PATAGONIA, A PLACE WHERE THE WIND BLOWS AND SUCK’S AT THE SAME TIME, !! AND I HOWL AT THE MOON
Some day’s I truly wished I believed in an almighty god, not too faffed what his name might be, I would be fine with Fred, but it seems we all got a little arty way back in the day and came up with Jesus, God, Mohamed and so on….. because if I did, and I can assure you it never come to pass, as I am way beyond redemption, I would have someone to scream and complain too about the current woes I am suffering here at the butt end of our planet,
Otherwise known as PATAGAONIA………….
However since I don’t , I will continue to howl at the moon on an almost daily basis, and this routine will continue until I learn to deal with difficulty of filming in this here neck of the woods.
Don’t get me wrong , I love Patagonia, it’s claws long ago dug into scrawny ass and has had me firmly in it’s grip ever since my first foray’s to look for the beautiful Patagonian Puma in 1998.
Well I am back, and the wind, at times, more times in fact in a week than I care to deal with , hit’s those wandering around in it’s vastness like a freight train that has had it’s engine tinkered with by the old grey haired git in “ Back To The Future “ I shit you not !!!!!!
So last Saturday I finally arrived in Torres Del Paine National Park, and go about setting up camp at my old site near the rangers hut on close o the shore of Lake Sarmiento de Gamboa, a place I have very fond memories of, and a few I could well do without, thanks to my friends Jose and Hugo, who can drink alcohol, and tolerate it, and I Larry Lightweight, who most certainly can’t….another story.
A lot has changed since my last visit, not least the rules and regulations with regards to filming and photographing the regions wildlife, and Torres del Paine’s apex predator, and the main focus of my attention, is the cause of all the fuss. The world and it’s aunty wish to get a glimpse of this
cat, but with so many wishing to fulfil this desire has unfortunately led to a bit of a circus, for want of a better word, so new rules and regulations were put into place, and unfortunately this is playing havoc with my plans.
Fortunately, I made many friends within the CONAF staff, CONAF being the Chilean government forestry service, who have control over all the national parks and natural reserves etc etc, and it is a few of these people, who thankfully still work here and have managed to smooth out the process, however all is not rosy in this Patagonian Eden, and I still have restrictions I could well do without. The good news is I am allowed to film but, I was served a bombshell on a platter yesterday when I had to attend a meeting in the park HQ, as the there had been a lack of communication between the people in the Puerto Natales office and those in the park, lack of paperwork.
I had agreed in my meeting last week to let CONAF use all my footage, in return for not charging me to film, as I am currently flying solo, therefore piss poor ( relatively speaking of course ), the footage will tarted up by a producer I had written to weeks previous, which luckily piqued his interest and he has decided to devote some time and effort to put together a short teaser/ about the female and her time rearing her cubs, and hopefully raise funding to shoot the film over a period of 18 -22 months, as this is the length of time the cubs will remain with her.
Then the bomb was dropped!!!!, I want to film for 4 months or so in order to capture footage of the the family in the snow, which originally was the time they had no problem with, but other have said 30 days is my limit, I nearly slid off the chair in the Commanders office, I would love to have seen my reflection in a mirror, priceless !!!
I had to return to town that day as I needed supplies, but fortunately for me, my ride to town worked for CONAF and we had to stop at the Milodon Cave national monument about 25k out of town on the way back, where Alejandra Olivera my main contact at CONAF is in charge. I related my meeting, which came as somewhat of a shock to her, but she kindly informed me she would try to get the people at the original meeting in town to pull some strings and get me a very much needed extension, as there is not and ice cubes chance in hell of me getting all I need in the next 30 days, not if I was chewing a kilo of coca leaves every day and night !!!.
So my long term fate hangs in balance, however I know I can capture a lot footage in the next 4 weeks, so tomorrow I head back to the park on the early bus, to get cracking filming the female I have found with her 4 young cubs.
Sadly I am not alone filming in this little corner of Patagonian heaven at the moment, the somewhat bigger, richer and far better equipped team from Nat Geo Wild are in the area, hmm ! 6 of them in total with 2 4x4’s, using a camera and lens set up I would kill for, and so it came to pass that I had a little encounter with them the other day, which I will upload in a matter of hours, as I have cramp in my fingers and need a break, but if truth be told, I am starving …………….