Updated: May 27
his post is the fourth in a series of posts (maybe 5) about our Long Journey to the bottom of the world and back. The first post takes you from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia Argentina at the southern most tip of South America. It is mainly comprised of Sea Day photos and Photos from our day in Tierra Del Fuego (Land of Fire), the UNESCO site which is part of Patagonia. The second post begins at Cape Horn, travels across the Drake Passage to Antarctica, through the Schollart Channel, Paradise Bay & around Elephant Island, where we saw Glaciers, Icebergs, Snow, Big Sky and very COLD water! The third post hopped over to the Falkland Islands where we visted with King and Gentoo Penguins and did an Architectural walking tour.
Puerto Madryn Argentina
This post will skip another sea day in our journey, and cruise directly over to Puerto Madryn Argentina.
We caught another sunrise from the ship as we sailed in to Puerto Madryn - but wait until you see the sunset! It was even more AMAZING!.
Every day the TV displays our position on a map along with the line indicating our path of travel - which we enjoy.
On this day we docked at a very long pier. We could have gotten a shuttle ride to shore but we chose to walk. We were headed to our "Distinctive Voyages complimentary shore excursion". "Distinctive Voyages" are a collection of hosted cruise vacations filled with BONUS amenities and perks - offered when you book through our agency who puts you in the group. These Cruises always include one very nice free shore excursion. Learn more here.
Some of our group took the shuttle while the rest of us walked, but we all met at the bus that was waiting in a parking lot shoreside of the pier.
We would be traveling out to a UNESCO World Heritage Site - Peninsula Valdes, just north of the port on a map.
We had two Distinctive Voyage hosts, a woman and her adult son. One had ridden the shuttle bus and the other walked in order to host all members of the group. Rob and I have a new Gig as DV Hosts. We will do our first cruise as such at the end of May - Holland America Line - 11 Nights - Legends of the Fjords. You can find cruises that we will host in the future on the "Travel With an Architect" tab on the menu bar! We hope you will join us one day!
After all were accounted for by the hosts, the bus headed north through the town along the waterfront. There were some really cute residential properties there! I like the white one on the left that I almost missed with the photo!
It has top floor outdoor space - how luxurious!
We drove for about a half an hour north through the countryside, and then we turned right. At the entrance to the park we stopped at the gate and each of us was given a ticket for admission. ANOTHER UNESCO SITE! WOW! We always encourage our clients to seek these out - they are guaranteed to be fabulous!
Just past the entrance we could see water on both sides of the road, so apparently we were at the narrowing of the land. With our ticket we had also received a nice map!
We began to see "Guanacos" which are native to South America and closely related to a Llama. The bus driver was really nice and slowed way down when there were Guanacos in view. They are usually seen in herds. Rob caught this one jumping a fence! They jump high and run fast!
Our first stop was the visitor center, which had a lookout tower - and a long line for the womens bathroom.
As evidenced by this photo - Rob must have climbed the tower while I was in line for the bathroom.. You should always take the potty breaks when you get them because you never know when the next one will be.
After looking around a bit we re-boarded the bus and continued on to the first wildlife viewing point.
First Stop - Sea Lions
All throughout the peninsula were built walkways with guardrails for viewing over the steep cliffs.
We could walk out one way, then the other. At first all you see are piles of rocks.
And then you realize that the rocks are among the Sea Lions.
I think we smelled them before we saw them. Peee-uuuu.. Make sure your sound is on for the video - so you can hear them roar!
Below you see the piles of Mama Sea Lions and their pups. Sea Lions are marine mammals.
The Pups are born dark brown with their eyes open and they can vocalize. Within 30 minutes they are able to shake, groom, scratch, and walk. They feed on mothers milk and small fish for about the first year. The shallow waters are used for puppy swim practice.
Sea Lions are quite playful.
Celia, the Naturalist on the Celebrity Infinity ship, suits up in dive gear and swims with Sea Lions here at Puerto Madryn!
"Maybe NEXT TIME" I say! I mean we are in Patagonia and the water is likely COLD!
What a pretty day it was - back to the bus and on to the next stop. Here is some scenery from the bus window. We had much cleaner windows on this day!
Next Stop - Los Pinguinos de la Magallanes!
Magellanic Penguins in English.
