The entrepreneur has a plan for land preservation that actually makes money. Now he just has to prove it.
By Brian Dumaine, senior editor at large
You can't reach Melimoyu, a fishing village of 50 nestled on the rugged southern coast of Patagonia, by car. From Coyhaique, Chile, a twin-prop Piper Comanche carries me between jagged mountain peaks, through thick gray clouds, driving rain, and 50-mph winds toward a small private airstrip. As the plane banks sharply to land, the wind buffets the craft so severely that the instrument panel issues stomach-churning blips and beeps. As I cling to my seat, I take some solace in the fact that Hugo, our pilot, is wearing an olive green flight jacket with an insignia on the sleeve that looks like he was once an F-16 fighter pilot in the Chilean air force.
After a safe landing and a hearty pat on Hugo's back, I hop onto the tarmac thinking my journey is over. But no one -- and not a single building -- is in sight. Eventually a pickup truck appears and takes me to a makeshift metal dock. From there a 30-foot twin outboard carries me across a bay surrounded by rain forests, magnificent waterfalls, and glaciers -- think Avatar without the blue people. Heavy seas slam the hull as loudly as a Fourth of July cherry bomb. As we near our destination, I notice there's no dock. I jump off the boat onto a launch, which carries me to a beach where a tractor waits in water halfway up its wheels. The wooden platform attached to its rear acts as a dock. Welcome to Patagonia on a not atypical summer day. More
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