Killer Whales and Wedding Buffets

Puerto Madryn Travel Blog

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Some tasty sea lion pups. Unfortunately not about to be eaten.

I arrived in Puerto Madryn hoping for a National Geographic wet dream moment involving flippers, teeth, blood and blubber. I am of course talking about a killer whale taking a sea lion from the beach, tossing it in the air and then munching it down with the same greedy relish as a fat aunt troughing a plateful of gratis wedding buffet grub.

This majestic natural scene (involving the killer whale, not the fat aunt) is apparently played out with relative regularity on the beaches of Peninsula Valdes at this time of year.

An Armadillo. They hunt for scraps round the car park at Punta Norte - bit sad really.
 I therefore made it to the most likely place on the Peninsula (Punte Norte) at the best time (high tide). However, although I waited around for 2 1/2 hours, I saw precisely zero killer whales.

This is despite the presence of hundreds of adult sea lions lounging about next to the ocean like a big platter of chicken thighs, as well as their cutesy little offspring, splashing around in the shallows like tasty mini sausage rolls with whiskers. Clearly the killer whakes were still attending the stag and hen dos and weren´t yet interested in the formalities of the beach reception feast.

I was disproportionately disappointed with this outcome (try saying that after a few post-nuptial pints). I dunno why, but I´d built it up in my head to be something that would be a diamond highlight of the trip, but it just wasn´t to be.

Proud penguin parent and fast growing chick. Ok, even I admit it makes me go "Awwww."
 In reality, witnessing the predatory scenes described above is simply down to pot luck and the digestive whims of the whales. TV nature docco crews spend weeks hanging around for it to happen and still get nada. Another time perhaps.

The previous day had been rather more successful as, having hired a car with three Israelis fresh from military service, we drove down about 200 km south of Peninsula Valdes to see the largest colony of Magellanic (medium sizeish) penguins in South America at Punta Tombo. As it turned out, most of the 300,000 birds hinted at by one of the (either fanciful or just lying) tour companies turned out to be on their hols. There were still however, a good 1,000+ on the beaches and dunes around the point whilst we were there.

Me and a penguin. You can´t see here what he did first to provoke the two fingered salute. Rude little sods, those penguins.

We were treated to an intimate audience with the dinner-suited little chaps and chapesses. I´m not one for cute stuff generally (I´d rather see something get chomped) but even I couldn´t help but say: "Awwww - don´t they look luverly" in a voice reminiscent of a proud granny flinging confetti on the church steps after a wedding service.

Sheffieldian writer, art critic and all round boffin John Ruskin once said: "One cannot look at a penguin and stay angry" or something remarkably similar. He´s absolutely spot on with that one, and being in such close proximity to the birds without them being in the slightest skittish was a fantastic experience. And one I will not cheapen by adding a random and meaningless wedding-related simile.

´Til next time then.          

Saladin79 says:
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012
Lucho says:
You didn't see the whales? I mean the southern right whales, that's the main attraction in Peninsula Valdes.
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012
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Some tasty sea lion pups. Unfortun…
Some tasty sea lion pups. Unfortu…
An Armadillo. They hunt for scraps…
An Armadillo. They hunt for scrap…
Proud penguin parent and fast grow…
Proud penguin parent and fast gro…
Me and a penguin. You can´t see h…
Me and a penguin. You can´t see …
Backpackers on Puerto Madryn beach…
Backpackers on Puerto Madryn beac…
Puerto Madryn
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