Seals! Sea Lions! Penguins (real and imaginary)!
Peninsula Valdes Travel Blog› entry 227 of 251 › view all entries
September 10th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
Well this was another incredible day in our Patagonian Paradise. It started with a little hike with our nice guide from the hotel. (The hotel includes all these little excursions for no extra charge). This time we visited some sea lions on the neighboring property. It involved a very WINDY cliffside walk, until we could see the sea lions lounging on the beach far below. Because of the cliffs, it was impossible to get very close to them. Some of them were out in the water…playful little guys. I was watching closely but no Orcas came in for a snack. (They sometimes come right up to the beach... "I'll have a sea lion, to go, please!" )
Next, we went to a beach where we were able to climb down the bluff and sit on a rock next to three elephant seals.
From there, Steve and I drove around the entire peninsula for some wildlife viewing. Our first stop was in Puerto Pirámides, where we had a pretty bad (and overpriced) lunch. We didn’t see any whales in the bay, so we drove on to Punta Norte. All the roads are gravel and not great, but this road was much better than the one between Punta Delgado and in Puerto Pirámides. I was able to go up to 100km/hour (about 60mph).
Our map showed a little penguin icon on Punta Norte, so we were on high alert even though they don’t usually come until September 15. Sometimes when you wish hard enough, you can see penguins everywhere you look… in fact, some rocks even start to look remarkable penguin-like. We knew it was too early for them, but still…we hoped. And hoped. But we didn’t see any of the little guys there. Instead we saw more elephant seals, and some sea lions --- some were playing in the water and two were mating on the beach. We sure are seeing a lot of action here in Patagonia!
From there we headed south, stopping on the way at an unmarked turnoff just north of Caleta Valdes. I was so sure we wouldn’t see much that here I left my camera in the car and sauntered over to the cliff where Steve was excitedly pointing to the beach with his mouth wide open… a PENGUIN!!!!! I RAN back to the car faster then lighting, as if he was going to disappear right then and there.
We made one last stop, at Punta Cantor. There was a nature walk there with many informational signs posted, but no animals to be found. There was also a nice walk along the beach, and of course we saw more elephant seals. Sadly, we saw a dead penguin washed up on the beach. One of the early birds I wonder? Steve speculated that he was just an old guy who couldn’t handle the swim.
On the way home, we saw lots more sheep, as usual. These sheep have two modes: 1) eating grass, and 2) complete panic. The Panic mode comes when they hear a car, then they run as fast as their little mutton legs will go. They’re not real bright animals.
We also saw a group of birds that looked like small ostriches. I looked this up…they're called Rhea and are often referred to as the Patagonian Ostrich. They were very nonchalant, and could care less about the tourists gawking at them from the car.
It was approaching sunset again as we arrived back at the hotel. Patagonia must have some of the best sunsets in the world. We enjoyed the spectacle once again, until I was once again chilled to the bone. If it wasn’t so damn cold I think this might not be a bad place to live. I’d never get sick of the sunset. Or the penguins.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!