I find myself recovering at home. Fortunately, I departed Santiago, Chile just the Thursday night before the earthquake. Some of those buildings I photographed in the city and now damaged as I had seen in the news. Wondered what happened to those fellow travelers who were headed for Easter Islands the next morning.
I started the trip by flying into Buenos Aires where I spent a few days and was amazed as to the construction activity going on compared to what I saw there year before in May. From there I flew to Trelew in the province of Chubut for my major destination at the Peninsula de Valdez, site of one of the largest national parks in Argentina. It was a desolate area mostly like a steppe of low rolling hills covered by low brushes and short grasses as seen above with steep cliffs making the beaches difficult to access. Most of the coastal area of this province has the same topography. My major purpose to go Valdez was to photograph orcas attacking sea lions on the beaches. Unfortunately I arrived a few weeks ahead of time and to access the areas where these activities take place, a permit must be obtained; an excuse to return next year.
From Valdez I drove down the coast to Bustamante, an isolated hacienda that back in the XX century started as a center of aquaculture where algae was collected and processed for food and pharmaceutical uses. Now it is a developing ecotourism center and the old housing for the workers has been fitted as cottages for tourists. It is a vast pristine area not yet widely known but I am sure it will become a center for nature lovers.
From Bustamante I roamed up the coast back to Trelew and visited the port of Camarones where I had the best seafood meal of the whole trip in an old gas station transformed into a restaurant by a couple of young entrepreneurs. Farther up the coast I ended up a Punta Tombo, the largest pinguinera in Argentina and perhaps the world. What an experience seen about 250 hundred thousands of Magellan penguins nesting over the hills along a small bay. No need to see another penguin for the rest of my life,a false statement, they are so cute and friendly.
From Trelew I flew to Calafate, where again I had visited in May of the previous year. In such a short time it has lost is quaint ways and is overcrowded with sprawling new real estate developments and hotels. Progress has paved the road to Perito Moreno glacier. After a couple of days here I departed for Chile.
I arrived in Puerto Natale which I visited in the last decade and rented a vehicle to go to Torres del Paine, probably my most favorite site in the world due to its massive granite towers, ice flows and glacial lakes.
I returned with 330 GBs of data or more specific about 24,000 images. Why so many? I took a lot of multiple photos for HDR images all over as well as wildlife. The trip went well when it came to transportation and accommodations but suffered photo equipment as well as some photographer’s failure. During my previous long trip to Africa last summer I ran out of storage space for the images but this time, one camera died and suffered from faulty exposure as well as the traditional autofocus problems. More to come from this wonderful trip.