Beach Candles

Trip Start Jan 23, 2011
Trip End Feb 14, 2012

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To get to Cabo Polonia you first have to get the bus to drop you off at the roadside bus stop seemingly in the middle of nowhere but actually at a pretty well organised place. From here, after buying tickets and filling in forms with everything from age to profession, all to go to a beach(?!), we wait for our transportation in giant 4 wheel drive trucks.

We get driven (some crazies spend all day walking!) over 7 or 9 kilometres (as usual, depends on which book or person is providing the answer) of pretty countryside, small sand dunes and stretching beaches before arriving in the colony / collection / ramshackle bunch of houses, hostels, restaurants, a grocery store and even some hotels. There is little to no electricity so some have generators, some have candles, gas or a combination of all. Apparently this place was discovered by an artist and it is really easy to see the attraction.

Our hostel was exactly as advertised, right on the beach. There were 4 hammocks, some loungers and a covered verandah with a big table for eating at and socialising around. We were just staying one night so shared a 4 bed dorm with one other traveller, a lovely Australian lady.

Cabo Polonia is home to sea lines and on the migration path of Antarctic seals, penguins, whales, birds and, no doubt, masses of other sea life. Our time of visiting did not coincide with any of this but we went for a walk to see if we could find any sea lions. Sadly we only saw one that was either sleeping or dead. This was the time the parents were fishing and the pups were waiting on a small island just too far for me to be able to see. From hearing what it is like in the springtime with all these animals means we may well be back some day.

The settlement is built on a pointy strip of sand so has two beaches which are to the east and west. We went off to the sunset beach and I swam while Annie took photos, it was too cold by this time of the day for her to swim. It was both a great swim and a beautiful sunset!

Back at the hostel we decided to risk the shower which, for hot water, has a gas fed fire on the shower pipe to heat the water. It works brilliantly and I am certain it is perfectly safe...... Unfortunately the water started running out so we had a seriously speedy shower :-)

We had read reviews on the hostel and learnt that we had to buy beer from them and not bring our own, there was even a sign to that effect and so, when checking out the supermarket, we avoided the beer. Imagine our amusement when, when ordering a beer from our hostel man, being told there was none and we should go to supermarket if we wanted any :-) Given the complete darkness, Annie did the honours.

Next challenge was cooking - remember that the water has run out - we came prepared, with pasta. Annie has now mastered the art of cooking a whole pasta meal with just a small bottle of our own drinking water, quite a feat and a delicious dinner.

We met a lovely couple from Canada - he's and artist, partly graffiti like the famous Banksie in the UK, partly on canvas, partly on clothing and, having seen it, can say I really liked his somewhat weird way. She's a musician but we did not hear her sing so cannot comment :-) We had bought a small bottle of the local delicacy to try which we all shared, it is supposedly Miel (Honey) Grappa, a strange sounding combination which had no flavour of Grappa but was certainly a honey nectar that went down quite easily and we all enjoyed it on the candlelit verandah with the sounds of the ocean to keep us entertained and mesmerised. What a great way to spend an evening.

Next morning we did not make the sunrise but we did have breakfast in the same ocean viewing spot on the verandah. This was followed by some serious hammock time, a long walk along the endless beach, climbing to the top of and sitting on a sand dune, swimming in the ocean, this time on the sunrise beach, and then back to the trucks. We were heading back "home" to La Paloma for another night.

As you have probably worked out, we were really taken with and hope to return to Cabo Polonia someday.
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