Whale Watching

1 December, 2009

Filed under: Everything else — Tags: — admin @ 2:01 am

Have you ever been close to a whale?

A whale is a very large animal, and lives in a very big ocean. there are only two ways we can get close to a sea-creature such as a whale: take a boat out into the sea and find one, OR, be in a place where whales come close to the shore… to you!

whale watching - peninsula valdes

Well organized boats take tourists out into the bay to get close to the whales, and there are plenty of whales out there. The lectures are good, the practices are proper and the whales are happy. We had a bonus with a albino calf and its mother allowing us to approach them, but we left in a hurry when the calf decided it wanted to watch us!

There are few places in the world where whales are found with regularity, and in numbers. One of them is the town of Hermanus, in South Africa, and the other the Peninsula Valdés, an odd-shaped peninsula in northern Patagonia, Argentina. Every year, some 2,000 Southern Right Whales Eubalaena australis congregate in Peninsula Valdés to breed and nurture their calves.

southern right whale - Puerto madryn

The pier at Puerto Madryn serves both as a landing point for the cruise ships, the cargo ships and the whale watchers. It’s a long pier, and in winter, it’s a cold pier. But the whales warm your heart and soul, if not your hands and nose. You can also see the occasional sea lion, a wandering penguin and those giant brown gliders that swoop past you – the Southern Giant Petrel. The aluminum smelter right next door has its own pier now.

Playa Doradillo

Just a short drive north of Puerto Madryn, this tranquil bay is a hotspot for tourists, and one cannot complain… really! Despite the steady stream of tourist vehicles, it is still most worth visiting, especially at sunset, when the crowds tend to disperse slightly. The whales come so close to the shore you find yourself standing there with the gentle surf wetting your jaw.

One of the three right whales in the genus Eubalaena, it gets its name from the olden days of whale-hunting, being the “right” whale to kill. Adult females grow to 18.5m, weighing 130 tons. In the town of Puerto Madryn, the whales come so close to the shore that you can watch them over breakfast from your hotel’s restaurant. Heading out to the pier brings you right up-close to these behemots, but taking a drive north to a secluded bay called Playa Doradillo is a truly special experience. Here you can stand on the pebble beach and have whales right in the surf next to you. You will never see a whale in the same light again, and will forever have been touched by a close encounter with the largest animal on our planet.

Whales may be the star attraction, but any ecologist in Patagonia will be overwhelmed by the history of this part of the world, where dinosaurs once roamed in numbers and diversity. The steppes come right down to the coast, and although it is all privately owned now, the regulatory practices within the park give hope to the still abundant wildlife here.

Whales may be the star attraction, but any ecologist in Patagonia will be overwhelmed by the history of this part of the world, where dinosaurs once roamed in numbers and diversity. The steppes come right down to the coast, and although it is all privately owned now, the regulatory practices within the park give hope to the still abundant wildlife here.

If you spent all your money flying first class to get here, and have none left, then stay in one of the beach-front hotels – you can still see the whales while tucking into the cheapest breakfast. Its worth a walk too… its free!

If you spent all your money flying first class to get here, and have none left, then stay in one of the beach-front hotels – you can still see the whales while tucking into the cheapest breakfast. Its worth a walk too… its free!

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