We woke up to another cloudless blue sky and a calm and pleasant ‘non-bobbing’ sensation as on this occasion the ship had already docked in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. We were only two days and a few hundred miles north of the Falklands, our previous port of call, but the temperature felt about 20 degrees warmer!
With the early arrival of the ship and following breakfast we disembarked at around 08:00 and with no tender boat this time! As we stepped off the ship we were met with a few touts offering local tours. We bypassed these and walked along the long pier and into the town.
We had a short walk around the town but we didn’t feel there was anything inspiring to see or do. We had a coffee in a coffee shop and used the wifi to check about four days of emails, FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter updates and have a quick scan on TripAdvisor for ‘top things to do in Puerto Madryn’.
We went into a tourist information office and picked up a map. We walked back towards the ship and to the taxi rank where some fellow cruisers were negotiating with taxi drivers. We teamed up with a Canadian called Terry and the three of us were taken by taxi to a nature reserve at Punta Lomas, about 18 km away. We were on our way to see a large colony of South American sea lions.
Here are some facts about the sea lions (which were displayed on boards near the observation deck):
Sea lions gather in the colonies (which are called ‘rookeries’) to either breed or rest. The rookerie at Punta Loma is mixed with both breeding and resting sea lions.
Sea lions are marine mammals that breed on the land and feed in the sea.
Males weigh up to 350 kg, grow to 2.8 meters and live for about 19 years.
Females weigh up to 220 kg, grow to 2.2 meters and live for about 23 years.
There are about 390,000 sea lions in South America with around 100,000 of these along the Argentina coastline.
We visited on 30th November which is just before the December mating period. This is when males begin to arrive at the rookerie and fast for 2 to 3 months. Then apparently they form harems with between two and twelve females!
We noticed some of the males were fairly aggressive with each other although you would think they would be more chilled with plenty of females to go around! (Unless they were starting to get tetchy with the prospect of no food for a couple of months…)
A short sea lion video…
It was interesting to see these particular sea lions which are native to South America. The look out point has been constructed in such a way that the mammals can be observed in their natural environment and without being disturbed.
Throughout our travels this year, sadly we have witnessed animals being exploited for example where tourists are taken on trips and excursions and invited to pose with and touch them. And even worse, we’ve seen tourists riding them, for example the elephants in Thailand… thankfully the cruelty of elephant riding is becoming more recognised and ethical companies such as Intrepid travel have banned elephant riding from their itineraries.