Sea lions

The Península Valdés is also known for housing some penguins, sea basses and sea lions. It was not the right time of year for the penguins but it was possible to observe the two other species. I had seen a little sea bass and a (obviously lost) penguin swimming close to the coast when exploring the Playa del Doradillo with Lucas a week before, so I settled for an excursion at Punta Ninfas which would allow me to get really close to the sea lions.

In order to get there, we needed to go for a 2 hour long ride through Patagonia’s desert landscapes. Sand. Bushes. More sand. More bushes. Every now and then, a sheep, a guanaco or a rhea, which is some kind of ostrich, but smaller and grey. Elodie and Lionel were part of the trip as well and it was interesting to listen to the explanations of our guide about the fauna and the flora of this semi-desert area.

A guanaco.
A guanaco.

When we finally got there, I was shocked by the number of plastic bottles and other trash just before we got to the beach. How did it get there? There was nothing in the neighbourhood but a farm, about 10 km away! According to our guide, it was brought by the sea. The wind then gets the detritus further inland. That was one of those moments where you get the full grasp of what “world contamination” really means. And take the decision to try and change your habits. It can be something very small to begin with. But, while travelling, and when I have access to drinkable water, I try to fill my flask with tap water instead of buying a plastic bottle. It’s a drop into the ocean. But also one plastic bottle out of it.

Contamination at Punta Ninfas.
Contamination at Punta Ninfas.

We then got closer to the sea lions. Quietly. Making ourselves discrete and as small as possible in order not to scare them off. There they were. Lolling on the beach. In the freezing patagonian breeze. I think 20 minutes is how long I was able to stand the cold before I gently asked when we were going back to the car, for another 2 hour drive before we got back to Puerto Madryn. Sand. Bushes. More sand. More bushes. Sheep, guanacos and rheas. Another beautiful day in Patagonia.


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