At one with nature
Trip Start Sep 22, 2010
9Trip End Oct 06, 2010
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Where I stayed
The whole time we could actually hear the whales breathing and breaching because of the acoustics of the cove. It was worth the hike to be able to see the whales up close at eye level. We didnīt see any seals though.
Lunch was waiting for us at the cabin when we returned. It was probably an 8 mile hike in total. Right after lunch we left for our long drive around the Valdez Peninsula. We first went to Punta Delgada to see some elephant seal colonies. We were on the edge of a 200 foot cliff and Harmony wanted to figure out how to climb down to the beach to see them. We let the large fences and security cameras deter us.
We then drove to Punta Cantor, first stopping at a trail head to go on a 1-2 mile hike to see elephant seals at a much closer range. The males are absolutely enormous at 1500-2000 pounds and the females are much smaller, though still intimidating. So many females had pups with them that were only a few weeks old. We were close enough to hear the babies barking and could even see their pink tongues.
Our last stop was 10km up the road to a Magellan penguin colony. This colony was on the side of a steep cliff and there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of penguins everywhere! We arrived during the mating season when all of the males are pairing up with females. Many of the females were already pregnant and settling into their dens since their eggs will be laid in mid October. It was sad to see the male penguins that had not found a mate yet. They were standing near the dens they claimed, letting out a sad sounding mating call, hoping to attract a female so they could start a family. We were as close as inches away from some penguins which was a truly unique experience since this was real life, not a zoo. They didnīt seem to mind us at all.
Not to mention the tons of animals we saw roaming free in between all of the drives. We saw Patagonian rabbits (huge monsters), tons of Guanacos (kind of like llamas), sheep with baby lambs, wild horses, hairy armadillos, birds that looked like quails, etc. You could just stop on the side of the road and observe all of these wild animals. Kind of like Lion Country Safari in Florida only in the middle of nowhere with no gift shop.
We had another great dinner that night. This is a great time to mention again how amazing the food is here but how far the dollar goes. The four of us had meals like filet mignon, chorizo, wine, beer, etc this night. The total was around 210 pesos or only $50! Amazing!