Saturday, February 16, 2008

Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas was the southern most point in our travels and by far the coldest place we have ever been. Our only reason for going was to visit a penguin colony that lives on Magallanes Island off the coast of Punta Arenas.
On the way to the Island there was an odour most foul followed by the sight of hundreds of sea lions frolicking on a very small land mass.IMG_4609
They were very hospitable and put on a good show for us swimming near the boat and playing up for the camera.
On reaching the penguin island we couldn't believe just how many there were. It was like prom night at the beach.
It was clear that the penguins had been very busy making new ones. And it wasnt hard to tell which were the babies and which were the parents as they were the skinny ones that selflessly ensured that their chicks were very well fed.
The island has a path for humans to walk around and big warning signs to advise against crossing over. The penguins seem very well aware of this and are very cautious about crossing over the path. They look  left, right and left again before making a dash for it if the coast is clear. This little one took a calculated risk and decided Jez was not a threat.
The island is covered in penguin burrows and at first glance they all seem to be the same. One wonders how the penguins could possibly remember which one is theirs. We never saw any streets signs or burrow numbers...
And yet...look what happens if a penguin accidentally goes into the wrong burrow.
Most penguins were on guard and not interested to stop for a chat about life the universe and everything but we did find one that was most curious about TZ...
And the curiosity was very clearly reciprocated. Click to see how this scene plays out...

We left Punta Arenas and headed up to a much warmer city, Santiago. There we would waste an entire week waiting for our Brazilian visas.
Coming up, the JeTZ pack away their wet weather gear, beanies and gloves and bring out their bathers and sunscreen as they head for the coast of Brazil...

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