The Valdes Peninsula is a peninsula into the Atlantic Ocean in the Biedma Department of north-east Chubut Province, Argentina. Around 3,625 km2 (896,000 acres; 1,400 sq mi) in size, it is an important nature reserve which was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The nearest large town is Puerto Madryn. The only town on the peninsula is the small settlement of Puerto Pirámides. There are also a number of estancias, where sheep are raised.
Elephant seals Caleta Valdes, Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia Argentina.
h2>Elephant seals take their name from the large proboscis of the adult males (bulls) which resembles an elephant’s trunk. The bull’s proboscis is used in producing extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season.More importantly, however, the nose acts as a sort of rebreather, filled with cavities designed to reabsorb moisture from the animals’ exhalations. This is important during the mating season when the male seals rarely leave the beach to feed and therefore must conserve body moisture as they have no incoming source of water.
Bulls of both the northern elephant seal and the southern elephant seal reach a length of 16 ft (5 m) and a weight of 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) and are much larger than the cows, which typically measure about 10 ft (3 m) and 2,000 lb (900 kg).
The largest known bull elephant seal weighed 11,000 lb (5,000 kg) and measured 6.9 m (22.5 ft) in length. This makes the elephant seal the largest member of the order Carnivora.
Elephant seals, Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia Argentina
Elephant seals take their name from the large proboscis of the adult males (bulls) which resembles an elephant’s trunk. The bull’s proboscis is used in producing extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season.
More importantly, however, the nose acts as a sort of rebreather, filled with cavities designed to reabsorb moisture from the animals’ exhalations. This is important during the mating season when the male seals rarely leave the beach to feed and therefore must conserve body moisture as they have no incoming source of water. Bulls of both the northern elephant seal and the southern elephant seal reach a length of 16 ft (5 m) and a weight of 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) and are much larger than the cows, which typically measure about 10 ft (3 m) and 2,000 lb (900 kg). The largest known bull elephant seal weighed 11,000 lb (5,000 kg) and measured 6.9 m (22.5 ft) in length. This makes the elephant seal the largest member of the order Carnivora.
Gaiman, Trelew y Rawson
Trelew is a city in the province of Chubut, in the Argentine Patagonia, with a population of 93,386. The city has a small commercial centre. The Salon San David is a replica of St David’s Cathedral, Pembrokeshire. It is served by the Almirante Marco Andrés Zar Airport.
Trelew’s foundation is linked with Welsh settlement in Argentina, the leaders of which were Captain Sir Love Jones-Parry of Madryn and Lewis (Luis) Jones, who acted as spokesmen to deal with the Argentine government at the beginning in the 1860s. The town was named Trelew in honour of Lewis Jones, tre meaning “town” in Welsh and Lew being an apocope for Lewis.
Puerto Madryn, Patagonia Argentina
Puerto Madryn (in Welsh, Porth Madryn) is a city in the province of Chubut in the Argentine Patagonia. It is the head town of the Viedma Department, and has about 58,000 inhabitants.
The town was founded on 28 July 1865, when 150 Welsh immigrants who came in the clipper Mimosa named the natural port Porth Madryn in honour of Sir Love Jones-Parry, whose estate in Wales was named “Madryn”. The settlement grew as a result of the building of the Central of Chubut Railway by Welsh, Spanish and Italian immigrants. This line, opened in 1888, linked it to Trelew via the lower Chubut River valley. Puerto Madryn is protected by the Golfo Nuevo, which is formed by Península Valdés and Punta Ninfas. It is an important centre for tourists visiting the natural attractions of the Península Valdés and the coast.
Puerto Piramides, Peninsula Valdes, Salinas de la Peninsula de Valdes
Puerto Pirámides is an Argentine town in Biedma Department, Province of Chubut. Its population as of the 2001 census [INDEC] was 429 inhabitants. It is the only town on the Valdes Peninsula.
Originally inhabited by the Tehuelche people, attempts around 1800 to take control of the area on the part of Spanish conquistadores resulted in a routing by the headstrong Tehuelches. In 1898, Buenos Aires developer Antonio Muno ventured into the exploitation of the area’s considerable salt mines, for which he obtained permission to build a rail line and other facilities in 1900.
Opting for the calm waters of the Golfo Nuevo, he christened the new settlement Puerto Pirámides for the numerous pyramid-shaped cliffs that overlook the inlet.
Today, Puerto Pirámides is one of the premier whale watching destinations in the world; the municipality has six hotels, 15 lodges and two campgrounds.
