Calling all you Orcas
Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
289Trip End Sep 06, 2012
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Just a little summary of Puerto Madryn. It is a town on the east coast of Argentina about half way between Ushuaia and Buenos Aires. It has around 100,000 people living here, which doesn't sound much but not that long ago, it only used to be around 25,000. Lots of jobs due to the Aluminum industry that is here. Apparently it was founded by Welsh settlers back in 1886. Maybe it felt like Wales. The only similarity I can find is that there are a lot of sheep here, that's all!!
Today I was heading off on a tour to the Valdes Peninsula, which is a huge wildlife sanctuary. I have been very excited about going here for a while and you will find out get soon, if you haven't already worked it out.
It was a nice small group today, Hugo our guide and a couple, a girl from Holland and her boyfriend from France.
We set off around 8 am and headed for the Peninsula which takes about 1 hour to get to, along gravel roads. The Peninsula itself is very big so takes quite some time to drive around.
We made a couple of quick stops along the way at a couple of beaches within the Golfo Nuevo (New Golf) to see if we could spot any whales. It is slightly early for whale season, but they have already been spotted, so maybe we will be lucky today! - Nothing so far!!
We also made a quick stop at the Visitor Centre to read up on the Flora and Fauna in the area and also about the history of the Peninsula and the surrounding area.
Our first official stop was at Punta Pyramides, where there is a colony of Sea lions that live here all year round. We stopped at the view point looking down on to the beach where you can see the sea lions with all of their new pups either being extremely lazy and lying around, or watching the pups being mischievous playing around in the water. They do make some strange noises. It sounds as though they are belching after eating a very good meal.
Whilst we were at Punta Pyramides, Hugo showed us all of the fossils that are still lying around on the floor, which used to be under the sea. I was amazed at the amount of fossils around and also how high we were and how high the sea used to be, all of those millions of years ago!
After staying there for around 20 minutes taking photos and just watching them, we headed off to Puerto Pyramides to get some food for lunch and also to have a Chocolate Caliente (hot chocolate) to warm us up as it was pretty cold today.
Our next stop was Punta Cantor which is right on the East coast of the Peninsula. Along the way, we saw one of the animals that I really was curious about El Calafate
We finally got to Punta Cantor where you should be able to see penguins, but just as my luck always seems to run out, as I am too late, the penguins had gone. 2 days ago there were 4, so they must have heard that I was coming and darted off up to Brazil where the waters are warmer!! The one thing we did see here, and I have not seen them out in the wild, were Elephant Seals. They are quite lonely creatures and seems to stay apart, apart from the males and his hareem!!! The male was quite far away so you couldn't see what is supposed to be his trunk.
The last stop of the day was at Punta Norte
When we got there, Hugo spoke to the Rangers who said that they are around, but have not come up to the beach where we are. The problem is, these Dolphins could have done this anywhere along the coastline where we cannot see it, so maybe it has already happened, or that they are just not hungry today.
As soon as we got there, Hugo spotted them immediately out at sea. he must have bloody good eyesight as I couldn't see anything. Also, your eyes start playing tricks on you and you think you see dorsal fins, but it is just waves breaking out at sea. And then we saw them. There were 2 of them swimming around out at sea. They must have been around 1 kilometre out, so you could see their dorsal fins as they were swimming through the ocean, but they were not close enough for me to take photos. As soon as I pressed the button, they had gone, so no point in wasting any precious battery unless they come closer. We stayed at the lookout for 2 hours, but all the Orcas did was keep changing their swimming direction from North to South and then back again. It was a pity that I didn't see them beaching themselves, but I loved the fact that I saw them out in their own natural habitat instead of seeing them at Sea World!!
We then took the slow journey back to Puerto Madryn which took around 2 hours. I had a great day and saw wildlife that I had never heard or seen before.
Another amazing day in Patagonia. This place never ceases to amaze me (sorry if I keep repeating myself!!)