Monday, January 20, 2014

I heart penguins

Our second day in Ushuaia (January 7), we went to book our activities for the rest of our stay. Our original intention was to book a hike to Laguna Esmeralda for January 8 and then a trip to Lake Fagnano in a 4x4 on January 9 so that we could rest on January 10 before leaving for Santiago on January 11. But, when we went to Ushuaia Outdoors, one of a few tour companies in town, they were only able to book us for January 9 and 10, which left us wondering what we would do on January 8. It was coincidence (or fate) that we happen to stroll into a cafe with a tour desk that operated helicopter tours. We really didn't plan or intend to book another helicopter tour after splurging in New Zealand. But, in the spirit of checking out our options, we asked how much a flight would cost.

The different options were all crazy expensive but there was one package that caught my eye...flying along the coast and then meeting up with the company that takes you to an island where a colony of penguins live so you can spend an hour with them - up close and personal! There were a couple other options to get to this island (Isla Martillo) - a minibus or boat - but it would be so much more efficient flying there...especially since we already took a boat ride and Paul's back wouldn't survive a long car ride, right? Well, at least that's what we told ourselves before handing over the credit card. And hey, it's more miles, right? was a lot less than going to Antarctica (I know, all that talk about budgeting in my last post went out the door). Trying not to regret the purchase, we strolled around town for the rest of the day...

Hey, Penguin, what are you looking at?

Said Paul before he punched the innocent bird

But he danced with this other penguin

And made friends with the local postal carrier

"Hi Steve!"

I'm not sure the shop appreciated our type of humor

Walking around town

The air was crisp and fresh!

Tierra del Fuego graffiti

More of Paul's new friends

Steve looked thirsty after a long day of delivering mail

On January 8, we were picked up by Heli Ushuaia and brought to the hangar.

Nice reflections and not too cloudy of a day, we got lucky! 

Waiting for them to pull the heli out

There it is!

Watching the safety video

On board in no time



And away

Purple mountains

Getting ready to land for some photos

On top of Le Cloche Mountain

A great view of the Andes

It was an amazing experience to see Ushuaia this way

Just beautiful

So green!

The helicopter looks like a toy

Not sure what this moss like growth is but it's a bit silvery

And we're off again


Amazing view

Capt'n is enjoying the view from the front


The glacier makes Laguna Esmerelda this pretty turquoise color

We got to hike here the next day

During the winter, this is a ski resort

Trees from above look like broccoli

Lago Escondido

So many colors!

Lots of twists and turns - the tree trunks laying around are the work of the beaver


Harberton Ranch


Whale skull is about the size of the helicopter

Looking back towards the ranch

We then walked over to the boat for a short ride to Isla Martillo to see some cute (and a bit dirty) penguins. I hope you're prepared for an overload on penguin photos.

Getting a briefing from the guide - "don't touch them, talk loud or try to take one home"

On shore waiting for our arrival

The majority of the penguins are Magellanic penguins

Waddling about

Upland goose with goslings - I think one is named Ryan

Wocka wocka

Gentoo penguins (orange beak and feet) are on this island too but the King penguins usually live in Antarctica

They look like they are holding flippers

Another shot of the Gentoo and King penguins hanging out

Holding flippers

Penguin love

Walking away together

They like to clean themselves

Penguins there

Penguins everywhere

In all positions

Looks like they are having a meeting

Kissing penguins

Angry penguins

Penguins with a view

Baby penguins too!

Kelp gull (I think) watching over her chick

Baby penguin

I liked how this one was laying

Look how close I am to them!

Digging holes


"Aw, Mom, don't embarrass me!"

Beautiful backdrop

This guy was making a nest

Brought the weeds over here




These two baby penguins are trying to get food from their mom

Pushing around

And trying to get her attention

This egg didn't hatch - penguins usually have two chicks

Here's a chick

This guy was blocking our path so we had to go the other way

They have a nice home

Look how lazy they are

And how close we get to them

Here a few of my favorite shots

Looking right at me


Both looking in the same direction


Another gull in the grass

"What? Is there something behind me?"

One of my favorite things we did in Argentina!

Bye Mr. Penguin

One last squawk

Enjoying the view

More fuzzy chicks

Slinky shot

Ok, last picture (on this island)...for real

We then headed back to Harberton ranch to check out the museum.

Look how tiny the plane looks!

Explaining to us how these bones get washed ashore


And more skulls

Magellanic penguin

And more fossils!

We then headed back to Ushuaia.

Up the Beagle Channel

For some more amazing views

The water was so calm

I only had a little bit of motion sickness

More pretty scenery

We hope to come back one day

But probably won't splurge for a helicopter ride

Unless of course, there's a good deal or something

Ushuaia straight ahead

Almost back

I'm glad it was a nice day!



  1. Wow what an adventure! looks like it worth the splurge to me….


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