Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chile Day Two

Today we left our hotel with our cute little guide, Daniel and our driver Hugo at about 8 am and headed out to search for penguins at Seno Otway. We traveled north a bit and then look a left and drove down a long dirt road. On the way we saw animals that are a cross between an alpaca and a llama - they we cute. But I felt sad for them because like mules they can't breed.

We also saw emu's, sheep and really big rabbits.

The rabbits are European rabbits and are considered a plague here in Chile. There were lots of them and you know along with lots of rabbits comes lots of rabbit poop.

After driving for about an hour all total we got and walked out to the penguin beach, probably about a quarter of a mile to the overlook. I called it the penguin blind, a little wooden platform that had cut outs in it so you could look out at the beach, but not be real intrusive to the penguins on the beach. Ok, so maybe if there were tons of people there it would be intrusive not matter what, but there was just me, my beloved and Chip today. There was a group of about a dozen penguins just hanging out at the water line. It was great. Most of the penguins have left the area early this year, our guide seemed to think it has something to do with the fact that they reopened a coal mine right next to the reserve. Sounds crazy to me, not the fact that they are leaving because I would leave to if they reopened a coal mine next to my house, but the fact that the Chilean government thinks it is ok to open a coal mine right next to a nature preserve. Daniel seemed to think that in a couple of years the penguins just won't come back. They will move to nicer neighborhood - maybe they will just stay in their winter home in Brazil, I hear it is nice there and aren't they hosting the Olympics in a few years?

We then walked on a boardwalk thru the reserve there are little penguin dens everywhere. Most were empty, but we found one with a penguin in it, just sitting there staring out at us. As we walked we noticed more and more of them. Not anywhere near the numbers of the high breeding season, but quite a few just hanging out. They just would look at us walk by and go on about their day. It was very cool.

On the way back we are driving down the road and one of the emu's was walking right down the middle of the road. It did not run away from the car, it kind of sauntered up to us and checked us out. I tried to imitate what it was doing with its neck but it is impossible for this girl to move both her neck and shoulders and bum all at the same time.

Next we ran into a sheep herder, his dogs and his sheep. They were blocking the road, so we had to sit and wait while in signaled the dogs to do their job and they rounded them up and got them all to one side of the road so we could get by. It was very impressive, with one signal the dogs went to work and we were able to pass.

We came back happy that we had seen penguins. We had started our morning on the Atlantic coast and traveled to the Pacific coast, amazing we must be in Chile, because where else can you do that? OK maybe in Central America, but you get my amazement. Next we took a walk around the town, the town square is full of people that sell stuff from little gypsy look wagons. Mostly hand knitted items and lots of stuff with penguins. We had a little lunch and next it was nap time.

Later we went out for dinner at a place called the Luna Cafe. It believe it was pointed out by every guide in the city as a good place to go because most the people were not local. I ordered something that reminded me I have to read the menu's a little better. Pasta with tomato sauce, what I did not read was the translation with the words seafruits in it. For those of you not in the know, that would be clams, crab and scallops. Imagine my surprise when my meal came. They were very nice and did not charge me for the meal. But I must be more aware.

Then we were off to the Sky Bar. The tallest building in Punta Arenas, it is made of glass and the bar is on the top floor. Amazing view and a very 80's feel. If you ever come here you must check out the bathrooms here. You sit on the toilet and face a wall of glass. Yes, glass you can admire the view while doing your business. It was interesting to say the least. We were assured that you cannot see in - only out. But truthfully, when am I ever going to see any of these people again, does it really matter if they watch me pee?

Back to our lovely hotel - yes our lovely hotel - our ride comes tomorrow to take us four hours north to Puerto Natales and the Torres Del Paine National Park.

Until tomorrow...


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you got to see some penguins! And a coal mine next door? WTF?! I'd move one to a nicer hood too. Hope today is just as rewarding. SMEG

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you got to see some penguins! And a coal mine next door? WTF?! I'd move one to a nicer hood too. Hope today is just as rewarding. SMEG

Anonymous said...

This all sounds so wonderful! Seafruit? Yikes. I can't wait to see the pics. (of the sites, not the scallops,etc.) Say hello to Suzy and Nancy for me.