South America Drive

Argentina’s Southern Right Whale

October 6, 2013

“It was hard to wait until 5 pm to board the boat. The excitement builds. For months we have been looking forward to seeing the Right Whales, up close!

Puerto Piramides

The town of Puerto Piramide.

We drove the long drive back to Peninsula Valdes. I was so excited.  The drive definitely took longer than yesterday.

At 4:30, we pulled into Puerto Piramide, basically a settlement of about 500 people and the only town on the peninsula. We are scheduled on the sunset cruise out of Puerto Piramide to see the Southern Right Whale.

We kill time in the loft of the cruise company overlooking the extensive beach stretching to the water. We can see our boat on a trailer.

us getting on boat to whale watchAt a few minutes past 5 the signal is given. Twenty people file across the beach to the boat that is still on the trailer. We board the boat and it is slowly backed into the water. It is such a long, shallow beach, this is the most convenient way to launch. Launching takes place at low tide.



Immediately we pass dauntingly high walls of rock. It looked as though it was part of an old protective wall, but nature was its only creator.

DSC04904As we rounded out of the bay, we heard and then saw dozens of seals at the top of the wall. They wait for the tide to come in and then slip into the water to feed after a relaxing day sunning on the rocks.



DSC04900One wall was lined with penguins.

us on boat whale watching







We huddled to keep warm as we skimmed over the water in search of whales.






Our first encounter was with a mother and baby. Whales come to this area from May to December to mate and give birth to their young.This youngster was brave, coming along side the boat. The naturalist was concerned that the mother was acting strangely.

My favorite was watching baby whales tagging alongside their mom, imitating mom’s moves. They were not very good at breaching, but they had the tail slap pretty good.

whale 1We saw over a dozen whales. Getting close to a few. They are huge!! Our boat that previously felt large seemed to shrivel. This is the Southern Right Whale. Rarest of all large whales.




Notice the white patches on their head. These are called callosities. They are as unique as a fingerprint, thus they are used to identify individuals


















The biggest thrill was watching them breach. These massive bodies would suddenly break water, launching most or all of their body out of the water, twisting in the air; then return splash into the water, their massive  bodies pushing water high into the air.


whale tailThis is a classic shot – the whale tail. Glad we captured it. I like to think it was waving goodbye.

Our 2 hours went by way too fast. As the sun was setting, we headed in to port.

On our way back, a few dolphins came to play in our wake. Our guide said it was uncommon to see them at this time of year. First Orcas, now dolphins . . . life is good.

DSC05019Just as we thought the show was over, this gal launched herself up right next to our boat.

Whale watching from a boat is impressive. You can watch them from shore, but it is surprising how close they will let you approach on the water.


Please read my next DIDYA post about the Right Whale. You will learn more about them, including some creepy pictures and info about the white markings on their head.


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