A Travellerspoint blog

Argentina

Whales and Armadillos

Winenuts go nuts in Argentina


View MAP OF THE JOURNEY on AnnaMickus's travel map.

When I stepped out from the bus in Puerto Madryn, fully geared with a woollen hat and a winter jacket, I was met with an excellent surprise! It was warm! I looked around and noticed some people walked around in t-shirts and shorts. Awesome! Yessssss!

It must be around 20 degrees here. It is so lovely. We can actually walk around in t-shirts! Life is great.

Well the reason why we came here is that this area is home to sea lions, elephant seals, guanacos, rheas, penguins, lots of birds and most importantly for us; the southern right whale which is endangered. It usually comes here around June, but it has started to arrive earlier every year. We had heard some rumours that some of them had already come here, so we took a detour just to get a glimpse of them.

The best time to spot the whales is during high tide because that’s when the water level is higher and the whales are more likely to be closer to the shore. Lucky as we are, high tide happens to be now in the late afternoon around 4 o’clock. So yesterday during high tide we took a stroll on the beach here in town because some whales had been spotted here the day before. The sea looked awfully calm. We waited and waited but nothing happened. Damn it.

But we wouldn’t give up. Together with two Swiss guys we decided to rent a car and drive out to the national park where we in addition to spotting whales could also have a chance to see elephant seals. So we got up before sunrise and went whale hunting. The beginning of the day was a bit disappointing. As it is low season there aren’t almost any animals anywhere, but we managed to catch a glimpse of a few sea lions and elephant seals. And one of the highlights was an armadillo who suddenly appeared in front of us. It just walked about and didn’t mind us. So we got to watch it for quite a while sniffing about in the bushes and minding its own business in the wilderness.

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Elephant seals

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Sea lions and elephant seals

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This is the cool armadillo, the saviour of the day

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We also managed to spot a nañdu

When it was time for high tide we went to a place where whales can be spotted if you’re in luck. We waited for a while but nothing happened. So we decided to drive to another place where you also might catch sight of them. As we were walking back to the car a faint glimpse of steam far away in the ocean caught my eye. We turned around and noticed some dark fins in the water as well. And then there was the steam again. Definitely whales. Awesome. There actually seemed to be a couple of them there. We watched them for a while but they were a bit too far away. They might have come closer but then again they might not have. So we had to choose whether to go to that other place that was about 90km away or to stay where we were. We wanted to see more, so we took the risk of driving to the other place hoping we would get there before high tide ended.

Luckily that young Swiss guy wasn’t afraid of using the gas pedal so it didn’t take so long to get there. The only problem was that our map was a Donald Duck one, so it was hard to figure out exactly where the whale place was. We browsed the shores and tried to find the place but we didn’t see whales anywhere. Soon high tide was over! Damn it. Luckily we found some fishermen that pointed us to the right place. So we stepped on the gas pedal and drove there.

When we walked down to the beach we were encountered by an amazing sight. There, quite close to the beach where a couple of whales that where accompanied by a dolphin. Amazing! The whales and the dolphin entertained us for quite a while. It was mind gripping to just sit there and watch the whale roll about in the water. Every once in a while it let out some steam and the sound of that was just incredible; you know the sound that comes out from the iron when you’re ironing your clothes with steam? – well that sound but a great deal louder. And the dolphin was quite a bonus. Once it jumped really high up in the air and everybody where like “WAU”.

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Posted by AnnaMickus 18:43 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

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