17.07.2014 - 21.07.2014 20 °C
After another overnight bus we got to Puerto Madryn, which is a little town on the Atlantic coast of Argentina...about 18 hours from Buenos Aires. We were prepared for the coldest weather we ve had so far, but when we got off the bus we were welcomed with a bright sunrise and lovely weather. A quick walk and we could check into the hostel, to find out, that we had booked a perfect space for the next days with really helpful, friendly staff and a lovely common space. After the first few little arguments (Rob would say after I tried telling him what to do ) we decided to have a snooze and make a fresh start in the afternoon. We decided to walk down to the beach and onto the pier thinking that we had found a nice place for a few chilled days when the place suddenly became better when Rob nearly pushed me over the pier fence for screaming "There...there, I ve seen one". Our first whale....not from very close, but it was there! That afternoon we saw lots more, jumping and water blow outs and even a seal that got lost swimming around the pier.
For our second day we had decided to book a whale watching tour in Puerto Pyramides...which is a sleepy tiny village on the Peninsula Valdes (the nature reserve that belongs to Puerto Madryn). With the obligatory being late and dirorganised, we managed to hop on the local bus (obviously paying the gringo price, but still less than getting a tour bus) and had an hours joy of a bumpy, stoney and dusty road. In Puerto Pyramides it wasn t really hard to find our way around as there s pretty much nothing there apart from tour offices, a beach and of course a cafe. we booked a tour for 12 and got really exited...Rob was probably more happy about the big yellow life vest that made him look like the killer from "I know what you ve done last summer" When the tour started, the whales were there,,,no doubts, but after 30 minutes I could tell by Robs face, that he thought the same as I..."This isn t really close and have we blown up money?" The whales were amazing but too far away really. Our guide finally decided, that we had to go out further to get the real experience and so we got a nice little wave jumping tour after which half of the people were probably sick, however that didnt matter anymore because of happened next. Out of a sudden there they were...the biggest, calmest and probably friendliest animals on the world. Swimming around the boat, blowing out the water and playing with each other. Rob and I were more than lucky, when the one that started swimming under the boat decided to give us a little welcome blow half a meter in front of us. He (or she???) held the massive head out of the water and looked at us like he d come out for a little kiss. The boat stayed around there for a while, before we left with the probably biggest smile ever on our faces. Seeing this massive animal just below the boat, being even bigger than the boat was just unbelievable...crazy. What a day...worth every single Peso we had been thinking about before.
This being so amazed we decided to do anther tour, that we both were really keen on...seeing the elephant seals... (yes..the big roaring and fighting ones.) . We left early (well at 8) in the morning and were driven to a lighthouse on the cliffs about 90 km south of Puerto Madryn. We werent sure where we were being driven and if we would survive the nonexistent road we got there and Luiz, our brilliant tour guide show us how to climb like a mountain goat..down the cliff to the beach. He brought us up the the colony on the beach and it was amazing how close we got. Along the beach the elephant seals where rolling around, sneezing and welcoming us with a fat burp (even Rob was impressed ). There were young ones aswell as bigger males and they started fighting and pushing each other around which was amazing to watch. The animals weren t disturbed my us at all and I got as close as a meter, looking into their huge black eyes. Luiz told us a lot about the seals, showed us pieces of their skin that we found on the beach and we even found an Orca tooth. (they come here for hunting the seal babies later n the season). After a pretty tough climb bak up we went home and even saw some Ostriches on the way. The day had a good start and the finish could not have been better than with some cheese, bread and a bottle of the wine that we had brought from Buenos Aires. Obviously it didn t become just one bottle....so some time later and a few cocktails in Puertos only bar more we found ourselfes with a hangover and a long lie in next morning. We still had half the day, packed the new lunch box (yes, we re really proud oweners of 2 massive boxes to pack everything thats for free) and took a taxi to a beach 20 km north of Madryn. We had been told, the whales come really close at high tide and we expected to have a nice view for a little time, but ended up staying there for 3 hours. The whales were swimming right in front of your...5 mters from the beach, you can see them rolling and sunbathing in the water and when you hear a mum telling of the calk with a deep roaring voice it s just amazing and so adorable. There were more than 20 animals really close and even more in the back and we had the best possible last day in Madryn. Happy and still really tired we caught our bus at 7 next morning (first time without trouble) and started the 24 hours travel with a good sleep.