A steep rocky island where the extremely beautiful southern rockhopper penguin nestles is accessed after a memorable navigation.
Puerto Deseado is the starting point for several bird watching outings that involve navigating the Argentinian Sea. Isla Pingüino (Penguin Island) is visited in the company of experts who take care of the environment and help us learn much from it.
We had been told in advance that we should wear warm clothes to enjoy this tour and they had been right, as the wind was quite intense when we reached the meeting point. We got ready to sail with the cold air on our faces and our jackets zipped up. We had a hot drink prepared by the organizers.
Julián was our expedition guide and invited us on board the small watercraft that was moored at the pier. We should not move while on our seats until we were told, because the first part of the tour would be quite agitated.
Search of food
Southern rockhopper penguins
Old lighthouse 1903
A lasting memory
The boat set course for Isla de los Pájaros (Birds Island) and then southwards. Julián raised his voice to tell us about the various species we would find on the island beaches and rocks.
After sailing for about eleven miles (25 kilometers), we were face to face with Isla Pingüino, where we landed to go around the area. We observed several sea lion and elephant seal colonies from a close distance, where these mammals were pleasantly enjoying leisure time on the beach. In the meantime, a great deal of birds hovered around above their heads in search of food.
As we landed, we became aware of the fact that we had reached a very particular site and got ready to walk and climb led by our guide. The boulders were uneven, so we had to watch our step as we warmed up.
While moving amidst the nests -some of which were quite near-, Julián told us some details about the life of southern rockhopper penguins. We learned about their habitat, the way they make their nests and take care of their young and in which season they reach the island, now turned into a protected provincial reserve.
Penguins are belligerent when they perceive some kind of threat. They peck violently at any prospective opponent. They catch their food in the sea and dive in search of small fish, octopus, crustaceans and the like.
Scientists and ornithologists carry out research and tests on the southern rockhopper penguins on this island as access is possible with the help of specialized guides. This unusual species also has colonies on Isla de los Estados and Islas Malvinas.
A lighthouse that dates back from 1903 and has been helping sailors with its light for years lies on the southern end of the island. At first, it was powered by kerosene and at present it works with photo voltaic panels. At its base, the foundations of an old construction now abandoned used to be a factory of sea lion byproducts remain.
The penguins gave us extraordinary sensations that made us forget about the cool temperature and the wind. We just wished to keep on walking and not to miss any of their moves. Somebody lent us some binoculars to watch a family in their nest. We truly regretted not having taken our own elements.
We got familiar with the colonies of birds and mammals when the expedition was coming to an end. That experience was a breakthrough for us and a memory that we would carry with us forever, backed up by the countless photographs we had taken during our tour.
Mónica Pons Gentileza Darwin Expediciones
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