Entomologist and packrafter, Dr. Isaí Madriz, recently covered remote areas of Patagonia by packraft, bamboo bicycle and on-foot in search of some of the rarest groups of insects on the planet.
His Aqua-Bound 4-piece Shred Carbon paddle has been an invaluable tool in his travels.
Working and Packrafting in Patagonia
Dr. Madriz, also a Fulbright Fellow and National Geographic Explorer, has been working in the Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia for the past three years. His work has meant packrafting, biking and hiking into uninhabited and secluded areas.
It’s meant navigating several aquatic ecosystems from whitewater to fjord channels. He found the ability to easily adjust feathering angles on his paddle helped deal with the ever-changing weather conditions. And for compact packing in the field, his 4-piece Shred was ideal.
Dr. Isaí Madriz in Patagonia (Photo courtesy of Anand Varma)
Dr. Madriz shares a little of what it’s like to packraft in this spectacular area:
“I reside in Patagonia year-round. What I love most about packrafting here is the never ending magazine-like panoramic views no matter where I am. But I must be incredibly careful with the decisions I make. If I get into trouble, help could take days to arrive wherever I am.
"It is incredibly challenging due to the icy water temperatures and the every-changing climatic conditions.
“I stopped counting miles after exceeding 1,000 during the first year of my fellowship! Every expedition is very different in length and varies based on terrain. I’m always changing my route based on weather and current topography, which can dramatically alter my set route.
"An example is GLOFs, or ‘glacial lake outburst floods.’ Expeditions vary from days to weeks. Field work is months.”
Educating Local Tour Guides on Biodiversity
In February of this year (2020), Dr. Madriz spearheaded an expedition to Explorers Glacier (Glacial Exploradores) to teach local ice tour guides about the unique insect biodiversity living where they work every day.
A nymph of a predaceous mayfly, Chiloporter eatoni—Dr. Madriz’ line of work as an entomologist
The team consisted of 14 people, including a 4th grader, two photographers, 10 tour guides—representing all the companies that work on the glacier—and Isaí.
He shares, “This expedition was so successful that I was asked to repeat it once the COVID-19 situation is under control.
“I wanted to thank you [Aqua-Bound team] for your support and show you how we (you included) are influencing positive change and furthering the well-being of the local population who depend on eco-tourism as their livelihood.”
You can follow Dr. Madriz’ work on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
(All photos courtesy of Dr. Isaí Madriz)
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