Back up the coast into warmer weather we took a day tour to Peninsula Valdes to see the sea lion colony and masses of Magellanic Penguins. Apparently Darwin found this landscape to be the most memorable of all of his travels.We couldn’t figure out why, unless he’d never before come across miles of undulating desert scrubland.What we saw was a flattish, dry, brown expanse, with slender Guanacos jumping across the highway, Argentina’s version of the llama.
Peninsula Valdes is one of only two places in the world where you can see Orcas on land. At high tide when the Elephant Seal pups are in their fat and vulnerable prime, Orcas ride the water up on to the shore to ‘strand’ themselves and grab ahold of a pup to take back to their pod. Unfortunately we did not see this, as Elephant Seal calving season had just passed, and they were not on the beach. We did see large numbers of sausage-like Southern Sea Lions lounging on the beach, with a few hefty males lumbering towards the water.
We also saw a Magellanic Penguin metropolis – Jackass Penguins, as they are also known (closely resembling their South African cousins, who I’ve seen outside of Cape Town), were in abundance. Nestled in gravelly burrows, under little scrub bushes, waddling towards the beach, some sleeping, some fighting, some babies and some adults.