Killer Whale in Peninsula Valdés, Patagonia Argentina
The killer whales belong to the order of the cetaceans, and inside this category, to the family of the toothed whales along with the dolphins. This mammals are the biggest ones among the dolphins.
They are usually known as Killer Whales due to their hunting method they use in order to feed from elephant seals in the water and in their colonies. Their method consist in swimming very quickly towards the beach and intentionally beaching two thirds of their body on the shore thus capturing their prey in their mouth and then moving back into the water with energetic dorsal movements taking the elephant seal alive in order to share their hunt with the other members of their group.
Magellanic Penguin in Patagonia
Magellanic Penguins are medium-sized penguins which grow to be 61-76 cm (24-30 in) tall and weigh between 2.7 kg and 6.5 kg (5.9-14.3 lbs), with the males being larger than the females and weight dropping while each parent nurtures its young.Adults have black backs and white stomachs.
There are two black bands between the head and the breast, with the lower band being in an inverted horseshoe shape. The head is black and has a broad white border running from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin, and joining on the throat. Chicks and juveniles are grey-blue on their backs, with a more faded grey-blue color on their chest.
In the wild, Magellanic Penguins can live up to 25 years, while ages of 30 years have been reached in captivity.
Young birds usually have a blotched pattern on their feet, with this ‘blotching’ fading as they age. Older birds of over ten years usually have solid black feet.
Like the other species of penguins, the Magellanic Penguin has very rigid wings used to “fly” under water.
Penguins in Punta Tombo, Patagonia Argentina
Punta Tombo is a peninsula into the Atlantic Ocean 110 km (68 mi) south of Trelew in Chubut Province, Argentina, where there is an important colony of Magellanic Penguins. It is found a short distance north of Camarones.
The 3 km (1.9 mi) long, 600 m (1,969 ft) wide peninsula is covered with sand, clay and gravel. Between September and April, a large number of Magellanic penguins come to this site to incubate their eggs, and prepare their offspring for migration – the largest such colony in South America. Couples stand in front of their nests, protecting the eggs from birds and other predators, and occasionally one adult goes to the sea for food. Other wildlife encountered in the area including sea birds (mainly seagulls, chimangos and cormorants), rheas and guanacos.
The 2.1 km2 (0.8 sq mi) Punta Tombo Provincial Reserve has been protected since 1979, according to provincial decree, and it is one of the main tourist attractions in Chubut.
In late September, with the arrival of spring, Magellanic penguins migrate from Southern Brazil to Patagonia, congregating by the thousands to nest in Punta Tombo.
Other important nearby colonies are Bahía Camarones and Cabo Dos Bahías.
Punta Tombo is part of the new marine National Park Golfo San Jorge.
Estancia San Lorenzo, Magellanic Penguins, Peninsula Valdes
La estancia San Lorenzo se encuentra ubicada a 160 km de la ciudad de Puerto Madryn y 17 km al oeste de la Reserva de Fauna Punta Norte.
Tiene una superficie de 5134 hectáreas con 4600 metros de costa sobre las aguas del Golfo San Matías, sitio donde reproducen año tras año más de 200.000 Pinguinos de Magallanes siendo ésta una de las colonias de pingüinos magallánicos de mayor crecimiento poblacional.
Desde el año 2003 la Estancia San Lorenzo forma parte del Area Protegida Península Valdés . Quienes visitan San Lorenzo podrán disfrutar sendero interpretativo de la pingüinera, el cañadón de los fosiles el centro de visitantes y el comedor donde se ofrece el típico cordero patagonico al asador. Todas las actividades se realizan acompañados por Guardaparques.
Southern right whale, Peninsula de Valdes, Patagonia
Like other right whales, the Southern Right Whale is readily distinguished from other whales by the callosities on its head, a broad back without a dorsal fin, and a long arching mouth that begins above the eye.
The body of the whale is very dark grey or black, occasionally with some white patches on the belly. The right whale’s callosities appear white, not due to skin pigmentation, but to large colonies of cyamids or whale lice.
The Southern Right Whale is almost indistinguishable from the closely related North Atlantic and the North Pacific Right Whales, with only some minor skull differences. It may have fewer callosities on its head and more on its lower lips than the northern species. The maximum size of an adult female is 18.5 m (61 ft) and approximately 130 tons.
The testicles of right whales are likely to be the largest of any animal, each weighing around 500 kg (1,100 lb). This suggests that sperm competition is important in the mating process.
