ultramarinus – beyond the sea

DAY 71 (3 OF 5) – PENGUINS, MARTILLO ISLAND, TIERRA DEL FUEGO, ARGENTINA

Seeing Magellan Penguins marching on the stony beaches of Martillo Island is perhaps the biggest highlight of many people’s visit to Ushuaia.  Until their contract expires, Pira Tours is the only company granted permission to land visitors on the island.  It was a 15-minute boat ride to reach Martillo Island from Harberton.  As the boat landed on the beach, the curious Magellanic Penguins were already in sight.  The guide led us to sit down on the beach. We  stayed low for about 5 minutes until the penguins got used to our presence.  Then we were able to crawl closer to admire these wonderfully human-like creatures.  They walked like humans, argued like humans, and showed curiosity to us (and our cameras) when we got close to them.  On the beach, we could find mostly “single” penguins that were either too young or too old to raise a family.  On the hilltop where the soil is suitable for digging underground nests, we were able to find penguin couples, and at this time of the year, their babies as well.  Not only did we see Magellanic Penguins, but also a small colony of Gentoo penguin and surprisingly a single King penguin.  No one knows exactly why there is a pair of King penguins on Martillo Island.  Some scientists suggest that these King penguins are visitors or perhaps even pioneers looking for new places to build a colony after plate tectonic movement have affected the region in recent years.  We spent roughly an hour on the island, walking on a designated path from the beach up the nesting hill and then back to the beach.
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Read more on Ushuaia in 2013 South America
Day 69.1 – Magellan Straight
Day 69.2 – Arrival, Ushuaia
Day 69.3 – Fuegian Grill, Ushuaia
Day 70.1 – Museo Maritimo, Ushuaia
Day 70.2 – Chiko Restaurant, Ushuaia
Day 70.3 – Beagle Channel & Isla H
Day 70.4 – Kalma Resto, Ushuaia
Day 71.1 – Pier, Ushuaia
Day 71.2 – Fuegian Trees, near Estancia Harberton
Day 71.3 – Penguins, Martillo Island
Day 71.4 – Estancia Harberton
Day 71.5 – Kaupe Restaurant, Ushuaia
Day 72.1 – Post Office, Isla Redonda, Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego
Day 72.2 – Senda Costera & Bahia Lapataia, Parque Nacional Tierra Del Fuego
Day 73 – Stranded in Ushuaia Airport

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought

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2 responses

  1. Those penguins are so cute!

    December 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm

  2. Jessica

    So funny, I have a photo from 2004, when I visited probably that same place. Same thing: one King Penguin among all the Magellan Penguins :).

    January 12, 2014 at 5:04 am

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