From Wales to Whales   Leave a comment

Saturday 15th November 2014

From Trelew it’s a short hop north-west to Puerto Madryn on the Atlantic coast. We find a suite with two rooms and sea view in the lovely Hotel Yanco and spend the rest of the day exploring the town as well as our options to go whale watching on Sunday. We could:

1) Book an all-inclusive tour – most secure and convenient but expensive, early (7.30 hrs – and they only start serving breakfast at 8.00 in our hotel!) and a full and very long day.

2) Take the only public service to Puerto Pirámides and organise the ‘avistaje de ballenas’ ourselves – cheapest and latest option (the bus leaves at 9:45 hours) but highest risk of not getting spaces on the bus or the boat, missing crucial departure times for both, not getting anywhere else on the península and thus not seeing penguins, sea lions, orcas and the terrestrial wildlife.

3) Rent a car and go everywhere on our own – most independent and would also solve our problems with the onward journey (buses to Viedma seem to travel only during the night) but prices and lack of both availability and one-way options put a stop to these thoughts straight away.

After many hours of walking for miles and speaking to many people at tour agencies and the helpful tourist office, we decide that watching the whales is our priority, that we need our beauty sleep and breakfast and that we will therefore use the public transport the next day to get to the Península Valdés – in the hope there will still be spaces on one of the boats…

Panorama of Puerto Madryn

The pier

View from our (well, Johannes’s…) hotel room

 

Sunday 16th November 2014

We get seats on the bus without any problems and arrive in Puerto Pirámides on the Valdés Península in plenty of time to organise a whale watching trip with Whales Argentina, one of the recommended tour operators.

Whales Argentina have their office in a retired catamaran

Maybe we should cut down on the ice cream…

How the boats are launched

And off we go – with 60 other passengers on board

Whale ahoy!

A mother and her calf!

We are getting really close

Almost too close for comfort…

But the Ballena Franca Austral (Southern Right Whale) is a peaceful animal and mum and her offspring just dive under the boat and disappear in the distance.

Talking of distance, we have the privilege of seeing a female whale jumping five (5!) times into the air. Although she is quite far away the sight is still very impressive.

Two happy whale watchers

Far too soon the two-hours trip is over

Whales are everywhere in Puerto Pirámides

In the hours until the only return bus leaves, we explore the Fossil Coast

Fossils wherever you look

No effort spared to get the perfect shot

There is so much to see here…

… that you don’t always pay attention where you put your foot…

In the submarine you can watch the whales underwater

– but it comes at double the price of a normal tour

Occasionally you can take political correctness a bit too far…

Then Puerto Pirámides closes for the day and we return to Puerto Madryn

Patagonian sky

Men at work seem to be such a rare occurrence in Argentina that they have a special sign for them… 😉

For dinner we follow a recommendation of the South American Handbook and go to ‘Los Colones’

… a restaurant built into the wooden hull of a ship

… where they serve, of course, excellent fish

Another fantastic day – aren’t we some very lucky people?

 

Posted 22 November 2014 by Pumpy in Argentina, The 2014 Rucksack Trip

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