[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Adventure Magazine

Adventure Main | E-mail the Editors | Adventure Customer Service | Subscribe December 2003/January 2004

Expedition: Into the Altiplano
Dispatch 1
La Portada, the 250-foot stone arch that serves as the entryway to the Chilean coast town of Antofagasta, is even more awe-inspiring when seen from the seat of a kayak. With seas roiled by backwash as 15-foot ocean swells slam into the arch and the tall, whitewashed cliffs that border the coastline, we kayak as close as we can to what is perhaps Chile's best-known piece of geography. Every 10 seconds I lose sight of my teammates in the heaving swell and foaming whitecaps.

Our six-week-long adventure has begun here, at sea level. Within a few days we'll find ourselves nearly 20,000 feet above, in the high, dry Altiplano. We'll first make a big loop through the high desert, moving across Chile and into Argentina before heading north into the salt flats and silver country of Bolivia. Along the way we'll look for the one thing that this, the driest place in the world, has little of—water.

Off the sea and climbing the dusty road that leads up, up, up, we parallel a pipeline that runs 150 miles out of the Andes to the east, delivering the only water to be found in this place where, in the most desolate sections, rain has never been recorded. The pipe is sometimes buried under piles of sand, sometimes exposed, but never far from mind. It is the link that allows people—and businesses, like the copper, saltpeter, tin, nitrate, and salt mines that are everywhere here—to exist in what is a very foreboding place.

Next: Listen to Dispatch 2 >>



Funding for this expedition was provided by the National Geographic Society Expeditions Council. For more information on the Council, its projects, and grants, e-mail ecouncil@ngs.org.

Top

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
 
 
  Introduction
  The Team
  Photo Gallery
  Dispatch 1
  Dispatch 2 (Audio - 1:20)
  Dispatch 3 (Audio - 1:31)
  Dispatch 4
  Dispatch 5
  Dispatch 6 (Audio - 1:45)
  Dispatch 7 (Audio - 1:40)
  Dispatch 8
  Conclusion
 

Download RealPlayer to hear audio.
 

Related Web Sites

In the Field: Bowermaster's Trip to Tuamotu
Follow Jon Bowermaster as he paddles and dives some of the Pacific's richest coral reefs and deepest blue lagoons—before they disappear forever.

Photo Gallery: Castaway in Paradise
Witness one of our most popular photo galleries to date as Photographer Peter McBride explains the secrets behind his remarkable shots of the Tuamotu Archipelago.

In the Field: Descending the Dragon
Hear Bowermaster's dispatches from his kayak odyssey down the Vietnam coast.

In the Field: Birthplace of the Winds
See photos and hear dispatches from the 2001 expedition to Alaska's Aleutian Islands that inspired Bowermaster's new book Birthplace of the Winds.

  [an error occurred while processing this directive]
 


December 2003/January 2004



Adventure Main | Archive | Subscribe | Customer Service | E-mail the Editors
Media Kit | Contributor Guidelines