Day 291: Puerto Madryn – Argentina – April 4th

There are two main sites around Puerto Madryn, and one of them would be the penguin colony we’ll be visiting today. After our rendezvous with penguins in the Antarctic, we’ve grown fond of these flightless birds and really can’t get enough of their wacky ways.

Driving an hour or so along similar Patagonian terrain, we reached Punta Tombo, a massive colony of Magellanic penguins. The national park, like most of Argentina’s parks, are well organized with good facilities to make sure everyone obeys their place in nature. Strolling through the museum, we got some good info of the variety of penguin species and their distribution within the southern hemisphere.

The location is rather strange though, as we’re used to seeing penguins with backdrops of glaciers and -2C water. These penguins are actually nesting on dirt, which resembles something similar to a desert? At first, we were rather excited to see penguins again, despite the strange desert landscape, it was still cool to see so many penguins nesting and molting.

After a while….we realized something we’ve never felt before…. We aren’t fond of these penguins! The inquisitive, crazy and cute penguins we’ve been seeing, walking clumsily around aren’t the same types of penguins as these guys! Sure, they still walk rather comically, but their temperament and colour schemes just doesn’t seem to work. They were still really cool penguins, and even now when the nesting season is almost over, there were still thousands of penguins lining the whole mountain side! During peak nesting season, this place is literally jammed packed with penguins from shore to peak!

Returning back to Puerto Madryn after a less than enthusiastic day visiting the penguins, we decided to take an afternoon detour to another Welsh colony of Gaimon, where there are several tea-houses…. =) Unfortunately, the tea-houses don’t have the usual funky Argentine hours of operations, and by 7:30pm they seem to have closed for the day….. so we wasted about 2 hours worth of driving along garbage-laden highways. Oh well, what we did do was buy some incredibly awesome lomo from Carrefour, and grilled them at the hostel. Steaks are the best meals ready in 5minutes! Throw in a bottle of Argentine malbec, easily purchased at any fine supermarket for a worldly sum of $7-$9USD a bottle, makes any dinner a magical moment.

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