Wonderous Wildlife, like TV but colder and wetter
After the horrendous child infested 12 hour journey on the way to Ushuaia we abandoned all thought of global warming and took a 25 minute plane.We blame the children for increasing our already rather giant sized footprints!We still had a nine hours wait in Rio Gallegos to wait for our cama bus, still not a full luxury flat bed!In the bus station Charlie's Bolivian Staring Disease showed dangerous symptoms; there was a crash heard around the other side of a shop, immediately Charlie leapt to his feet and bounded over to stare.The other waiting passangers merely glanced and turned away.Lisa scolded Charlie for his lack of manners.
Once on the bus we headed north and watched a modern version of 'The Count of Monte Cristo', which we recommend as being highly excellent.
Once in P. Madryn we went straight to an already researched hostel (La Tosca) and styayed in a twin room with bunk beds (Spanish literal translation - Sailor Beds).There were also two prisons under the bottom bunk for Roy, Cynths, Maggs and Kuls.The owner was a very unpredictable young man, who would be very friendly at money giving times and nasty for the rest of the time.The young child also destroyed our TV watching time in the communal area.We also had a very strange set-up with the bathroom as it was shared between two rooms and each room had an access door, so a scene had to be caused by knocking on the door.
Anyway the room was pleasant enough so we headed into town to find out how to see the whales.As soon as we reached the coast we could see Souther Right Whales just playing around in the bay.Tails splashed, fins coasted and sometimes a whole head was seen.This amazed us as it was so close to the industrial centre; one whale was playing around just below where one of the ships was being welded (really that kind of behaviour is just asking for extinction!).Apart from this weird fixation they seem to be doing pretty well as we were told there were around 1000 individuals around P. Madryn at the present time.
We found a tour agency that went to all the places we wanted to visit and were much cheaper than the hostel offered to us.First we stopped and saw whales playing in the water very close to shore - only 10m away from us.This was not a lemming effect as they were quite safe because the beach shelved steeply.
We then continued to the port to get a boat to see the whales even closer.We enjoyed seeing the whales so close but were clinging on for dear life as the boat continued to pitch into huge waves, letting all the water wash over the top and over us.It was very difficult to take pictures in this kind of scenario.Up went the boat down went the whales and camera woggling all over the place - really not very ideal.We thought this must be normal weather but we soon found out that the port was closed soon after our departure.Penguins were also spotted in the water but the looked unfortunately like normal ducks and so were generally ignored - there is just no competing with 30 tonne beasts of the sea.We saw males and females and plenty of very young calves, the cleverly evil seaguls have learned to feed off whales' skin as they surface, a particular delicacy is that of the very young.We saw a very young pinkish calf get attacked by seagulls and apparently this makes them move away from the shallower, warmer waters where they would prefer to be.There was only one species of Whale present in this area; the Southern Right Whale.
After reaching dry land and being towed out of the sea by a tractor we returned to our vehicle and headed to see some seals.There were some platforms set up at the back of the beach leaving you only a few metres from the giant Elephant Seals.There was very little activity when we arrived but soon a testosterone filled monster went crazy, neither males or females were safe.Just to point out that it is only males that have the ridiculously large nose.We saw this male (ANN) wobble down the beach to catch the ever faster and smaller females, needless to say most got away from the giant wobbling Ann, who took many rest breaks on his journey.He encountered two males in his way, one fled into the sea but the other was too slow and so we were treated to a fantastic fight in the crashing waves (please see pics), only Sir David was missing!Everyone was excited and the giant male won the fight and roared as he claimed his area of the beach.They just need to be taught towel ettiquette and none of this roaring nonsense would be necessary.
The day then drifted to a close as we were both tired from all this nature activity.On the drive around the peninsula we saw Guanacos (like Llamas), The Patagonian Hare, which is infact a rodent and not anything near a rabbit (Kulaks - leave it to Lamarck please).We also saw the South American version of the Ostrich or Emu - a Rhea.A small museum was the next stop, which contained a giant Southern Right Whale skeleton.Then we went home thrilled at all the things we heard of in lectures come to life.
The next two days we wandered around P.Madryn eating ice-creams, causing scenes in coffee shops and hogging the communal TV.
Final Thoughts:Excellent Biology field trip but the ice-cream was a let down. Mark out of 10:8
Next Time ................... Colonia, Uruguay