Peninsula Valdez, Argentina


We push north along the eastern coast of Argentina from San Julian to Comodoro Rivadavia.  An incredibly kind local rider, Pedro, has offered us a place to stay in his home.  He reached out to me a few weeks ago and gave us an open invitation and we dropped him a line.  We make plans to go to his house the next day after a single night in San Julian as we head north toward Peninsula Valdes, a wildlife sanctuary further north.

The next morning we get a message from our friends from Song of the Road, Sam and Erica.  They are already at the peninsula and have been going each day to Punta Norte in hopes of seeing the orcas who are in peak season of seal hunting right now. The conditions have to be just right, as do the tides, and we have only two chances left to see the possible hunt for the remainder of the month.

The orcas near Peninsula Valdes have taught themselves the unique and dangerous skill of “intentional stranding” in order to reach and catch sea lion pups on the edge of the water.  It’s a matter of life and death if they can’t get themselves back into the water in this crazy task, but I suppose, getting food is a matter of life and death for them too.

I feel so bad now for having arranged to stay at Pedro’s since we will only stay the one night and leave early the next morning. Very poor manners on my part for having so little time to get to know he and his lovely family more.  They are so gracious and feed us a wonderful dinner and host us in their home for the night.  I enjoy a little time with their two adorable small boys who remind me of my nephews back home.

We leave early the next morning to cover the 350 miles between CR and the peninsula by lunchtime. With poor wifi access the past few days we have a hard time communicating with Sam and Erica and I hope we are all on the same page.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Turns out we were, Sam and Erica were waiting for us near Puerto Piramides and we parked the bikes and hopped in with them.  How spoiled do I feel?! They fed us lunch snacks, fill us in on the local area, bring chairs and binoculars….

We arrive at the Punta Norte lot about an hour and a half before high tide.  The weather and conditions, according to our friends, are really good.  So fingers crossed. All I want is to see a killer whale, no need to eat a baby sea lion for my viewing pleasure.

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This peninsula has both elephant seals and sea lions. Punta Norte is packed with sea lions and lots of pups play and wobble along the beach.

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The pups are so adorable. I could watch them for hours. Groups of a few, and then pairs toddle off into the shallow surf to play and get stronger. Moms lay in the sun up out of the waters reach. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES   Nothing much happens. Just a relaxing day at the beach for everyone.

A pudgy pink armadillo trots along around the vehicles in the sandy parking lot looking for food.

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After a couple of hours of sea lion watching we give up on the orcas.  Obviously they didn’t get the memo. Perhaps another time.

We head back to the bikes at Puerto Piramides and then follow Sam and Erica to their beach camp site out on a remote beach.  We’ve stayed so long at Pinta Norte that the sun is fading fast and we ride the 9 miles of gravel and sand track in the dark, the dunes in complete darkness.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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We enjoy a couple of days on this gorgeous part of Argentina and get to share it with some wonderful people, Sam and Erica, of course, and Betti and John who are overlanding in a big rig they call Burt.

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The hiking and views are beautiful and are worth the fine layer of sand that covers everything we own.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES I spend an evening and most of a day with a tummy bug. Not the ideal time to be without a bathroom. And after my umpteenth trip to the bushes in the dunes I have a small pity party for myself and even a little cry. I’m tired and want a bed and a bath. I try to stay hydrated and take some meds that a friend offers up, which helps a lot. And by our second morning I’m highly motivated to get on the bike and get to civilization. We stop off at the museo on the way out of the park to see the exhibits and use the loo. Running water, what a treat.

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Wow, what an incredible place.

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