Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Humboldt Penguin National Reserve

Yesterday I took a day trip to visit the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve. I'm a bit of a fan of penguins so I was quite excited to do this trip.

We set off from La Serena at about 8:45am and drove along the Panamerican Highway for about an hour. Then we turned off onto a pretty rough road towards Punta de Choros where we would get the boat out to the islands.

Along the way, the scenery was fantastic and we saw some great fauna. I got see my first Chilean guanacos in the wild.

Guanacos in the wild

Cool scenery
We also saw lots of vultures and even a type of fox - I think it was a South American Grey Fox, but I couldn't be sure. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it.

We got a boat out to Isla Choros, which is the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve. It is fair to say the sea was a little choppy! Thankfully, I didn't feel ill but there were a few hairy moments and the boat wasn't exactly a big boat compared to the swell!

But, we made it and finally got a glimpse of the Humboldt Penguins.
Some Humboldt Penguins
We only saw about 9 penguins altogether but we also saw lots of cormorants, some sealions and a few sea otters, which were gorgeous (but too quick for me to get a picture of!).

After sailing close to the coast of Isla Choros for a while, we then went to Ilsa Damas where we docked for an hour and were left to wander around. It is a stunning little island (only 2km long) with a couple of nice beaches and some cool rock formations.

A little windswept

After the hour on Isla Damas we boarded the boat once more and headed back across the choppy sea to shore, where we saw some pelicans.

We headed back towards home, stopping off on the way for a late lunch of empanadas (cameron queso for me) followed by some delicious swordfish.