The Megellanic penguins are nesters, who maintain a hole in the cliff as a nest, year after year with the same partner. Since they were walking up the hill to their nests we got an up close view of a few, and some really nice video! Check it out.
I suppose these are mates. Maybe there are two eggs under him/her. A Megellanic penguin will have two clutches of two eggs each per year.
It was awkward taking pics of the nests since the walkway was behind them.. Our Distinctive Voyage host Dale Mazzola got this picture of the penguin actually in the hole.
Here is another pair down by the water. Magellanic penguins are monogomous and return year after year together, to the same nest for breeding.
Two pair at the waters edge. Maybe they are waiting for parents to bring food. I have a video shot just after this timestamp of a feeding.
This hill from a distance was peppered with penguin nests. They burrow into the soil usually under a bush or grasses. You can see them down at the water wading or waiting..
In this video you can see how they waddle up the hill. Sound on for an impressive howling at the beginning and end.
Because of this the "Organization For The Conservation of Penguins", located in Chile, Argentina, and the Falkland Islands, offers an opportunity to adopt a penguin for $59 a year. You can name your penguin and receive regular updates and photos of him or her. You also get a map showing where your penguin lives, in case you want to visit. You will receive 8 updates a year and even photos of your penguin's chicks. What a perfect gift for the penguin lover who has everything else!
Back on the bus headed for the last stop.
This is a typical walkway. You gotta love the footings - a 50 gallon drum of concrete.
Yes - you did need that nice LONG ZOOM LENS that you see the guy with! As you can barely see the Elephant Seals below. They are lounging by the water.
A zoom with my iphone 14 Pro got me this - not bad.
The Elephant Seals are also called Southern Elephant Seals or Sea Elephants. They come to Peninsula Valdes during the reproductive season. Peninsula Valdes is the only continental colony of this species, and hosts around 20,000 sea elephants during this time. Click to learn more about this fascinating animal.
Apparently we were supposed to be looking for Orca too! An Orca is a smaller, toothed whale, a member of the dolphin family nicknamed "Killer Whale" by ancient sailors who witnessed them preying on larger whale species.
After this trip I decided that I don't have the patience to stare at the sea long enough to see a whale of any sort. I will just rely on luck and on being in the right place at the right time, which did not happen this cruise, while at sea or on shore. We were teased a couple of times in Antarctica but never got a "show".
Some Flora and Fauna
It looks to be a type of seedum. But I'm not able to specifically identify it.
These are just a little different. This little guy below was having a snack.
It looks like a large wild gerbil! It didn't care about me, much. My daughter says it's a Capybara - if so it must be a baby. It was smaller than a squirrel and larger than a chipmunk. What do you think it is? Post in comments.
The photo is pretty but honestly I can't tell you for sure what those are. By the end of the day it all looks very similar.
On the way back to the ship we saw a few Darwin's Rhea. A flightless bird native to South America! Looks like an Ostrich but is much smaller.
And a couple of wild horses. All on the Peninsula Valdes where all the wildlife is protected!
If you thought this was a fabulous shore excursion - reach out to your favorite travel agent next time you book. Request any one of many "Destinctive Voyages" that are offered through them. Here is the description of the excursion we received. The host had left it in our mail clip, on our stateroom door.
It was FREE - and the BEST VALUE EVER!
As we returned to Puerto Madryn we had a nice view of the ship.
Before we walked the long pier we stopped at one of just a few shops that were open. We bought some things from this cute couple.
They could tell you (in spanish of course) the names of all the different stones that were used in their jewelry.
The pink stone shown below is Rhodochrosite, Argentina's "national gemstone".
This pretty piece in the middle below - came home with ME!
Soon we were back on the ship and sailing away - out of Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf).
My date and I had dinner. Note: it's still light out! We were there for South America Summer!
After dinner it was a Blue Suit kind of night for Alejandro! Who introduced our favorite entertainer of the cruise for his second show.
Please welcome back Salvatore Hasard - one of the best entertainers I've seen on a ship yet! I'm sure you will enjoy this very unique arrangement of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.
You can follow him on Instagram to see what ship he might be on next!
After the show we were treated to this very unusual Sunset!
This SUNSET makes it easilty in to the top 10 Sunsets of my LIFE! What a beautiful way to end a wonderful day!
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