King Penguins and Chilean Flamingos
Tierra del Fuego – the bottom of the settled world😏
This is as far south as you can go before you are in the Ocean/s, headed to Antarctica – the region is called “Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica“. And it’s really, really cold. I was staying in Punta Arenas one day before I was flying to Santiago, then on to Argentina. My main objective in the Punta Arenas area was to see penguins in their natural habitat!! Other times of the year, there are penguins on Isla Magdalena, which is less than an hour from PA. Other times in the past, there have been penguins in different locations fairly close to PA, but those have moved on and no longer call those places home. So, the only place with penguins anywhere near me was in Parque Penguino Rey (King Penguin Park), a five hour drive south (including one ferry that crosses the Strait of Magellan), into Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. This is where I was:
The park is strange – it’s very small and only exists for people to see the penguins. So, there is a trailer with an office and a bathroom and then a short cordoned-off walk towards the water is where the penguins are. You can’t get very close at all because the penguins don’t like people bothering😄 So, I was there for maybe 30 minutes. Stood behind the rope, took pictures, watched them move around a little, and then left! But it was still worth it, to see ‘real’ penguins. The babies are the brown, fuzzy fatasses😂 – they’re only like 6 months old. At this park, there are only ~85 penguins – there used to be more, but for whatever reason, they’re leaving and going other places. The King Penguins are the second biggest, so these guys were over three feet tall! Really big!
This one was swimming, and he climbed out of the water, walked up the bank, and over to the group. HE LOOKED SOOO FUNNY WALKING. It was old-man-gonna-fall-over walk. Sooo cute. Poor thing didn’t know everyone was laughing at him😆
The drive to the park was beautiful. Not much traffic, but a lot of gravel road time. I had a decent rental car with bluetooth (what a luxury!), so I was able to stay awake/entertained the whole time. Halfway through the drive, I had to get on a ferry and cross the Strait of Magellan. On the drive, I saw guanacos, sheep, horses, cows, lots of really pretty geese, one Chilean fox, and six flamingos on a lake!
Chilean flamingos! They were kind of far away, but I spotted their pinkness from the road and stopped, got out of the car, and I got as close as I could by a fence. There were only six on the lake, three close in front of me, and then three further down on the other side. I was excited – first time to see flamingos wandering about in the wild☺️
Next up: Iguazu Falls, Argentina