Peninsula Valdez and Punta Tombo

ihana.com - big trip - diary - argentina - february 2003

Rescue 1 - English tourists

Doris volunteers to clean the windows

Rescue 2 - Argentine family

Rescue 3 - Argentine couple

Wednesday 19 - Thursday 21 February

Back at the village we stopped to get a much needed coffee, wash of the windows, refill the whining transfer box with oil and pump up the front tyre which has a slow leak. The petrol station was out of electricity so we had to dig out the compressor and make our own coffee. Meanwhile two stranded motorists begged us for petrol as the pumps weren't working either, so we gave them each 5 litres from our recently filled stove supply. Charging them northern Argentine prices made us a bit of a profit too.

Lets get the landy filthy and take...

...the dirt road

A couple of penguins...

...and their friends

Further inland at Puerto Madryn, a settlement of welsh folk, we stopped for a meal and the 'slow leaking' tyre turned into puncture number 12. After a nights sleep we got a new tube put in and headed off towards Punta Tombo which involved more gravel roads. Most of these roads are in good condition and none are particularly difficult for any car, but a landy can go faster and smoother. Some parts have deep gravel and steep edges so you have to concentrate and not let the back end go sideways or it could start sliding and cause a roll which wouldn't be very wicked.

Punta Tombo is home to half a million magellenic penguins. They make little burrows in the area by the beach and aren't scared of people at all. We walked around snapping off pics and the curious penguins would twist their heads around this way and that to get a better view of the camera being poked in their faces. When excited they make a noise not unlike a braying donkey, very odd. There also happened to be a group of guanacos nearby, the llama-like deers we saw before.

Chubasco met its...

...end here, and so we thought....

...had this seal with a dodgy eye

Cabo Raso

Comodoro Rivadavia...

...oil boom town

We continued on the gravel further south along the coastline, the main paved highway being further inland. Not much traffic at all along here and as the sun got lower it seemed to be hatching time for loads of flying ant things which hovered in big clouds over the road. Many were squashed by the landy as we neared Cabo Raso, a once tiny fishing community now reduced to two families and five or six falling down houses. It made an excellent place to camp, out of the wind and with a rocky headland nearby to explore. Here we found the wreck of the Chubasco, split in two on the rocks and beside it a young seal with white pus in one of his eyes. He twitched occasionally but seemed oblivious of us kneeling beside him until a wave came and wet his face which woke him with a start. He moaned at us and swim off, at least he wasn't dead. The next morning B found a different seal washed up dead.

Moving along the coast we turned inland onto tarmac at Camarones and went to the oil town of Comodoro Rivadavia for a late lunch. On the way we met a couple of french bikers at a petrol station on their way back up from Ushuaia and after the town we passed a long-distance cyclist weaving madly about in the wind...motors are definitely the way forward!

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