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Thursday February 19, 2015


Punta Arenas, Chile

Punta Arenas lies atop rolling hills, looking out over the Strait of Magellan. In the days
before the Panama Canal, this was a major port as ships plied the waters of Cape Horn.
Punta Arenas remains a prosperous town today, thanks to its rich natural resources.
The city is also the gateway to Chilean Patagonia, a maze of fjords, rivers, steppes, and
mountains to the north. To the south lies the great frozen mass of Antarctica. Adventure
awaits in any direction at this port located near the end of the earth.
Across the Strait of Magellan lies Tierra del Fuego, the lonely, windswept island
discovered by Magellan in 1520. The region was settled by Yugoslavian and English
sheep ranchers in the 19th century.


Magdalena Island Penguin Reserve

Click on a picture to view large

Magdalena Island, located in the Strait of Magellan, is one of Chile's largest and most important Magellanic penguin breeding sites with over 100,000 pairs. Sometimes called the Jackass penguin due to the braying sound they make, the Magellenic is the largest species of warm-water penguins, sporting a white chin strap marking, a pink line at their lower jaw and black bill.  That being said, the Magellanic penguin is actually much smaller than we expected.  Even though they are billed as the largest species of warm-water penguins, they are only about 12 inches tall.  About the same height as a seagull!

Each year from November through to January, Magellanic penguins, named after Magellan who was the first European to see one, arrive at the Seno Otway (Otway Sound) and on Isla Magdalena on the Chilean coast to meet and mate.

After a two-hour ferry ride, we arrive at the penguin reserve!  We were so excited to get our first glimpse of the penguins.  There were a gazillion of them on the island!  They are in the wild so we had to stay behind the ropes.  The rule was that if the penguins crossed your path, to stay very still as they passed.  If they came up to you, that was fine but you were not to approach them.  Some came very, very close. 

Below are the photos we took.  Below the pictures, you'll find a video that really gives you the best idea of what it was like.  It was very cold and windy but it was worth it to see these amazing creatures in person.


Video :

Magdalena Island Penguins



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