Thursday, 25 September 2008

Penguins, Whales, Wales and Cake

We left BA on Friday 19th September and headed down to Puerto Madryn, Patagonia by bus. The buses here rule (think National Express Rapide from the mid 80´s...... fortunately it´s nothing like that), we opted for first class tickets (it is our honeymoon after all) where the seats actually turn into proper flat beds, which is essential in such a massive country where travelling anywhere takes ages.

As we neared the outskirts of Puerto Madryn at midday on the Saturday (1300km´s from BA approx) we could just about see the sea between the houses, and I was totally convinced that I´d seen a whale just off the coast. Jo was telling me to be not so ridiculous and my mind cast back to when I was about 12 on holiday with my Mum, Dad and brother in Tenerife. My Mum was convinced she´d seen a dolphin from our apartment balcony so ushered us all down to the rocks to scour the sea for about an hour, no dolphin to be seen. Anyway, after checking in to our hostel we took a stroll down to the seafront to be completely floored by the sight of loads of whales about 500 yards off the beach! We walked down the pier to get a closer look and it was truly incredible. Each year loads of Southern Right Whales come to this huge gulf as it´s quite protected, an awesome sight.

We arranged to do a boat trip to get a closer look at the whales from nearby Peninsula Valdes which is a big protected national park area. We managed to get fairly close to some whales and they were huge. We also saw some elephant seals, one of whom who had just given birth, on the beach. We were sure we could hear David Attenborough´s voice as we were witnessing all of this. We had a cool guide called Daniel who was a cross between an old, overweight Rafa Nadal and the late Steve Irwin, unfortunately I didn´t get a picture so you´ll have to use your imagination for that one.

The next day we visited Punta Tombo which is home to the largest colony of Magellanic Penguins (approx 175,000) outside of Antartica, once again accompanied by Rafa/Steve. Incredible to see so many penguins, and some walk half a mile inshore to make their nests!

Later in the day we went to Gaiman which was established by some Welsh settlers in the late 1800´s (they still speak and teach the language there). We had tea and cakes in a Welsh tea house which felt pretty surreal, we were served by a lady who spoke Spanish with a slight Welsh accent which made the experience even more strange!

After a few days there, we´ve now just arrived in Ushuaia in Tierro del Fuego after a mammoth 31 hour bus extravaganza (now imagine THAT on a National Express Rapide bus). We´ll update again soon with more news.

Hope all´s well back home.

Lots of love.

Mr and Mrs Mason x


Anastácio Soberbo said...

Hello, I like this blog.
Sorry not write more, but my English is not good.
A hug from Portugal

Mr and Mrs Mason said...

Thanks Anastacio!
Al and Jo x