Penguins? No Penguins?


Turn of events! After breakfast we were told the weather was not good for a landing at Magdalena Island, so we’d probably miss out on penguin spotting this trip. But Patti, our guide had a hunch and had our bus sit outside the ferry operator’s office and bugged them to keep checking until the deadline hour.

It paid off! The seas had calmed enough for two ferries to take off for the island. We hurried to the harbor through some mildly choppy water for an hour.

We and about 50 other people joined a few thousand penguins and other birds on this amazing piece of earth.

We interrupted an important looking meeting, but they welcomed us never-the-less.
Lunch plans! Anchovy and squid take-out.

After a great hour making friends we re-board the ferry to head for an island a half hour further away to bond with sea lions. But, the sea had gotten so rough that I spilled a hot cup of coffee right onto Marsha’s seat (thankfully missing other passengers – and Marsha who was not seated yet). It was so bad that the captain decided to head on back to where we started, serving pisco sours (Chile’s national alcoholic drink – and Peru’s) to keep the passengers minds off the churning seas. It worked! Laughter, singing, and not one seasick person.

We headed off on the long journey north to Puerto Natale, our next stop in the Chilean part of our Patagonia experience. We drive straight through the heart of Patagonia. We keep pulling over with surprise sightings of Ostrich-like Rheas (this one a Darwin rhea we believe – Rhea Goldman, these are for you), and…

A fox
Even, yes, flamingos…plus condors soaring overhead, and beautiful, endless expanses of prairie/tundra type landscape. Now heading for the tree line and the mountains.
On and on and on…maybe came across three cars in three hours.
Another incredible sight along the way were these long stretches of trees, half trees and branches all bone white and barren appearing. It turns out this entire area of Patagonia was deforested by fire and man, and never re-forested. Now a white lichen is living on the remains. A very eerie sight.

Our long ride ended in the quaint little town of Puerto Natales on the shore of Ultimate Esperanza Sound. It’s where we’d continue our journey across the enormous Patagonian wilderness. The view above is toward tomorrow’s journey up the Sound to O’Higgins National Park and glacier.

A briefing, pisco sour cocktails and dinner at the hotel to make ready for the catamaran voyage starting early the next morning. Wear layers. The weather is crazy, changing in minutes several times a day.

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6 Responses to Penguins? No Penguins?

  1. Linda Reid says:

    How cool!

  2. Mark Bilak says:

    I haven’t seen that lighthouse, Joel, but I think you did an excellent job of documenting it for me! Thanks!

  3. Ma says:

    A wonderful travelogue! I feel like I was almost there myself. What an amazing experience to see the penguins and the incredible landscape. Thank you so much for sharing all this, it’s just amazing and inspiring.

  4. Sue Sholtis says:

    I am so happy that you got to see them. While on a South American Cruise, it was too rough to get there. We did see a lot of stuffed Penguins in the gift shops on the ship. Great to have the persistent guide.

  5. Rhea Goldman says:

    I was told some of my relatives from Poland escaped WWII by moving to South America, but I didn’t think it was to Patagonia!

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