karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)

Words can't adequately describe what or even how I feel right now. It was like being live in a nature documentary by David Attenborough, only the voice-over was missing.

In the early morning we were shipped out on a local tender and then got onto a bus which took us to the National Park.

Before even entering the park proper, we spotted a condor sitting in the pampa by the side of the road, no more than 30 metres away. It minded its own business and then took off very gracefully for a creature of that size (wingspan of 3.2m).

On we went for a few minutes only to spot a whole group of condors sitting on a rocky bit further away.

There were some Nandus, too but we had seen those more clearly and closer on the way to the Otway Sound penguin colony so they weren't that interesting anymore.

And then, the highlight: a whole herd (flock? I'm not sure what the collective word is) of Guanacos, right there beside the road, the closest not further than 15m away or even closer. There were at least 30 animals, maybe even 50, including a large number of young one who couldn't have been older than maybe a week. A wonderful and utterly awesome sight. We spent at least 15 minutes there and I got a number of brilliant shots, including a sequence of one male (assumingly the dominant one) chasing another (impostor?) across the hill and back again.

All the while a condor was circling over the herd on the lookout for any weak or sick ones. As one of the lecturers told me, they will finish off a still living animal that's fallen and can't get up again or is sick etc. so they won't just go purely for things that are already completely dead.

On went the journey into the park proper where we spotted a grey fox at one of the vantage points. The weather was clearing up more and more the further we went in and we soon had bright sunshine, just the very top of the mountains were still in clouds, including the landmark of the region, the Torres themselves. They wouldn't come out later, either but all those animal sightings more than made up for it.

There was lunch at the Hospitales by Lago Grey, in which icebergs from the glacier drift along lazily and then the long drive back with various stops on the way when more animals were sighted. We also saw several Karakaras (large birds of prey who also feed on carrion), Magellan and Koroskovia Geese and finally, back in Punta Arenas, black necked swans who look similar to our swans, just as if they'd dunked their heads and necks into a pot of ink...

Ferried back to the ship, it was time to relax a bit and watch the anchor being weighed.

We are now on our way to Porto Williams, our next destination, again passing the Kirk Narrows on the way, which I won't miss this time!

I really wish I could upload those photos...

September 2017

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