Um, do you think I saw penguins today? Well, actually, I saw a TON OF PENGUINS today. 140,000 to be exact!
We arrived in Punta Arenas this morning around 7 am and caught a tender into town. We then hopped a ferry and after a 1.5 hour ferry ride (w/ penguin sitings in the water itself), we landed on Magdalena Island where there are 70,000 breeding pairs of Magellan penguins on the island. There are no structures on the island other than a lighthouse in the center. The penguins were all over. We were confined to a path, but the penguins came up to us, crossed in front of us, etc. It was really neat. Let's just say that my camera got a lot of activity. There were baby penguins (which are quite big) and 1 year old penguins along w/ the parents.
They live in burrows and return to these burrows every year to lay their eggs and get their young ready for the water. I had to have taken over 200 pictures! But, don't worry, I will weed out many of the pics and only forward you the pics that are the best. When I get back I'll try to post some of the pics on here. For now, I don't have that ability. Just click on the links in earlier posts for info on these penguins. [ok so I added these after the fact . . .]
Last night I skipped dinner and planned to go to bed early. Instead, I stayed up in the buffet area drinking tea and watching our progress thru the Strait of Magellan. When we first entered, we couldn't see a thing, but eventually the fog lifted and we could see what we were travelling thru. I managed to spot 2 receding glaciers along the way. Eventually, I went back and crashed. I'm still feeling under the weather, but now it's in my chest - almost gone. Of course, I spent the entire ferry ride there and back out on deck so that didn't help. I'm ready to crash now. Heading up to get some miso soup, tea and chill out for a bit.
On our way back to the ship, I got off the bus in the center of Punta Arenas and walked around the main square for bit looking at different handicrafts. Wasn't particularly impressed, especially since I can now knit most of what they were selling. I did manage to find myself at a fine craft shop across the way that had lapis. I hadn't planned to buy much, maybe a ring or something. Well, what they had was beautiful. I walked out w/ a simple wrap ring w/ 2 lapis stones and a GORGEOUS choker necklace w/ lapis, a mineral version of lapis and serpentine. I don't know how to describe it other than to take a picture of it for you. I hadn't planned to spend much, but when something grabs you, you've got to go w/ it.
Tomorrow is Ushuaia. My goal is to wake up before dawn (sunrise is at 5am) to see the glaciers and to take pics of the sunrise. Unfortunately, we pass the glaciers on the way into port and not on the way out. My other reason for going to bed early I guess. All in the name of nature and pictures! It's not like I don't have 10 more days on the ship and 2 more weeks of vacation!
Here's a funny tidbit. My phone has been searching for service since I arrived in Chile, but it manages to give me the correct time and date. Last night, in the strait of Magellan, the end of the world, my phone buzzes telling me I have a text message and that I now have service. How odd. Of course, the service is gone when I'm in port and I don't plan to use it, but I thought it was comical.
Until next time . . .