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Salina Chica (the small salt lake) is one of three large inland salt lakes on the Peninsula Valdes. At 42m below sea level, the lake is one of the lowest points in the country. The lake is pink due to the tiny shrimp exoskeletons living in the salt. The road down was a little sketchy, but Lupe survived. Dave’s days of four wheeling in the jeeps paid off. It’s really amazing where you can take a rental if you do it right.

A view of the pink from the main road.
Not so pink right up close!
Standing on the salt – hard crust with kind of a mushy layer underneath
Did we mention it is really windy today?

After visiting the salt flat we continued our ‘safari’ around the coast of the peninsula.

Nieve bunny
A Mara, or Patagonian Hare. He is a large rodent endemic to northern Patagonia. Despite seeing many on our drive, the mara is classified as near threatened/population decreasing.

Unfortunately today we found the Hotel de Campo at the Punta Delgada lighthouse closed. It sounds like it was another victim of CoVid and never opened back up after the pandemic. We were hoping to have a guided tour to the beach to see elephant seals followed by some lunch in their pub.

Thankfully we did find lots of seals at Punta Caleta down the road. There is a good boardwalk down to a couple view points. So all was not lost, just not as planned.

Male elephant seals grow up to 6 meters long (20 feet) and weigh in at 4000 pounds. They are massively bigger than the females who only grow to 800 pounds! The males grow their proboscis at about age 4 which inflates to produce sexy sounds to attract the girls!

Young male, his trunk is relatively small.
Juvenile females
Dozens (100’s?) of seal lions and elephant seals relaxing on the beaches.
The surf keeps waking this guy up.
Mom with feeding yearling. Last year’s pups will/can continue nursing until the next pup is born.

We walked the trails along the cliff ridge looking down at the beach. It was very windy but the views were all amazing.

The sandbars of Caleta Valdés

We stopped for a quick lunch at the cafeteria at Punta Caleta. You know how Starbucks employees are famous for messing up names? Dave doesn’t usually suffer such issues but today was his day. The owner’s English was non existent and his Spanish was rapid. Somehow David came out spelled TEVBY. In the end it was easier to answer to TEVBY then try and correct things. Lunch however, was good.

A new beer for Kris to try. It was pretty good.

The local orca pods have developed an interesting hunting method, using the shallow shelf at high tide. They can get very close to the shore and grab seal pups out of the water (and even just slightly on the beach!) Sadly, we didn’t actually see any orca as it’s too early in the season for pups. But we saw a sign saying sitings had happened this year.

There was a much smaller Penguin rookery down the road so we stopped again. This guy was just begging for a photo!
This gal’s nest is right at the top of the cliff
Our hotel in Puerto Piramides is the white building on the right. The room is the second floor, one balcony in. Great place to stay.
Sunrise from our balcony.
Whale tail sculpture in the town square.
Limestone walls frame the bay. Tons of shell fossils in the limestone.
Fossils feel rare to us. Here it felt like there were almost as many fossils as grains of sand.

Today we left our lovely hotel and flew back to Buenos Aires. We had a nice walk in the park and some gelato from world famous Freddo’s.

Fruita de Patagonia gelato. Mmmmm.
34 Celsius but nice in the shade.

Tomorrow we get up at 4am for our ridiculously early flight to Iguazú Falls (not what Kris originally booked, of course, but changed by Aerolineas Argentina at least once). We are looking forward to the falls, the stupidly early start and flight not so much.

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