A Welsh influence

Trip Start Aug 20, 2005
Trip End May 26, 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Monday, November 14, 2005

A Welsh influence is to be found in Patagonia,mainly in the sheep that they brought in the late 1800s and which now thrive on the plains of Patagonia. Indeed many of the old and elaborate houses were built on fortunes made on wool. However the sheep are causing damage to the Patagonian land simply by over grazing, eating the roots of the grass and their cloven hooves damaging the soil. This they predict will cause the desertification of Patagonia.
Another interesting fact about this area is they estimate that there is a quarter million beavers in the area!Yep folks they eat beavers down here, yep the beavers with the teeth and paddle like tail.I must admit there tasty little fellows a bit like beef with a gamey taste.Very nice with ginger and spring onions, for those of ye looking for recipe tips for your unwanted beaver meat :-)How the beavers got here was the government of Argentina in 1950s decided that Patagonia was cold just like Canada and decided to introduce Beavers for their fur.Unfortunately Southern Chile/Argentina only drops to about -5c or so unlike Canada where drops to -25c! Thus the beavers did not grow their thick fur coats, so their attempt at the fur industry failed. So they just released them into the wild, sure feck it what harm could they do! :-) Well they just created hundreds of acres of swamp and killed off a lot of trees.
One of the other highlights of Punta Arenas is there is a state park "Isle Maggellans" in the Magellan straits which is a penguin reserve. There is roughly 12,000 penguins on about 20 acre island.So what can I say except that they can be quite loud and that live in holes,literally not hovels of houses made out of galvanize steel :-)Its like Hitchcocks film "The Birds" as there is thousands of penguins just standing there watching you, nice in the beginning but then Old Captain Paranoia kicks in and you feel a few hundred of them are going to Rush you and steal your MP3 player or digital camera :-) Close to the park is a seal lion colony(only a hundred or so) :-) Where you can take a boat to see them.The males are absolutely huge and can be 3 meters long 500kgs while the females are just a dainty 75kgs and a meter. What can I say they do resemble lions with their fur around their heads and they way that they roar.. I tell you I would not like to get on the wrong side of them at all :-)

So folks I had my first technical hitch were I lost some of my photos from Torres Del Paine, BTW big huge snow capped mountains you will have to trust me and unfortunately some of some wild Emus, yes they do look wired without Ken Dood :-)
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