No Whales.. just Sheep

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, March 20, 2006

Hello All,

So after spending two days waiting for huge orcas to beach themselves and turn the peaceful beach into a bloody, foamy, supper party filled with innocent sea lion pups flailing about in the jaws of one of the sea´s most shrill hunters... we returned to town... empty handed.

No, we didn´t see the incredibily rare event that takes place on Punta Norte, Argentina and only one other beach in the world. But it was a beautiful place and even the thought that it even MIGHT happen was very exciting.

So, this area is really unique not only because there are sea lions that live directly on the beach... but... the bottom of the ocean along the shoreline is flat rock... AND... there are deep channels in the rock. Basically, when the tide is really high the water comes right up to the sea lions. The deep channels allow the whales to swim right up to the beach and slightly beach themselves as they grab dinner. The weather has to be good...the seas must be calm (waves push the sea lions farther up the beach) and there has top be enough light for the whales to see the chubby pups as they swim up toward the beach. Basically conditions must be perfect AND the whales have to decide to do this! Supposedly there are 18 whales in the pod that live there... only 7 know how to do the beach thing. CRAZY Huh?

When we learned about the rareness of this event... and that the past two days´ tides were the highest in March. AND March is the only month when this occurs... we went for it. We had to rent a car and drive down crazy gravel roads to get there but it was great... despite the stars never showing up. We enjoyed watching the sea lions (and begging for their demise at the same time) and interacting with the other people who were there. As one might imagine there were some really interesting people there. There was a couple from Holland who had been making the 1.5 hour gravel road drive to the nearest camping(rough drive and you can´t stay at the point overnight... they DO patrol) every day for 21 days straight. We heard of people coming for years in a row for the entire month to try to see it and still missing out!! There are photographers who pay $110 a day for a permit to sit at a closer spot... the stories are endless and so are the rumors that fly around about crazy sightings. We even heard that someone saw the whales " practicing" on another beach with no sea lions. Crazy people... crazy stories. We loved it. I don´t know what that says about us.

Regardless. We made it back to Puerto Madryn after driving 600+ kilometers on bad roads (yes you DO have to pay for windshields... we found a tiny ding before we left and made them note it... so we had some wiggle room) and if you hit one of the thousands of sheep in the road you have to buy the sheep! Also, we learned when we returned the car that there are cameras around that photograph you and send a ticket to you (or your rental company) if you are driving to fast. Needless to say it made my imitations of a South American driver for Ashley´s benefit seem a bit less humerous... hopefully I won´t see any weird charges on my credit card in a month!

Hope you are all well and safe and may the killer whales in your area be present and in feasting mode.

Pete and Ashley
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Comments

wantseetheworld
wantseetheworld on

Orcas!
Hello, friend!

I've just read your post about Puerto Norte. It's really great place! Unfortunately, nobody can guarantee that you will se any orcas...

After you see such a video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWsN63PRCW8
you can only admire the great power of this creatures! They are like torpedos wich always find their tagrets!

So, I would like to visit Argenrina and watch orcas hunting seals and lions...

Please, could you share some information to me about where to stay in Argentina near Punta Norte and how long does it take to get to the shore?

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