We did it!
Our first MAJOR expenditure for this trip – an excursion to the Peninsula Valdes.
The highlight? To get up close and personal with the Southern Right Whales… although we were promised PROBABLE sightings of elephant seals, orcas, dolphins, penguins, rheas, and vicuñas (it’s ok… I didn’t really know what the last two were either)… IF we are lucky…
We probably should have been a bit more wary about the number of disclaimers the tour agency placed before we bought the tour package.(More on this in the next post…)
The day started off well enough. We left (VERY) early in the morning to catch the sunrise along Playa Doradillo. Any bitching we might have wanted to do about waking up at 530 in the morning was wiped away the moment we stepped off the tour van and onto the playa (beach).
Without trying too hard, we counted at least 12 whales along the beach front and they all seemed to be having a (hur hur) whale of a time frolicking and making silly leaps out of the water. According to our guide, that is the whale’s way of playing and communicating.
It’s quite unbelievable how close the whales were to the shoreline.
We were able to see seagulls trying to land on the whales to feed on the whale fat/blubber/micro organisms living on the skin on the whales. And after a while, the whales would invariably use various methods to flick them off like a grumpy old man fanning off pesky flies. Then the seagulls would try to land on them again and again… it was strangely mesmerizing to watch.
The thing about Peninsula Valdes is that it’s an outcrop in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This creates a gulf (the Golfo Nuevo) which acts as a shelter of calm in the midst of the choppy and predator-filled Atlantic Ocean.
This creates a perfect place for the Southern Right Whale to mate and rear their calves. Incidentally, this also created the perfect place to be if you are forced to wake up at 530 in the morning…