Lake Machónico shows off its best outfit for us to slide softly over the waters on a rowing boat.
From Theory to Practice
Along with a group of lovers of rowing and some students from the Patagonia Rowing School, we accompanied Professor Bebe O’Connor on a practice in the waters of Lakes Machónico and Pichi Machónico. This is a fascinating activity both for those who practice it regularly and for whoever attempts to take their first steps.
Leaving the City of San Martín de los Andes, after taking paved Route 234 in the direction of Villa La Angostura, the Lake Machónico vantage point is reached. The total distance is 30 kilometers. A few meters ahead, we found a small trail on the right that leads straight to the shores of the Machónico about 100 meters away. Nature had given us a misty morning on the water mirror and little by little the white layer began to vanish.
Over the waters
Lovers of rowing
A fascinating activity
The paddle strokes the water
A beautiful sandy beach
Gave us back our strength
The friendly atmosphere
To the Boats
We soon started to get the four boats down from the vehicles in order to carry them on our shoulders up to the lakeshore and complete the conditioning tasks. It is always important to check every detail for everything to be perfect.
Oarlocks, paddles or oars, rudders were in the correct place and when everything was ready, the professor told us to put on our life jackets and each of us filled our positions inside the boat. Our mouths drew a large smile and our ears were attentive to all indications coming from the instructor. We set sail.
In the middle of the lake, the water glowed intensely and the profiles of the watercrafts and of each of us were reflected on its surface.
Rest, Mate and Cookies
After a short voyage across the Machónico, a beautiful sandy beach welcomed us. Some delicious mate accompanied with some cookies gave us back our strength. Back on the boats, we sailed along the winding Hermoso River, which joins both water bodies. At this point, those of us who were rowing had to be more accurate, as we had to make an effort in order to follow its uneven shape.
The voyage came to an end and we arrived in the wonderful Pichi Machónico, an almost unknown lake as it lies outside the scope of the most popular tourist routes. Only the locals have the possibility to sail across it.
Another small beach to hit the shore and have some delicious empanadas for lunch. The chief of the expedition himself had brought them. The friendly atmosphere emerged from the enthusiasm each of us invested in this activity. This moment was seized by Bebe to give some minimal technical instructions to those with less experience: on the boats with sliding seats, strength comes from the legs; the back must remain in an upright position; the oar only lets part of the paddle into the water; the right fist must go under the left fist while rowing.
We returned to the starting point and anecdotes continued making the afternoon more pleasant. The poor boats, already exhausted, abandoned themselves to the conditioning processes for the next outing.
Some of us went through our first rowing experience on that very day. Just one detail was not understood: if the coxswain faces the stern, will not he miss the best part of the scenery?
Mónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio
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