Patagonia Dispatch 6 February 26, 2011 from Caleta Tortel, Chile

We are in Caleta Tortel, a small town located on the delta of the Baker River. No cars are here – people move around by boat or on a network of elaborate boardwalks that go over the inlets and marshes dotting the landscape. It’s an amazing place and everyone on the team is excited to head out and explore the estuary. The ecosystem will be destroyed forever if the two proposed dams for the Baker are built, the beauty that could be lost is what the photographers will focus on capturing. We arrived in Tortel after traveling for 7 hours from the farthest point south our expedition reached, the headwaters of the Rio Pascua on Lago O’Higgins, a 5 hour boat ride from the closest town. There, the expedition found the greatest reasons for not building the dams. Wilderness. Perfection. Unclimbed mountains, absolute quiet, no footprints, and water so clean you could drink from any source. Add on top of that the Pascua forms one of the most impressive series of rapids I’ve ever seen. This is one small spot on the planet that cannot be destroyed.

Another tragedy if these dams are built is the actual construction of the dams and how it will change Patagonia as a region forever. With the dams will come roads, 200 foot tall transmission lines, heavy industry, and so on.

Hopefully the images we make on this RAVE will be used as tools to help the campaign to stop the dams. We’ve collected some amazing imagery of the regions wildlife, landscapes, and the few but powerful environmental scars that can be found here to illustrate the current beauty and the threats facing this pristine wilderness. Some of the best images from the RAVE thus far are Jack’s moonlit photos of unclimbed peaks, Jeff’s picture of the unreal blue Baker River, Daniel’s photo of unbroken forest from the air, and Bridget’s photo of a 91 year old man that last year rode his horse 9 days from Colonia to Coyhaique to protest of the dams. Stay tunes to see these amazing images!