Whales, penguins and elephant seals in Argentina

Trip Start Mar 15, 2006
Trip End Dec 20, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, September 11, 2006

From Buenos Aires it was an 18 hour overnight bus to Puerto Madryn and the wildlife reserve of the Valdes Peninsula. The bus was a very comfortable cama (bed) bus with reclining seats, meals, and entertainment (bingo run by the percer!). Despite this I didnīt get much sleep, as it seemed that every time I was just drifting off to sleep the bus would run off the side of the road and I would wake with a start, thinking the bus was about to crash. It didnīt help that Iīd been having a conversation that afternoon with some other travellers about the gruesome bus crashes they had witnessed. And I dread what is to come in countries such as Bolivia!
Anyway, Peninsula Valdes is quite barren and windswept, but is home to lots of wildlife such as the Southern right whale, orcas (best viewed in Febuary, Peninsula Valdes is the only place in the world where they charge the beach in order to catch elephant seal pups and penguin chicks), elephant seals, sea lions, as well as land animals such as some oversized rabbit type things, guanacos (a camel relative, but look like llamas), and ostrich type animals. Even though there are Southern right whales in Australia Iīve only ever seen them from the shore, but from the boat they are simply amazing, just enormous! The day that we went the mothers and their calves werenīt feeling too playful because of the high winds, but they would come up to the boats, and even dive underneath them, sometimes lifting their enormous tails out of the water or spurting up water.
The penguins were cute, but the elephant seals were another highlight, just because they are such strange looking creatures, lazing around in the sun, making lots of burping and farting noises, and occasionally moving along the beach in a rolling type motion.
I decided not to do another trip today to the penguin colony and to see the dolphins, as I will probably head down to the south of Patagonia in November or December when the weather is warmer and it is possible to see the penguins with their chicks.
Tonight Iīve got the return bus trip to Buenos Aires, and then hope to find a flight to Salta in the north of Argentina.
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