Ballenas y Pengüinos y Delfines, Oh My!

23 Sep

Wikipedia tells me that Patagonia is “ a geographic region containing the southernmost portion of South America. Patagonia is located in Argentina and Chile; it comprises the southernmost portion of the Andes mountains to the west and south, and plateaux and low plains to the east.” However, what it fails to mention is just how freaking amazing it is. Last weekend I had the fortune of having Friday, Monday, and Tuesday off from classes, so clearly living in such an amazing country with so much to offer, I decided to take a trip. To Patagonia. Best decision of my life? Quizas.

I stayed in Puerto Madryn, which a quick Google search will tell you is the home of the ballenas. Or, more specifically, the Southern Right Whale. However, that is not the only thing that the area has to offer. Puerto Madryn is located just off of the Peninsula Valdes, which happens to offer more whales than Puerto Madryn, some sea lions, some dolphins, and…..SOME PENGUINS. Blew my mind, too. So, being the adventurer that I obviously am, I went and saw all of the above.

Holy smokes. The guides on our boat trip to see the ballenas said that we were extremely lucky the day that we went out, and I am going to blame it on the universe wanting to right the wrong of me losing my phone on the bus ride. But regardless of how we got so lucky, it was an amazing experience. First, there were tons of whales. Tons. Second, they came right up to the boat. Like, I totally could have touched one if I really wanted to. Third, we saw a ballena blanca. A completely white whale! Like, as in albino. Our guides said that it was super rare to see and they hadn’t even seen many! And, lastly, we saw a mother ballena and a baby ballena! She had her tail up in the air for a good 5 minutes straight, and the baby kept putting his head above the water, blowing water out, and then jumping down and trying to get his tail to stay up just like hers! Probably the most adorable thing I have ever witnessed in my life. And I have pictures.

But as amazing and wonderful and beautiful as the ballenas were, I don’t think they could touch my pengüinos. I’m sure that I’m being completely biased here, because I will probably never in my life experience something as amazing as those whales, but pengüinos are one of my favourite animals in the world, and there were hundreds of thousands of them there! And that was only 40% of the amount that will be there soon! ¡Increíble! We saw them at Punta Tombo, which is where up to about a million Magellanic Pengüinos go to mate during the season. They were so freaking adorable. And the best part was that, while you aren’t allowed to leave the trail that is partitioned off (either by a small rope or just rocks that follow a path – not much at all), the pengüinos are allowed to go wherever they want, including that very same path. And that they did. I was legit within a foot of a pengüinos at least a half dozen times! Can you say awesome? Because it was freaking wonderful. I kneeled down to take a picture with one of them (I later named him Matthew. I tried Donald first, but he didn’t react well to that one), and he looked over at me like a puppy, with his head cocked to the side, as if saying “Who is this freak with the sunglasses and why is she giggling so much?”

We also got to see a couple sea lions and dolphins and seals while we were there, which was a very nice extra to come across. Those dolphins are fast and small, though! It was casi impossible to get a picture of any of them! Totally a great way to end the trip, though. Well, almost end the trip… We did end up having some trouble with our bus on the way back home. One of my friends had to buy a new ticket with about 5 minutes before we were leaving the station because she had booked her original on the wrong date, and then the suspension of our bus fell off in the middle of the road at around midnight. Yes, I did say that the suspension just fell off. In the road. In middle of nowhere Patagonia. With snow on the ground. At midnight. Needless to say, it was an eventful end to an amazing vacation.

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