Right down at the bottom of Argentina, before you cross the border into Chile, is a place called Cabo Virgenes that overlooks the Estrecho de Magallahes (Magellan Straight). To get there, you travel on a rough dirt road for about two and a half hours and from the lighthouse at the point, you look over the sea to where the Atlantic and Pacific islands meet.
Turn around and look landward and there’s a very dodgy rusty wire fence running off into the distance that marks the border between Argentina and Chile. No high walls or armed guards here, if you wanted to you could just step from one country to the next – but then again, where would you go?
We were there for the nesting colony of penguins. Depending on which text you read there are anything from 150,000 to 500,000 Magellanic Penguins in this nesting colony! If we believe what we read, it’s the second largest in Southern America. Information varied a lot as the interpretation boards were in Spanish and the ranger office was closed. Hence, our information has come from other sources. Goodness knows how many there are, but they were all over the place; lying in shallow burrows with furry babies, wandering around aimlessly, walking to and from the water along clearly well established pathways, sunning themselves, swimming or crying out for partners or parents. And who couldn’t love watching these little critters?
There’s something wonderful about coming across wild animals that have no fear of humans – just what appears to be a genuine fascination about us humans and why we stare at them and take so many photos! We spent quite a few hours watching and enjoying these little beauties.