mines and dams. Thanks everyone and hope you have a very
Happy Thanksgiving!
Love, Damara

The Futaleufu bounces back from a near miss!

By in Futaleufu Comments Off on The Futaleufu bounces back from a near miss!

Dear friends,

We are so thankful for all the outpouring of
support during the Volcan Chaiten eruption and just as thankful that our
camp and the Futaleufu have been spared! The financial contributions
that we have collected will still make life easier for the locals as
many sold off cattle and sheep to get them out of the area. The money
will also help them deal with fuel shortages and triple price hikes. We
are also studying a way to get the rio Azul residents a web page to
help visitors to the areas enlist their services in the future. Tourists
can then book such things as a home cooked Asado, a home stay, a hike
to hidden lakes, or horse rides etc. This will be a way to get passerby
visitors in touch with the Futaleufu locals and will allow them to make
money well into the future as soon as we all get the word out that the
Futaleufu is every bit as beautiful as ever! It is true that the heavy
winter rains have taken care of the ash fall. In many places the soil
has been actually enriched and this will help grow even healthier

The worst possible outcome for the locals now is
that visitors stay away due to sensationalist press, which would make
carving a living out of the wilderness even harder. They really are
working hard to provide services to the growing number of tourists and
this is for many the largest source of income. So, tell your friends how
great the Futaleufu is and that they should visit soon as much as ever

Again, thank you all for your concern, support and mindfulness!

Body and Soul Magazine

By in Futaleufu Comments Off on Body and Soul Magazine

Whole Living Body + Soul
March 2007
Pg. 101

A River Runs Through It

at BIO BIO EXPEDITION’s 10-day Patagonia retreat is all about going
with the flow. Hovering 50 feet above Chile’s Futaleufu River, the
open-air yoga platform at this adventure base camp offers spectacular
views of turquoise rapids backed by glaciated peaks. Twice-daily hatha
flow classes prep you for the next day’s rafting of fly-fishing trip,
while savasanas allow time for listening to the river rush by and
feeling the subequatorial sun on your face.

From Zambezi to the Futaleufu with Love!

By in Futaleufu Comments Off on From Zambezi to the Futaleufu with Love!

Greetings from the amazing south of
Chile! The Futaleufu is big and wild and the BBX camp looks better than
ever. The summer light pours into the windows of the pagoda where you
can sit with a book and watch the turquoise river flow by. The new
bathrooms with hot showers are five-star! Each platform now has a huge
African-style safari tent complete with beds, down comforters, and
Peruvian rugs. Speaking of Africa – we are delighted to announce that we
sponsored one of our best native-Zambezi guides with a trip to Chile.
Lovemore Kalinda, who until a couple days ago had never been on an
airplane, flew from South Africa to Bariloche, Argentina and had his
first kayak descent of the Futaleufu today. He is an excellent kayaker
and river guide, but this is the first river he has run besides the
mighty Zambezi. We are very happy to be able to provide this opportunity
to Lovemore and he will spend the next two months here on the Futa
kayaking, rafting, and working. Meanwhile, Sabine and Quinn (Laurence
and Marc’s offspring) are enjoying “playdates” Patagonia style. We
celebrated Quinn’s 1rst birthday on January 16th with lots of local
kids, a BBQ of hot dogs and hamburgers, and live music by Ken Kruger. It
was a wonderful celebration and we are truly enjoying watching the
kiddies play and explore in this beautiful place.

If you haven’t experienced the magic of BBX on the Futaleufu yet, there
is still room on the Feb. 11th, Feb. 18th, and March 4th trips. Call
Diana in the home office at (800) 246-7238 and we’ll see you down

Love, Damara, Marc, Laurence

Sourcing locally

By in Futaleufu Comments Off on Sourcing locally

Challenging to get to and even harder to leave, our
beloved Futaleufu River Valley is a paradise of self-sustaining natural bounty.
 We’ve made it an essential part of our
lifestyle here at Bio-Bio Expeditions;
to tap into the local abundance while re-using the goods we bring in from afar.

Here’s what we’re doing to use less, re-use more, and source as much as we can
from, as close as possible:

– The brainchild of our ever-resourceful South African river legend Stan
Ricketts, Stan makes yogurt daily with milk from cows just up the road.  Even more impressive, Stan’s first batch of
yogurt started with just one little single-serving yogurt cup (to get the biotic process of turning
milk into yogurt going) and local milk.  For each successive batch, Stan
uses a small portion of the previous day’s batch as a starter and then adds the
fresh, local milk.   At the end of the
season, even though we’ll have made and eaten gallons of yogurt, Stan will have
only used that one little plastic cup of yogurt to make a season’s worth of his
creamy goodness.  That’s a lot of plastic
yogurt cups and bags saved from going into our nearby landfill.  Stan’s delicious yogurt, along with our
homemade granola and fresh fruit, is an indispensable part of our daily
breakfast of champions.

