As the boat floated down the colorful waters of the ria, colonies of sea birds and mammals that dwell on its wild banks came into sight.
When we visited Puerto Deseado
, we believed it was essential to get on board one of the expeditions that go down the Deseado Ria and let ourselves be surprised by the sea animals that inhabit it.
We set sail on a RIB boat at the port along the turquoise waters of the ria and between 30-meter high walls. At each step, the guide announced what animals appeared before us. All of a sudden, we were amazed to see some Commersons' dolphins swimming around the boat without any kind of worry. They look like dolphins but they are black and white.
The boat advanced slowly and we approached some rock cliffs with a very particular texture, inhabited by various sea species. We continued towards some slopes where we spotted red-legged cormorants and rock shags. The guide let the boat be carried downstream as he turned off the engine so that we could hear the birds chirping.
We came across some islets before reaching isla Larga
(Long Island), a natural habitat for South American sea lion species. We stopped for some minutes and then continued towards Isla de los Pájaros
(Birds Island), where we were scheduled to land and share a snack. A few meters away from us, the Magellanic penguins and neotropic cormorants continued with their lives.
As we had some rest, a group of kayaks reached the shore and the people on them talked to us about this beautiful activity in the area. 'The lightness of the kayaks lets us get deep into the narrow channels of the ria and enjoy the birds and mammals that dwell in this area from a closer distance and without disturbing them, of course,' one of them said.
Afterwards, we sailed towards Cañadón Torcido (Twisted Ravine) and Quiroga Island, where birdwatching is usually practiced. This activity consists in spotting birds within the environment. Thus, we passed on the binoculars provided by the guides in order to learn a little bit more.
Penguins, cormorants, steamer ducks, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, black-crowned night herons, crested ducks, terns and oyster-catchers co-exist on that island. They share common spaces and similar life cycles in harmony.
A chat with our guide let us realize that the river dried out one day and let the saltwater get inland. The animal species came along with it. This is a 42-kilometer-long geologic fault, one of a kind in South America.
'The Deseado Ria has been declared Intangible Natural Reserve and it gathers the greatest bio-diversity of sea species on the Patagonian coastline,' the guide added.
We bade farewell to this nook in the company of an eye-catching great grebe which opened up its wings to show off its colorful iridescent plumage. We started our way back to port as slowly as we had arrived.
As the boat moved along the ria, we thought about something we had been told: in the past, the schooners used to sail around Puerto Deseado led by sailors such as Magellan or Drake or carrying distinguished figures like Darwin. Back then, this scene already was 'the most picturesque on the eastern Patagonian shore' for them (Francisco Perito Moreno, 1876).
Duration: half a day or all day, to be arranged with the tourist operator.
Opening hours: the time of departure is to be arranged with the tourist operator.
Tour type: birdwaching, sea wildlife mapping.
Bear in mind: Kayak requirements: sea experience class II and III.This space gathers a wide range of fauna biodiversity on the Patagonian coastline with 80 percent of sea birds.