Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Punta Tombo Penguin Colony- Largest in South America, Most amazing sunset of my life, The random kindness of strangers

The motorcycle was doing great, I was happy and on the road. I began to forget the joy it is to ride a bike.

Your eyes are opened to the world in a completely different way as they would be driving a car around these parts, you are one with your surrounding.

The road from Rio Gallegos to Buenos Aires is pretty boring and dull compared to everything I’ll already seen and driven.

But I did get one of the best sunsets if not the best in my life. One of my favorite things in life are sunsets and it’s something I have seen many of all over the world and appreciate quite profoundly in every way.

Because I was so far down south and because of the seasons an awesome visual effect pronounced itself.

On my left the sun was going down with awesome colors.

And on my right, the moon had risen and was completely red/orange on the horizon, and it was a full moon as well.

Looking at the sky left to right was amazing, went from day to night all at once, it was something I’ve never seen before anywhere, every color in the electromagnetic spectrum was represented in the sky.

The pictures do not do this amazing sunset/moon rise justice, being there in person were a privilege and a wonder to behold.

I did get some video to share with everyone which I hope will give a somewhat decent representation of my awesome ride through this beauty.

And a bit of a 360 panoramic -

As my first day ended, I was close to Comodoro, it was about 10 pm.

As I’m low on money I have to be creative on sleeping arrangements. So I drove around the coast to find a good camping spot.

The area I was told was kind of dangerous, so I was really looking but I couldn’t find anything that didn’t give me a sense of discomfort.

So I cruised down the coast like a crazy nut. There was a gentleman in his garage I drove by at about 11pm. I saw there was a motorcycle in his garage and he was looking at me in confusion, looking at the ridiculous tourists driving up and down the coast like a delusional madman.

So finally I thought I’d ask him if he knew somewhere nearby to camp for free or if it would be an issue camping in one of the vacant lots that was next to his house where there was construction and houses being built.

Well as we talked, I saw a sparkle in his eye. He gave me some random confusing information, I was so tired I just kindly nodded my head and hoped he would hurry up and finish his confusing directions o I could pitch a tent in an abounded lot a few houses down.

He talked with his lady companion quickly and came back. He said, “Don’t feel obligated, but we know its late, but you are welcome to sleep here”.  I said oh cool, I’ll pitch the tent on your outside lawn if that’s ok. 

He said, no I meant inside with us.

I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of his mouth.

I had talked a few minutes with this man and because of a small motorcycle bond, and he offered me to stay in his home for the night.

If this is not random kindness from strangers, I don’t know what is.

So we put the bike in his garage and had some good conversation.

This is Jose Luis and his girlfriend. They were a nice couple who were fantastic hosts. This Argentinean hospitality is amazing; I never in my wildest dreams imagined such help for complete strangers. The nicest people I’ve met so far on the trip have been the Colombians and the Argentineans and it only grows more every day.

Jose Luis had a very sad story. He had 4 sons, all of which were taken from him, two in a freak accident when they were young and the other two in a plane crash later on, where he was both present when they all passed on to the next life right before his very eyes.

It was a heart breaking story to say the least. He had a heavy love towards the virgin marry and it seems he had a heavy belief in a divan power and faith.

He was certain faith had brought us together that day.

After some chat about my adventure I was off to bed, sure beats sleeping in a dangerous empty lot believe me!

The following morning, I was given some food and I was on my way again.

Jose Luis even showed me the way out of the city riding along with his motorcycle. He was a super nice guy.

The road again was pretty boring and I was hit with the famous Patagonia killer cross winds of the eastern coast that had me driving the motorcycle at a tilted angle the entire day with a stiff neck from fitting the wind the entire day, which had me looking slightly to the left all day long.

Not to mention the muscle cramps I had in my arms from holding the motorcycle so tight to prevent it from flying away from me. It was a tuff 11 hours driving extravaganza full of physical and mentally challenges.

The only eventful stuff was this exciting shot up trash can.

And this cannibalistic looking tow.

I arrived at Punta Tombo, where the largest penguin colony in South America exists. It was already closed when I arrived, so I spent the night behind some old buildings on a cement floor. Again captain cheap at his best.

So things learned so far on this trip and life experience- Do not sleep next to the largest penguin colony in South America, it very loud with all the penguins yelling all night long and a very nasty smelly experience.

All night long the penguins are yelling and making what I can only describe as a loud gurgling noise from their bellies that sounds like a cross between a donkey, flamingo and a horse. To add to the spectacle, the smell of their feces rivals on the most awful smell so far on this journey next to the  chicken farm I passed by in Peru.

So it was a tuff night because of the noise, the wind carrying the putrid smell of crap straight into my tent and included in the Penguin colony experience was a complimentary cold cement floor.

However since I wasn’t able to sleep, I did wake up early enough to beat the guards to their post and got in for free to the park.

It was amazing to see how domesticated the penguins are, and how used they were to people and tourists, a little sad actually.

They just looked at you as you walked by.

This was the first time I really felt as I was completely and utterly intrusive to an animal species.

The paths were cut straight into the nesting grounds. It was nice to get the opportunity to see them so close, but I felt rude and intrusive at the same time.

As you go along the path, the penguins just walk by you like nothing.

This little guy was changing his coat.

This little guy seemed to have some explosive diarrhea.

This little guy was dead. :(

March of the penguins eat your heart you.

Again the night was loud because of their “interesting” noise they like to make just for fun. Here’ some video/audio of what it sounds like. Turn up the volume because the microphone on my camera is not the best, especially with the wind.

Seeing the guards were out, and for legal matters, I "may" have jumped a fence to sit down and "may" have watched the penguins migrate to the shore as they "may" have waddled by me, and I "may" had enjoyed it..

This along with the turtle nesting in Costa Rica has been fantastic experience just to sit there and watch.

So I said farewell to the penguins, got back on the back and continued the journey north to Buenos Aires.

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