We explored the winding paths of the Patagonian high plateau in the company of specialists to follow the track and dreams of a researcher from former times: Charles Darwin.
The Deseado Ria Ravine is the scene of the most fantastic tours we have ever imagined. One of them recreates the route taken by Charles Darwin during his exploit along this Patagonian shore, which turned out to be useful to consolidate his theories on the evolution of species.
Even if the tour may be done on horseback through estancia La Aurora, we resolved to get on board a RIB boat at the berth and let ourselves be guided around. As soon as we were given a shocking red life-jacket, we set off.
Javier, our guide, introduced himself as a sailor and naturalist and gave us some safety instructions useful during the navigation and the hiking tour that would come next. In the meantime, each of us made ourselves comfortable, ready to listen and photograph everything at reach.
Bends that muddy banks
The route taken by Charles Darwin
Animals that inhabit the area
A place away from the rest of the world
As we faced a soft breeze blowing from the west, Javier gave us some details about the geomorphology of the ria and its surroundings. His binoculars were passed on from hand to hand whenever an interesting attraction justified a closer look. This made the voyage quite pleasant.
The ria is made up by saltwater, as the sea enters the land and the river contributes very little fresh water. Consequently, sea animals such as Commerson's dolphins and cormorants may be seen in the first part of the waterway. The RIB looked like a paper boat being carried away by the winding ria whose banks feature different traits on the way inland.
We became aware of how the wind had bored through the rocks throughout the years. Long before reaching Marsicano Pass, which represented the end of the tour, the rock formations invaded the scene and the wildlife changed.
As we landed, Javier told us about the intense hiking tour and some of us were ready in a matter of minutes to enjoy that adventure. Others settled down in one area of the coast and chose to wait for us to return.
'There's no rush. The slower the pace, the better we will step on the rough rocks and the longer the distance we will cover. We are going to see the Cave of the Hands and once there I will explain the meaning of the paintings found on the rocks, made by the natives that dwelled in this Patagonian solitude long ago', we heard from Javier as the hike began.
These tours are usually organized in small groups. As a result, it is usual to spot some local animals like guanacos or hares.
Also, as we sailed back to Puerto Deseado, ducks and bustards hovered above our heads and there is one season in which flamingos boast their long legs along the muddy shores of the ria.
On that wonderful sunset, the southern spring tinged the last stretch of this outstanding cultural and photographic tour with pastel hues.
'I believe I have never seen a place more isolated from the rest of the world than this rock crevice amidst the vast plains...', were the words expressed by Charles Darwin when he reached the end of the Deseado Ria in 1833. We borrow them now.
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Mónica Pons Gentileza Darwin Expediciones
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