After a night’s stay off the side of the road near Rio Gallegos, Cédric and I drove northward towards Monte Leon National Park. Once we approached the rangers’ office, we once again experienced the lingering effects of the rain we experienced in Chile. The dirt roads in the park were also washed out. So were the roads into the petrified forest national park (our plan B).
So, in exasperation, we pushed on more northwards, hoping to get a sizeable portion of road out of the way. We figured that the fishing village of Camarones and the Cabo Dos Bahias National Park were surely not affected by the rain. There, we were hoping to see a large colony of Magellanic penguins. But first, we came across a large group of sea lions on our way north, near Caleta Olivia- the males are particularly ugly in real life and make constant belching noises (just like my brothers) .
As we found out the next morning, the dirt roads to the Cabos dos Bahias were also closed. So we moved northward again. Luckily, the Punta Tombo National Park was close by (only 200 km), where nearly 1 million penguins come to nest and mate each year. There, we saw more juvenile Magellanic penguins since the parents had already gone off to sea for the season. The juveniles are on land until they finish molting, teaching themselves swimming and fishing techniques for their big 4 month swim at sea.
After hanging out with the animal life at Punta Tombo (rheas, llamas, armadillos, and other bird species were there as well), Cédric and I drove north to Puerto Madryn to check out the Valdes Peninsula.
For two full days, we traveled around the peninsula to see more wildlife. Because we were so inspired by the animal life and wanted to preserve the nature, Cédric even found time to rescue a llama that was stuck in a wire fence. In addition to more sea lions and penguins, the island is also a place where orcas, elefant seals, and whales are known to mate and feed. The second day on the peninsula, the wind was so strong that it ripped Cédric’s pants as we were exploring the pink salt flats.