From the National Geographic Explorer in South America
Oct 28, 2012 - National Geographic Explorer
Bahia Bustamante, Patagonia, Argentina
We all took part in writing a new page in Lindblad Expeditions’ history today!
However, the start was slightly ominous, as the wind early in the morning stepped up its strength to over 35 knots and the seas in the San Jorge Gulf got bigger and bigger. It was impressive to see from the bridge windows.
During breakfast the weather improved markedly as we made our approach to land. We all attended the morning briefing with much eagerness as it became more evident from the changed conditions that it was very likely that we would be able to go ashore.
Soon enough we were speeding across in our ever faithful Zodiacs to our morning landing, tramped across a lovely beach up to the minibuses that transported us to the settlement at Bahia Bustamante. Here our guides showed us around this algal community which was founded in the early 1950’s and which continues to thrive to this day. Various species of alga are harvested from the shoreline and the preliminary work done to them. Once dried they are sent to Gaiman to be processed further. We then were shown around this quaint little place, including the police station, school, church and Bar Lopez (which pre-dates the rest of the settlement). Bar Lopez has many tales to tell from bygone days.
We were then all treated to a royal feast of goodies which were downed with generous volumes of juice or wine. All the goodies had alga as one of the ingredients. It was delicious and an unusual experience for most of us.
After lunch, and, still out of breath from the morning, we headed off for the Malaspina Inlet to catch sight of the wildlife that inhabits a number of islands there. We were privileged to see the endemic White Headed Steamer Duck as well as a host of other species including some boisterous sea lions both on shore as well as in the inter tidal area. This whole area is included in the newly created Parque Interjurisdiccional Marino Costero Patagonia Austral, which translates into the first marine national park in Argentina.
How was history written today? This was the first time that this spot was visited by an expedition cruise ship. It was the first time that we carried out a landing along the Patagonian Coast with Zodiacs and we were the first to visit the newly created Marine Park from the sea!