The river trip

Lars Alfredson
Wed 16 Nov 2011 16:42

15112011 The River Trip


After a somewhat hectic night entertaining our guests we are up and loading our rucksacks with cameras, binoculars and Thomas,

his Go-pro and camera boom hoping to get some good underwater shots.


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                           Thomas with his pole                                                                  Dolphins


The RIB with its other passengers comes alongside to pick us up and we head out. Its not long before the first of the Commerson’s Dolphin appear

swimming alongside and just as your about to snap they shot under the boat and out the otherside!


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                        Magellanic Penguins


At the mouth of the river is a large colony of Penguins waddling up the beach from the surf and in amongst them Tern and Gulls.

We then turn back in the company of our dolphins and start up-river our next stop the Cormorant colonies.


The sit in their nest built on large piles of guano ( A nice word for Poooo) which has run down the side of the cliff in stalagmite formations from under the nest and then proceeding to paint the rocks below.


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                         Red legged                                                                         and rock Cormorants 


There are two separate colonies, one of Red Legged (grey), the other of rock (black) Cormorants and although some protest as the RIB runs up the cliff face,

most just sit and pose for our cameras.


Cormorants done, we move to a small island of the opposite shore. This is covered in Sea Lions some playing in the water while others sunbath and sleep on the rock.

homas’s camera becomes a plaything when he poles it into the water and he gets some really good shots.


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                              The Boss                                                                         Loyal subjects


On the next rock to it is a Tern colony where they shriek in protest at our arrival and take to the wing threatening to dive bomb us, as is their want,

to send us packing. Fully snapped we move to and run up onto the beach a large island the home of thousands of Magalanic Penguins and predatory

Gulls and Oyster Catchers waiting to steal their eggs should they leave them unattended.


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                               Terns                                                                               More penguins


Landing ashore we approach them carefully and if you sit still, curiosity gets the better of them and they will waddle up for a closer inspection of we aliens.

They are very photogenic as those not on the beach lie or sit in their nest, mere scrapings under the nearby bushes.

All this under the watchful eyes of the Gulls waiting their chance to grab an egg. Aggressively patrolling the beach,

Brown Skuas attack feeding Gulls forcing them to throw up their recently swallowed catch for them to feed on.


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                        Two penguins making friends                                                Javier preparing Mate


Javier sends the cooler box ashore and having produced the biscuits starts to make his “Matte” a herbal tea made from a local plant.

It’s quite an art mixing cold water first then nearly boiled hot water and steeping the whole thing. It tastes like a sharp green tea and I am assured it’s a very heathy brew.


The finale is a trip through a flooded canyon between the islands, the home of a Black Crowned Night Heron which we spot sitting in a cave high up in the cliff face alongside its nest.





The Javier who has been our tour guide drops of its passenger before delivering us back to the Yacht and joining us along with Jorge from the workboat to which we tied.


Just before seven Marcos arrives to pick us up. We are to deliver a presentation of “Dawnbreaker’s” travels to his students at his home.

The old adage “never work with children and animals” should be extended to include computers.

Attempts to show the video of the “Arctic” at the beginning of this odyssey grind to a halt just as it reached the “Anchordram” scene, I wonder why, divine intervention?


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                                 Presentation                                                                         The kids


Thomas who has drawn the short straw, (my Spanish was definitely not up to the task) manfully rescues the day with our route from the Blog interspersed with carefully selected “Stills”

The evening was a success and Marco very kindly invites us to stay for dinner.


A spread of freshly made “Empanada” a sort of Spanish pasty, with different fillings, this was complimented with a generous flow of  “Malbec”

and then full up after ice-cream and coffee we are beginning to feels like penguins ourselves as we waddle our way down to Marco’s truck for a lift back.


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                        Dinner is served                                                                           Our hosts


Arrival and the trauma begins, its low tide, presenting an gaping chasm to be leapt.

I don’t think so! Peter makes a valiant jump across the gap with instructions to start up the dinghy and meet us on the beach,

now we know what the Dunkirk evacuation must have felt like. Never have so few been so happy to see such a small craft.  


Bob the blog.