Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dolphins, penguins & hosts

We've been so lucky with the weather in southern Chile, another beautiful sunny day with no rain in sight. Wearing shorts, we hopped in the dinghy to see how close we could get to the penguins that we spotted late yesterday.

As we circled around Isla Huepan at Bahia Tictoc in the dinghy, we were joined by several dolphins. When Jordan turned off the outboard, they seemed to get bored and started to swim away. But as soon as he re-started it, they returned and raced and jumped alongside us, and gliding from side to side beneath us. I had to put the camera away as they were splashing too much so close and getting both me and the camera wet. I could have reached out and touched them. What a riot!

One dolphin just ahead of us in the dinghy, another splashing at side

We next saw several bulky sea lions sunning on a large rock. The noise of the dinghy outboard did not seem to bother them at all until we came in for a closer look, then they started to get nervous and headed for the water...

We then came upon a group of penguins on shore! We slowly came closer and closer, taking lots of videos and photos. We were only about a meter away and they did not seem to mind. A short slideshow of penguin photos follows:

As the penguins were so tranquil, Jordan wondered what would happen if he got out of the dinghy...so I held onto the shallow rocky edge, while Jordan slowly and carefully stepped ashore. That's when they all made a mad dash for the water to escape from this intruder. It was amazing how fast they could go! In a matter of seconds, they were 100 meters away, swimming and leaping along in the water. How hilarious! This day was truly a highlight of experiences.

We finally left at 13:30 for Bahia Pescadores (S43°36.753' W072°53.528') and after a short uninteresting 1-hour stay, decided to continue south instead after checking the guidebook and charts.

A famous American bought thousands of hectares of choice natural land to keep as natural reserves. We anchored at 1 of his properties at Los LeonĂ©s (S43°47.363' W072°56.627') where he has an eco-lodge. We arrived once again at 20:00 - it seems lately that we always arrive at this time. A young couple in a kayak approached Sea Turtle and invited us to visit. His parents are managing the lodge and she was living with them to study Spanish for 2 years.

We dinghied over and toured the beautiful property. The guest cottages were very well appointed and nicely done, each placed in a beautiful natural setting. We spent a very enjoyable and hospitable evening with everyone amidst much laughter and gaiety, sharing homemade bread, jam, and corn on the cob grown on the property. We then returned to Sea Turtle at almost midnight beneath such an abundance of stars never seen before.

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