We drive to Puerto Madryn to watch the whales that come into a very large lagoon with their babies before setting off for the cooler Antarctic waters. On the way, Debbie clocks up yet more roadkill. She now has 4 spiders and two snakes to her credit while I have yet to get off the mark. Obviously, it’s because I am an ecotourist; no one is greener than me. It’s bizarre to see so many large spiders crossing the road some of them as big as my hand. Thankfully, we have not seen them elsewhere – they obviously prefer to play in the road.
The plan comes off the rails when we get to Puerto Madryn and learn that the whales have left the bay. We are about two or three days too late to see them with the last mum and babe having departed the day before. As it turned out, it was probably just as well because in the afternoon, when we would have been out in the gulf up to two hours from land, the wind sprang up, driving huge waves before it and stirring up a dust and sand storm that obliterated the view of everything more than 200 metres away, It was not very pleasant having our skin sandpapered and it got everywhere: in the mouth and nose, eyes and ears, buried deep in the hair. We retreated to our lodgings for the night. Debbie had chosen a very ‘local’ estancia to ensure that Daniel & Lauren experienced the Argentinean outback and it was ‘out’. Having turned off the main road the only access route was one of the famous dirt tracks that lead to a farm estancia and in this case sheep were its cattle. It was a basic but comfortable single storey building that provided us with the very necessary shelter from the dust storm including a pool table for some entertainment and Christmas decorations that helped us feel that Christmas was just round the corner.