15 March 2012

March of the Penguins

Today started with uncertainty on the penguin front. We found out that the ferry might not go, because enough tickets hadn't been sold. The ferry was scheduled to leave at 3:00pm. At 1:00pm we found out that we were in luck and the ferry WAS going! I must admit to being amazed that the ferry actually went - there was no more than 30 of us on board!
The journey across the Straights of Magellan to Magdalena Island was sunny and windy. It was warm in the sun and bitingly cold in the wind. The journey inboard lasted two hours each way, but time went by quickly.





The trip to the island was for the purpose of seeing penguins, but I got a bonus included that I didn't expect - dolphins swimming next to the ship!




Finally we arrived at the island. The penguins were smaller than I thought they would be. These penguins, Magellanic Penguins, are no taller than mid-calf to lower knee on me. They are migratory and spend their summers here. They are currently molting and feathers were blowing everywhere.

On the island, rules were very stringent:
- visitors have one hour only
- no food or drink (even water) is allowed
- do not stray from the marked path
- do not touch the birds or disrupt them in any fashion

The penguins were incredible. Some were boldly out in the open, posing for visitors, marching across our path and making loud noises (mating calls?). Others lay sleeping on the ground, groomed each other or just flat out ignored us. Some stood in their holes and others curled up deep in their holes - snuggled tightly against the wind. Some swam in the frigid water, others strutted along the shores.
The hour on the island passed by in seconds. I loved every minute of it!




















One penguin tried to board our ferry and travel to Punta Arenas in style, sadly he was denied boarding and sent back off the boat:





And a bit of penguin video fun....


YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Isla Magdalenas, Chile

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