The Welsh settlement in Patagonia
The idea of a Welsh colony in South America was put forward by Professor Michael D. Jones, a nationalist non-conformist preacher based in Bala who had called for a new “little Wales beyond Wales”. He spent some years in the United States, where he observed that Welsh immigrants assimilated very quickly compared to other peoples and often lost much of their Welsh identity. He proposed setting up a Welsh-speaking colony away from the influence of English. He recruited settlers and provided financing. Australia, New Zealand and even Palestine were considered, but Patagonia was chosen for its isolation and the Argentines’ apparently generous offer of 100 square miles (260 km²) of land along the Chubut River in exchange for settling the still-unconquered land of Patagonia for Argentina.
Towards the end of 1862 Captain Love Jones-Parry and Lewis Jones (after whom Trelew was named) left for Patagonia to decide whether it was a suitable area for Welsh emigrants. They first visited Buenos Aires where they held discussions with the Interior Minister Guillermo Rawson then, having come to an agreement, headed south. They reached Patagonia in a small ship named the Candelaria, and were driven by a storm into a bay which they named “Porth Madryn” after Jones-Parry’s estate in Wales. The town which grew near the spot where they landed is now named Puerto Madryn. On their return to Wales they declared the area to be very suitable for colonization.
The permanent European settlement of the Chubut Valley and surrounding areas began on July 27, 1865 when 153 Welsh settlers arrived aboard the converted tea-clipper Mimosa. The Mimosa had cost £2,500 to hire for the voyage and convert to passenger use, and the fare from Liverpool to Patagonia was £12 for adults and £6 for children, although anyone willing to travel was taken on the journey regardless of ability to pay. The Mimosa settlers, including tailors, cobblers, carpenters, brickmakers, and miners, comprised 56 married adults, 33 single or widowed men, 12 single women (usually sisters or servants of married emigrants), and 52 children. There were few farmers, which was rather unfortunate particularly when they discovered that the attractions of the area had been oversold and they had landed in an arid semi-desert with little food. They had been told that the area was like lowland Wales. At the coast there was little drinking water and the group embarked on a walk across the parched plain with a single wheelbarrow to carry their belongings. Some died and a baby was born on the march, called Mary Humphries. John Williams was the only colonist with any form of rudimentary medical skill.
Once they reached the valley of the Chubut River, their first settlement was a small fortress on the site which later became the town of Rawson, now the capital of Chubut province. The first houses here were washed away by a flash flood in 1865, and new houses were constructed. The floods also washed away crops of potatoes and maize. The rainfall in the area was much less than the colonists had been led to expect, leading to crop failures
Whale watching in Península Valdés
The “Right Whales” shows take place only during the months of September and October here in the Valdez peninsula. To see them you only have to dare to take a boat trip.
During the year, the best time to see the whales is on the months of September and October. You should not miss this. Although the first whales get here in April and the last leave in December, around 500 of these swimming mammals gather near the Valdez coast during the months above mentioned.
The trips are made in authorized powerboats that have the security measures required for this encounters. The boats will also give you a scenery tour so you can appreciate the coastland and the natural attractions. The first stop is at the Sea wolves nesting place. You shall admire around 2000 Sea wolves living here. Along the coastline, different kinds of birds can be seen: the “Cormoran” (a seagull look alike) build their nest on mountain cliffs, the “cooking” seagull and the “witch” heron.
After all this the boats get far from the coast and shut off the engines. We just lay there and all of the sudden a gigantic silver body bursts out of the water. The whale stays suspended in the air for a second and then falls into the water flat on its back. He or she will probably take a dive beneath the boat and appear again on the other side.
These whales weight somewhere between 3 to 55 tons and measure from 15 to 50 feet.
Whales in el Doradillo Beach, Peninsula Valdes
A 17 kilómetros al norte de la ciudad de Puerto Madryn, se encuentra la playa El Doradillo. Durante la época de cría de la ballena franca austral, en los meses de temporada alta, este lugar se convierte en un interesante punto de avistaje costero al que se accede fácilmente en vehículo convencional.
Desde los distintos sectores de esta vasta extensión de zonas costeras, es posible encontrar el lugar perfecto para apreciar a las ballenas y sus crías a escasos metros de la costa, resoplando y mostrando sus colas y aletas en todo momento.
Muchos visitantes, aún después de haber realizado el avistaje de ballenas Francas en la Península Valdes embarcado desde Puerto Pirámide, se acercan hasta El Doradillo, para obtener otro tipo de vivencia con éstos gigantescos mamíferos del Golfo Nuevo.
Otra opción es verlas desde la playa de la Estancia El Deseado, a unos 30 kilómetros de Puerto Madryn , en la entrada a la Península de Valdes. En la Estancia podéis recorrer el casco y la playa a través de los distintos senderos y sorprenderse con la presencia ballenas Franca desde la costa.