Puerto Madryn

Trip Start Jun 13, 2006
Trip End Jun 12, 2007

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Alex: Puerto Madryn is a busy little sea side town full of holidaying Argentinians, which, as we arrived in at 16.00 meant trouble of the no hotel room kind. We did the usual walking around various hotels with our backpack until at last we found a hostel with 2 dorm beds left. We are loving Argentina but traveling in peak season is hard work. We need to book hotels in advance but can't because we aren't sure of the availability of bus tickets which we really need to book in advance but can't because we can only buy tickets at the departure town...vicious circle or what! The plus side is we get to eat some of the most amazing steak either of us have ever eaten.
Our plan was to head to the wildlife paradise of the Península Valdés during our stay so we spent our first day booking a tour, walking along the beach and generally soaking up the super strong sun-rays (remember CFCs and the hole in the ozone well the rays coming through the hole are pointed at this area!).
Our trip to the peninsula was fun and brought back Galapagos memories. On the journey to our first stop we saw guanacos (southern cousins to vacuñas, llamas and alpacas), rheas and an owl but other than that the landscape was incredibly flat, desolate and a little uninspiring (sorry). The first stop was to the north of the peninsula to see a sea lion colony. Unlike the Galapagos you could walk among the animals here but to be quite honest that was a bit of a relief. Here they have South American Sea Lions which were a lot bigger than the California Sea Lions on the Galapagos and there seemed to be a far higher proportion of the scary males. The number of sea lions generally was quite high as there seemed to be hundreds crammed onto a relatively small area of land, all growling (they also have a kind mane so we could see why they are called lions), fighting and, oddly, baaing! In the area around the colony we also managed to see an armadillo (quite hairy) and a fox.
The next stop was my highlight, a Magellan penguin colony. They are so cute and fairly undisturbed by the tourists gawking at them. The feathers of the young were in the process of changing to their adult plumage, which meant they still couldn't go in the water so they were just standing around waiting to be fed. In fact none of them were really doing much so we could get some great photos.
We had lunch by a colony of elephant seals, unfortunately there were no males around, which are huge (apparently up to 4000kgs) but the females were big enough for us to get an idea. Again they weren't very active but we did see a couple moving along the beach and felt pleased with ourselves because we could see the difference with the sea lions immediately. Sea Lions use their flippers and tail to almost walk but seals do an odd caterpillar shuffle.
The final stop of the day was the only town on the peninsula, Puerto Pirámides. We had the option (at extra cost of course) to go on a boat trip and go snorkling but as it was a bit overcast and cold we opted against it and instead hung around on the beach and played hop-scotch. There trip was really good, that said had we not been to the Galapagos it probably would have been even better.
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trevnjean on

My beautiful daughter
You look absolutely wonderful Alex, very latin american. So glad you are enjoying Argentina. Love Mum and Dad M

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