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Published: November 18th 2013
View from the first lookout
November 2013 (Odyssey Day 4)
It was a nice lazy start to the day today. Our tour of the Peninsula Valdes didn’t start until 1000. Quite a lay-in for most, although very few managed to sleep that long! The camp is nice and apart from the dogs that seem to live around the camp, it is pretty peaceful. There is a largish group of kids in the camp but they are not up early. Probably because they go to bed so late at night!! They seem to eat at around the time some of our group start going to bed…
It’s much dryer here at this camp also, without the condensation in the mornings. The washing I hung out last night near the tent was completely dry this morning. It was surprisingly easy to get back into the habit of hand washing everything. Hopefully I can keep on top of it all, especially since I don’t have all that many clothes to start with…
We had a guided tour of the reserve today. It was about one hour drive out to
the Peninsula Valdes, where the reserve is. There are a few stations on the reserve but otherwise it is world heritage listed. You can see many animals and birds there and it is where the whale watching boats leave from. We spent the whole day on the peninsula. Our guide was really good, and certainly knew a lot about the area.
We stopped first at Istmo Ameghino and had a look in the little museum they had at the information centre there. I walked up the small tower they had as a view point and you can see quite a way from there. It’s quite a beautiful coast, whether you can see penguins and seals or not.
In the museum they had a skeleton of a whale. I didn't think it was all that large, but the shape is very interesting! The skeleton of the head is a fascinating one.
Driving to see the penguins we also saw Guanacos, which are from the same family as llama’s, and rheas (Choiques), which look a lot like Emu’s. Apparently the Choiques
male incubates the eggs after up to 10 females lay eggs in the nest. He can have around 40 chicks with him when they hatch!! The one we saw had 8, as they fall prey to puma’s and sometimes foxes too, neither of which we saw today. We even saw an Armadillo running across the road. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture, so hopefully we see another one soon. They are a small solid looking animal and move surprisingly fast.
The Magellanic Penguins were burrowing, which means the pairs take turns staying in the burrow with the eggs, and going out to sea to fish. We saw quite a few while we were there, most of them in their little dens. One had actually made its den under the edge of the boardwalk, which had subsequently been sectioned off.
At our lunch stop at Punta Cantor there is a lookout spot where you could watch the elephant seals on the beach below. The colony there was not as big now since most of the large males have left with the end of the
mating season. The males can go for up to 3 months without eating at this time, so once the season is over they have to go and eat before they lose too much fat and therefore energy. They head out a long way to eat, as they prefer to eat squid rather than fish.
These seals are large ones, and the males can get up to 5m long and weigh 5000kg. I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with one of them. The females are somewhat smaller.
After lunch we headed off to Punta Piramide to see a colony of Sea lions, or Sea Wolves as they call them here. From above, you could look down and see the colony on a ledge below. Today they seemed to be sunning themselves. You could see some pups too, clearly a lot smaller than the others.
And here we had our first group photo – after spending a day in the sun and wind of the peninsula, I’m sure we all looked great!
we headed to Puerto Piramides, where half the group went on a Whale watching boat trip for 2 hours while the rest of us spent some time wandering around town. I found the local fire station, as well as the hospital, which consisted of a relatively new looking ambulance in front of a very small old building.
It was a nice little town to wait for the rest of the group in. When they got back, they had clearly really enjoyed themselves.
We headed back to camp late and only just made it back before the sun went down. Everyone had had a great day though and we all stayed up late chatting. Today I think really broke the ice and everyone is now starting to get to know each other a bit more.
November 2013 (Odyssey Day 5)
Another sleep in this morning. And it really was a lazy morning for me! Before breakfast, I went for a walk up the
hill from our camp site. You can see the town from there and it sits on a bay. There are a couple of very long jetties, apparently one is for cruise ships and the other is for local vessels, including all the squid ships.
I managed to see some South American rodents while I was walking, though I’m still trying to figure out which ones they were. They looked a bit like little guinea pigs or chipmunks, and were probably Cuis Chico’s as far as I can tell.
A free day today, so after breakfast everyone went their own way, most people heading into town to look around. I went for a walk around the campsite and sorted through my photos. For only a few days into the trip, I had quite a few of them!
Our next couple of camps will be bush camps, so we make the most of the showers while we can!
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