Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trelew and Gaiman - Penguins and Tea Time

After spending six weeks in Buenos Aires we set off on our trip to Patagonia. Our first stop was a city twenty hours south of BA called Trelew. We went there for two reasons. One is the largest colony of Magellanic Penguins outside Antartica. The second was that just outside Trelew there is a little Welsh town named Gaiman that serves English tea and Gemma was craving a little taste of home.

We booked a tour with a lady at the bus station and were supposed to get picked up at 8am the next day to go see the penguins first, and then on to have afternoon tea. The next morning the bus arrived late and the driver came to our door and asked what time we needed to be back to the bus station for our onward journey. We told him we needed to be back from Gaiman by 5. He then proceeded to tell us this was impossible. Great.

We argued with him for a few minutes before realizing the lady had made promises that weren´t meant to be kept. We told the bus to go on without us and marched furiously back to this lady at the bus station. I thought Gemma was gonna grab her jacket and pull her across the counter but we kept our cool and in the end after a good twenty minutes of arguing with her we managed to get her to hire a taxi for us for the day at no extra cost. Private tour for two accomplished.

Neither of us had ever seen penguins outside a zoo before and once we saw the first one it was worth the trouble.

What up Pingu!

Everywhere you looked there were penguins. They use the bushes as houses and for protection from the wind. They dig little tunnels underneath the bushes and lay their eggs in them.

We were there in late February after the eggs had hatched and when the penguins are feeding and fledging. You can tell which penguins are the babies because they have furry feathers all over them. But alot of them were starting to lose these baby feathers and therefore feathers were all over the place.

Penguins swimming at sea.

And coming out of their nests.
Their can be up to a half million penguins here at the highest point in the year and only Antartica has more. The bad part about having a half million penguins around you is that you have a half million penguins pooping around you. The place smelled pretty bad if the sea breaze stopped for even a few seconds.
The other bad thing about seeing so many penguins was that it was inevitable that we´d see nature at work. Sure enough there was a seagull eating a dead penguin whose head was almost severed off. Poor little guy.

We were able to get pretty close to them without them running off. By the way, watching penguins walk never stops being funny.

This was one of the little guys looking lost.

I forget what this animal is called but its in the rabbit family.

After we had our fix of penguins it was time to move onto the Welsh town of Gaiman. Who knows why there is a little Welsh town in southern Argentina. Probably the same reason why there was a little German village in Venezuela. They migrate over, set up shop and never move.

The place we went to was set on immaculately groomed grounds.
Inside Gemma showed me how its done. We were served unlimited tea and cakes by sweet old ladies.
Keeping the pinky out seemed the right thing to do.

The spread.

Gemma took a moment to remember Princess Di before we got back in the taxi and headed back to the bus station. Our next move is to bus over to the west coast and into Chile where we´ll be hiking and camping for five days in Torres Del Paine National Park near Puerto Natales. I´ll also finally get a chance to work on my Bear Grylls survival skills.


  1. Good stuff Jordan. An ill-informed friend of mine swore up and down that penguins only live in Antarctica.

    Now I can circumvent wiki and whatever else I find on the internet (he's quite incredulous unless there's some good proof, especially since he hates being wrong) and show him some ironclad evidence.

    For that, I thank you sir.

  2. CAn we see them in the moth of April?