If you have been reading this blog long enough, you’d know that I am not the biggest fan of museums… especially those of the arty farty variety. And ever since the awesome dinosaur museum in Cordoba, I’ve kinda been in two minds about museums of “natural history”.
On the one hand…. DINOSAURS…. on the other… walking amongst the carcasses make me feel like I should be in a black tuxedo and that there should be someone chanting Buddhist mantras in the background.
But we figured that while we were in Puerto Madryn, we should do some “research” about the infamous Southern Right Whales before we go on the (SUPER EXPENSIVE) ocean safari to Peninsula Valdes.
And that’s the whole reason why we took a (very short) bus ride to the Provincial Museum of Natural Science and Oceanography. (Somehow I don’t think museum curators are the best people to come up with “snazzy” names)
The main focus of the museum is, of course, on the “stars” of Puerto Madryn – the Southern Right Whales. For as long as people remember, these magnificent creatures have been calling at Puerto Madryn during their mating/birthing season. This provided marine biologists with a lot of opportunities to study these leviathans up close and do very thorough research on their habits and behavior. The museum is where they present the findings of their research to the public in simple-to-understand terms…. or at least I think that’s what they are trying to do… most of the displays were in Spanish and we couldn’t understand them…
Of course, beside the Southern Right Whales, other parts of the museum has extensive features on the other celebrity wildlife that frequent Peninsula Valdes (just around the corner from Puerto Madryn) such as elephant seals, penguins, seals and orcas….
These exhibits including one particularly disturbing video of how orcas “hunt” baby seals for food. *SPOILER ALERT*: they beach themselves so they can swallow the newborn seals. Other techniques include flinging the baby seals into the air and catching it in their mouths… gruesomely impressively.
*DISTURBING IMAGES AHEAD*
What we really like though, is that outside of the rather “heavy” scientific facts (again, we are still guessing here, because we don’t understand Spanish that well), there is a very strong and consistent message about conservation and preservation throughout the museum. It was obvious enough that even non Spanish speakers like ourselves cannot help but be knocked (hard) on the head by them.
And the best part of all this? After the 2 hour or so browsing through the exhibits (it’d probably take a Spanish speaker twice as long), we were treated to a panoramic view of the Puerto Madryn basin where TONNES of Southern Right Whales (I just realized I kinda mean that quite literally… hur hur) frolic/wave/flip.jump in the sea…