Argentina has a big piece of my heart.
I spent a good two months living and travelling around the country, learning spanish, dancing, partying and getting into nature. Honestly I felt like I didn't even scratch the surface. I didn't even get out to Mendoza the wine growing region famous for its Malbec red wine. Seriously what was I thinking.
However I did get to Patagonia, it was a long 40 hour bus ride to get there. So after living for six weeks in the beautiful Buenos Aires and a trip up to the stunningly beautiful Iguazu waterfalls I was bound for Patagonia...first stop Puerto Madryn.
After 2 grueling days on a bus, the fresh air of the Atlantic coastal town was beautiful, and that is probably an understatement.
Puerto Madryn's main tourist attraction is Peninsula Valdes. One hour on a bus and you arrive at the world heritage site. The famous nature reserve is home to many different marine and bird life. I was here to see the whales. The bus dropped us in the peninsulas only town, Puerto Pirámides. Founded in 1898 and home to just under 500 residents the quaint seaside village is one of the premier whale watching destinations in the world.
Around 2000 recorded Southern right whales are known in the peninsula. This became evident as we suited up in life jackets and headed out to sea. My boat consisted of mainly French tourists eager to catch a glimpse of these gigantic mammals. I was lucky enough to secure a seat at the top of the boat, this meant a clear view of the ocean and more importantly, the whales.
We weren't the only boat in the cove and there were plenty of whales to go around. The friendly creatures played around the boats showing off their tails and peering a us from the ocean. Most of the time we found a male and female pair frolicking in the deep blue. They seemed just as curious as us.
Sea gulls also accompanied the gentle species. Over the past 15 years they have been observed feeding on the live whales. Pecking down into the whales blubber the birds leave open wounds in the baby whales leading to infection and sometimes death. The overpopulation of gulls is thought to have come from increasing open garbage pits in the area.
Disembarking the boat my French friend and I made our way to the overlooking cliff. Here we spent the afternoon watching the whales play. We enjoyed the Argentinian tradition of drinking maté a herbal drink topped with hot water and shared amongst friends.
The calving southern right whale mothers come to Puerto Pirámides all year round. Most of them can be found in this peninsula however a day later we watched from the beach of Puerto Madryn. To our surprise we saw them playing here too. Only 200m from shore jumping through the air. The sun warmed our souls as we sat on the sand.
Hours later we boarded the bus to begin the next adventure and another next magical place. Patagonia, El Calafate and the Moreno glacier awaited.
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