Puerto Madryn, Argentina seen from our ship at the end of the pier

Puerto Madryn, Argentina seen from our ship at the end of the pier. Look closely and you can see how extensive the beach is at low tide.

There is always at least one day on every trip, that I don’t sit down right away and write up my impressions of the day.  Today is that day.  I am writing everything about it about two weeks after being there, when I am already back at home and far from those events.  Perhaps it is better.  I won’t have as much to say, and what I do say will have benefited from the time to reflect…  You’ll be the judge.

March 8th

We docked in Puerto Madryn, a tourist city on the Atlantic coast of Argentina, at about 11 am in the morning. It looks, from the boat, like a typical beach city, with condos along the main drag that runs parallel to the shoreline.

The pier is incredibly long!  The reason, we discovered, is that the port is quite shallow and has a dramatic tidal swing.

We were not the only cruise ship in port.  There was a Celebrity ship that docked across from us, and it quite literally dwarfed our ship!

Our shore excursion was not until the later part of the afternoon, so we got off the boat and roamed around the port area of the city a little bit.  On our long walk down the pier, we stopped to watch some hysterical little penguins playing around the ship.  Perched on the berthing lines that stretched from the ship to the pier, were dozens of arctic terns.  The terns did not like the penguins apparently.  They would fly off the ropes and dive bomb the penguins whenever they stuck their heads above the water.  It was a good way to tell people where to look to see the penguins!

sea lions at Puerto Madryn argentina

Sea lions at Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Our shore excursion was focused on sea lions. We could not get close to them: The males are very aggressive on land (though not in the water).  We could see them stretched out in the sun on a beach/cove below us.  The view was great, though far away.

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We could, and did, walk along the cliffs to see them from another vantage point, and it was then that we also saw a bird called a Rock Shag, or a Magellanic cormorant.  They were interesting to see because they were perched on tiny rock shelves jutting out from sheer walls.  Very dramatic!Rock Shag or Magellanic cormorant

whale skeleton, Puerto Madryn

Gerry and the Whale

The final portion of our excursion was to visit a eco-marine museum that is new and very highly praised.

The museum also has this whale skeleton at the entrance and I could not miss taking a photo of my handsome model alongside to show you the size.  Southern right whales are very frequent visitors to Puerto Madryn.

The museum wasn’t such a great experience for us, because we have so many similar museums in the US, and the information was generic (versus specific to Argentina in this region) and about whales.  It was very well presented and the exhibits were excellent but, unfortunately for many, all in Spanish. The museum was in an old lighthouse, which as you will see, was very picturesque at dusk.

Museum Puerto Madryn

Old light house converted to a museum

Puerto Madryn is still in Patagonia, which seems strange because there are no mountains, but remember it is actually a region of South America, that spans both Chile and Argentina.  This part of Argentina is flat; a very large, wind-swept plain whose climate is determined by the winds that come down from the Andes and blow to the east across the country.  The landscapes and the plant life reflect a Patagonian character (wild) – as well as a beach/sea ecosystem.

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We returned to the ship after 7 pm (which was the back-on-board time).  Whether to emphasize  our lateness or just make us feel better, we got the red carpet (and red umbrella) treatment with (Cuban) music and fanfare upon our arrival back at the boat.  It was great fun!

welcome back to the ship!

Welcome back to the ship!

Next stop is Montevideo, Uruguay and then finally Buenos Aires!  Stay with me! Those pages are coming soon.