– Diego Valsecchi, our Argentinian-Italian wine maker and class V guru,
recently procured half a cow from a ranch a mere 10 minute walk away from camp,
and butchered it himself.  Along with our
end-of-the trip traditional Patagonian asado that features all-day cooked
cordero and chancho (lamb and pig) from other nearby ranches, we’re proud and thankful
that more and more of our meat feeds on Futaleufu Valley grass and roams free
in our valley right before we get to enjoy it.

– Nelly and Ximena, the lovely ladies at the top of the hill who Lorenzo and
Marc bought the land from to build our camp on nearly 20 years ago, still bake
our bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – fresh every day.  Whether a whole grain breakfast loaf,
light-as-air lunch rolls, or their famous cinnamon buns, Nelly and Ximena’s
breads keep us fueled up for the day.

– All of our buildings in camp feature wood and stone from the plentiful
forests, river, and creeks that surround our camp.  With the Futaleufu River as our choice wood
sculptor, we’re keen driftwood collectors and the river’s finest pieces have
homes all over camp in furniture, fences, and buildings.

– If it’s green and we eat it here in Futa, you can bet that it either came
from our on-site garden or a thriving greenhouse belonging to one of our
fabulous kitchen staff.  It’s hard to
find a home in the Futaleufu Valley without a vegetable garden, and we’d be
silly not to use the nutritious and delicious herbs and lettuces grown right
here in the rich Futaleufu Valley soil, by default organic!

– Why sit on a cold wooden bench when you could lounge on a thick, cloud-like
sheepskin made from the hide and wool of local sheep?  When you pull up a bench by the fire or for
dinner, that’s the kind of luxury your derriere receives.  It’s also a rare day in Futa when you can’t
find a Bio Bio guide sporting wool clothing made by a local artisan who, with
hand-spun wool from their own sheep, sew beautiful hats, socks, vests,
sweaters, ponchos, and much more.

– We’re succeeding in turning all of our food waste back into food!  Our food waste is either composted into soil
to grow vegetables and herbs in our garden, or fed to our pigs housed in our
adjoining chacra (pigpen).  We’re trying not to get too
attached to our pigs as we’re looking forward to making homemade sausage and
bacon in the upcoming months.

– Lorenzo has tried for years to have our used bottles and cans taken to a
responsible recycling center but has yet to find a willing recycler who will
travel from Futaleufu to mainland Chile, where recycling does happen!  Instead of sending our bottles and cans to the
local landfill, we’ve built the walls of our onsite brewery out of beer cans
(the more you drink the faster we build!).  And, we recently purchased a glasscutter and
are churning out candle and flower vases as well as cocktail and water glasses
from our used beer and wine bottles as fast as we can.

– If it seems as if it can’t get any better, we’re brewing the soon-to-be
world-famous FuBrew right here out of our brand new brewery with local
ingredients.  In the time it takes to
down an ice-cold mug of FuBrew in the hot Patagonian summer, we can deliver a
freshly brewed keg from our brewery to the tap at our riverside bar…that’s as good
as it gets!

We’re quite proud of what we’re doing to support local farmers, ranchers, and
craftsmen and women as well as our own creative efforts to make and re-use
everything we can.  Come see and taste it
all for yourself this summer (winter, in the Northern Hemisphere) at our luxurious
riverside camp on the one-and-only Futaleufu River in the heart of Patagonia!

-Cooper Freeman

The Proud, The Few, of the Futaleufu

By in Futaleufu Comments Off on The Proud, The Few, of the Futaleufu

For this past ‘Talent/No Talent Show’ at
the Bio Bio Expeditions camp on the Futaleufu River, the talented Mr. Rich Roberts graced us
with his documentation of his week via an ode to this special place
on the globe.  Paddle hard, smile and ENJOY!

The Proud, The Few, of the Futaleufu

By Rich RobertsFu Waters

Somewhere really faraway

Past Paraguay and Uruguay

We traveled for a venture stay

Way down the length of Argentine

And a mere cab ride into Chile.

We gather with folks we barely

To do those things that only the
Few (Fu)

Who have the guts, the courage
and the right guides can do

All in search of that perfect line…on
The Futaleufu.

We raided the shelves back home at
the REI

And had 6 hours of VET class everyday
– no lie

We gathered logs for the brew
house and then

We drank 40 more beers so the
walls won’t be thinDining Hall Fu Style

I raise my glass to BIO BIO for
putting this curse on us

To head back home now and bust
our ass to do what we must

Come back and rejoin The Proud
and the Few (FU)

Who have run that perfect line on
The Futaleufu.

We fished and rode horseback and
ate just like Kings

We hot tubbed and late partied
and took chances on swings

As strangers we gathered, we
depart now as friends

All bonded together by that means
to an end

That inner quest for the
challenge – The raw fear

The great fight – The hunger, The
need, to do what we do

In search of that perfect line…on
The Futaleufu.