South America | Argentina | Patagonia | Peninsula Valdes – Bloodshed on Valdes
An endless wind is blowing and like a song that I can’t get out of my head, just as I think it might start to go away it comes back stronger and stronger till I begin to not only tire of it, but become well and truly annoyed with it. There’s nothing I can do though. The wind just keeps on blowing. When I stop, I crouch low to the ground behind a pathetically small bush trying to get some sort of shelter, but the dust blows up into my eyes and I find another that is not so bad. Although I’ve flown two hours north from Ushuaia, this is still the land of the legendary Patagonian winds and here they are stronger than ever.
Trelew was the only place I could fly to from Ushuaia before January 28th and the possibility of a bus to anywhere was almost the same amount of waiting time, so I took the plane. I thought I might ride my bike around Valdes, but no! On that first day cycling north from Trelew to Puerto Madryn, I was quite regularly blown off the road and almost into the ditch – that’s when I wasn’t riding exclusively on the slippery soft gravel shoulder and almost getting blown into the ditch because it was too difficult to stay on the road – and that’s not including the many times I was blown off the road or to a stop to stay upright by the almost constant flow of buses and trucks on Argentina’s Ruta 3 – I think it’s been my most dangerous day riding ever!!!!! I check the weather later and it says the winds were steady at 50 – 60 km/hr with gusts.
The title of this entry is “Bloodshed on Valdes”. Sounds kind of dramatic doesn’t it? Well, don’t get your hopes up too high because blood in this part of the voyage is pretty minimal. It’s true I came to Peninsula Valdes looking for blood to be shed or more to the point I came hoping that I might have the opportunity to see the Orcas here feeding dramatically on seals or sea lions off of the beach as they are prone to do. Unfortunately a month and a half before or from now would really be the ideal season for that activity. Maybe I’ll come back. But being here on another windy day, I did go out to the peninsula on a local tour and take in some beach time with the gigantic elephant seals that have returned to the coast for the moulting season. At one point, a couple of them had some sort of disagreement about which side of the beach to sleep on and with their sharp teeth, one cut into the other causing a very small amount of blood to be shed. It shone brightly in the afternoon sun on it’s back and some of the others in my human group gasped in horror when they saw it.
The wind was calm in the morning and it really felt like a place that deserved all the Argentinian holiday traffic, so I went to the beach for the afternoon and just lay in the sun. On the way, people were doing things that I haven’t seen for awhile. They were doing leisurely urban beach things like rollerblading, kitesurfing, and jogging. Children were bouncing in bungy harnesses and buskers were doing their trade in plazas along the beach. I’m quite content to relax here for a few days in the weather I call sunny, breezy and warm(and then there’s this lifeguard – but that’s another story).
Cycling Report: Sun. January 15
High 30, Winds from the west 50 – 60 km/hr with stronger gusts
From: Trelew to Puerto Madryn
Total: 77 kms
Avg. 17.3, Max 52.9
Ridetime: 4 h 25 m
Climbing: 606 m
Sleeping at ACA Camping just south of Puerto Madryn Center (19 pesos/night)
Comments: Windy, dangerous, lots of traffic. Thought I might ride around Valdes, but “Ditching” this part of the ride.
I’ve also changed some of the video on my website;