Saturday 16 December 2017

No Whales but plenty of Elephant Seals, Penguins and Dead Trees

Yes the title says it all . 

We spent two days at two different locations around the Valdes Peninsular, in recommended locations and not a whale in sight . However, we always knew that we were right at the tail end of the season.

The locations we stayed at were absolutely stunning. Although the second one at Punta Ninfas was a bit remote and we didn't hang about the next morning as the sky was changing rapidly and we had a 50km drive over dirt road that had mud bath written all over it .

The wind here is incredible strong and sometimes as warm as a hair dryer. So much so that we managed to dry a full size towel straight from the machine in 15 minutes. 


You know it can get windy here when you see that they have attached guy ropes to a lighthouse. ( look closely )

Camerones, further south was a real highlight. Its a smallish coastal fishing town that in some places appears to be caught in a bit of a time warp.

The local store looked like something out of a movie, You know the sort where the explorers stock up just before being murdered. It sold everything from fruit and veg to parts for you trawler. The cash register ( Still used ) was in itself a magnificent antique.

Another great thing about this town was that it had a small Fishmonger that doubled up as a shed in someones back garden. Here you could buy 1 Kilo of king prawns for 80 Argentinian Pesos , which is about £3.43. Well it would be rude not to have a prawn fest so we bought a kilo and so did our Brazilian friends Nicholas and Eliss ( pronounced Eleese ) We cooked both kilos in a bit of a cook off style event and then ate the lot, Fantastic. 

We have picked up another two kilos for our freezer .

Just about 20 km down the coast is a natural Magellanic Penguin breeding colony. Its a great place and you can get within a few inches of them. We were slightly too early for the chicks to leave the nest but we could see them down their burrows. 

Ellis, who is from a warmer climate, found the wind a bit cold. We just sweated it out.

A few interesting facts about the Magellanic Penguin to help you sleep.

They can live for 30 years
They usually pair for life
In September the male arrives and finds his old nest and tidies it up .
A couple of weeks later the female arrives and does nothing. ( Except the necessary )
The male sits on the eggs and gets the food and keeps it all tidy.
The female does nothing
The chicks fledge in February and the next September it all starts again.

If however, the male turns up and his female doesn't the male will sit on a stone in the nest in a deep sad  depression. he might do this for the next 3 or 4 years 

If however, the female turns up and her male hasn't, she gives it about 10 minutes and then finds another male. Typical.

The journey back was fun  

The Sunset was incredible

Elephant seals are pretty common around here and some of them can weigh 300 kg's. They don't appear to do much, lots of lazing around slapping each other and farting. Must make a note of this come my re incarnation.

Large colonies are dotted along the coast

With exception films like Lord of the Rings , who ever heard of a petrified Forrest. Well I hadn't, let alone seen one for real.

The Bosque Petrificado  is a really interesting place.

Apparently about 150 million years ago a large ash cloud from a volcano buried  a forest of fir trees.
The trees absorbed the carbon and hardened, turning them to stone over a long period of time.

This left an entire forrest of petrified trees buried under ground. Millions of years of erosion has now exposed them and you can now see plenty of them lying around. They look just like wood, well I suppose they would wouldn't they .

The road south , "Route National 3" is incredible long, straight and in the main quite boring. 

The wind is incredibly strong and relentless. Its a constant battle with the steering to keep in your narrow lane and the trucks heading the other way pass by only inches. It can be very tiring and sometimes a bit dangerous.

It can also be very lonely for the driver especially when your Sat Nav says its not going to speak to you for over 300 km and your co pilot is snoring and dribbling for 295 of the kilometres . As shown in the next two photos.

We always new this part was a long slog but we plan to start the drive back north at a much more leisurely pace.

You can see a lot more detail of each place we visit on the "Places and Photos" page