We were picked up at 6:35 and whisked away to the boat which would take us to see Magellan penguins, about forty-five minutes across the Magellan Straits. Many other tourists were on board with other agencies.
About forty-five mintues later we disembarked in slight drizzle and immediately saw black and white Magellan penguins in the water and on shore. Shallow burrows were everywhere and in a few we were rewarded with seeing grey fuzzy young nestled against their parent. Penguins mate for life and both parents take turns nurturing their offspring. In one nest I am pretty sure I saw two babies! Conferences were taking place around the island, some singles were calling for their mate sounding a bit distressed, others were frolicking in the shallow water near the shore, and some were just hanging out. Seagulls were also plentiful. One lone sea lion was swimming close to shore, and a semi-flightless duck was perched on a rock in the water.
In a few of the underground burrows we could glimpse a baby, and I think one of them had twins!
We meandered along the trail up to the lighthouse where there are displays giving information about the penguins and sea lions. As we only had an hour I just used the bathroom and headed on down the trail taking many more photos and videos of these cool creatures. This is a good year as more returned and did so earlier, thus nesting sooner than normal.
As conditions were favorable the captain decided to take us by Marta Island to glimpse a sea lion colony. We had to go out on top of the boat but due to the tossing of the vessel, the drizzle, and too many people wanting to see I joined Bill back inside. Just before leaving we noticed the sea lions swimming nearby, but by the time I got back outside the captain was taking off.
Once back on land we began the long five and a half hour drive drive to Torres del Paine National Park where we were to spend the next three nights at Hotel Rio Sorreno. Not long after starting we glimpsed rhea in the distance, which we could see again another day to photograpy, and a random few flamingos in a distant watering hole. Our guide, Bastion, was surprised to see them there.
After stopping for gas in Puerto Natales we gandered at the Black Neck Swans where one couple had a passel of cygnets foraging for algae.
Talk about a room with a view! Wow! No wonder the rate is well over $300 per night. It includes breakfast which is an enormous array of hot and cold food, including cookies! Despite filling our tummies beyond capacity I would still be hungry by lunch! During dinner Bastian suddenly noticed the horses were being let loose in the yard out back. I dashed over to see them soooo excited to be able to run free. They quickly set to munching on the grass keeping it nicely trimmed and depositing fertilizer!
The sunset happened about ten o’clock and was interesting but not special. My photos show more pink than I saw with my naked eye. Darkness then descended pretty quickly.