Penguins, sea lions and kitty cats
Trip Start Nov 29, 2013
66Trip End Nov 29, 2014
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Guidebooks claim January is the 'wrong' time of the year to visit Puerto Madryn, as July-Sept sees whales visit and in mid-Feb orcas feast on sea lion pups. Despite this, we spent a couple of days there and we still saw a plethora of animals across the vast Peninsula Valdes, which lies 50 miles east of PM.
As PV covers a staggering 896,000 acres, about 1,400 sq miles, we joined a 4x4 tour to see the various marine colonies.
The pictures attached, speak for themselves, but for me, the standout from PV, in addition to the waddling magellanic penguins, was seeing male sea-lions bathing on their beach. When they weren't frolicking with their multiple female partners, they were brawling and skirmishing with other males who got too close to their clan of females
A cool, unique feature of PV is that there are no cages or enclosures, just simple fences that prevent the public from entering the animal's beaches. This way, the penguins and sea-lions are not disturbed and can continue their serene, normal, day to day life in their natural habitat.
Away from the shoreline, PV is home to a huge number of land mammals, including pichi (armadillos), families of rheas (a species of ostrich) and wild guanaco.
The guanacos are a gimme for llamas and our driver had to keep his wits about him to avoid colliding with the kamikaze guanacos who came bounding out from behind bushes to cross the path. "You guys could do with a few traffic lights on here", I advised the tour guide. I received no reply, but felt Tash's eyes roll, heavily and slowly. 'If they had Zebra's they could have some crossings for sure'. This thought I kept to myself.
Our hostel, Posada del Catalejo, was home to a family of adorable cats. On the last night, after a few glasses of wine, Tash and I were back in our dorm, settling down to sleep. Stirring in my sleep, I heard the unmistakable "meow" of a young cat. They were making a right racket, I thought, but then quickly realised that the sound was coming from the bunk below mine, Tash's bunk in fact
With it being high season, deciding on our next move south will take a bit of planning. Travelling from Buenos Aires to Southern Patagonia, Puerto Madryn has proved to be a useful stop-gap made all the more delightful by the abundant wildlife on offer and even the common house cat.
Although frugality is still on the agenda we have found room for the odd treat. In Puerto Madryn, that treat has been laundry. It had been 4 weeks since we hadn't cleaned clothes while in the shower, so to receive some washing machine treatment, for our stinky threads was long overdue. It's hard to imagine, unless you've lived out of a backpack for a considerable length of time, how much you value the comfort of laundered and pressed clothes. The vests and football shorts were pristine again, restored to their original condition.