The Astounding Travel Adventures of a Miraculous Fellow

Save Yourselves.
November 12, 2008, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Argentina
The Southern Right Whale
The Southern Right Whale

The time is nigh.  They are coming.

After returning from Tierra del Fuego, I decided the next day to hop right back on a bus for 21 hours and make my way to Puerto Madryn, in Patagonia.  This place is a wildlife Mecca, full of whales, elephant seals, guanacos (the cousin of the llama), killer whales, and the most terrifying creature of all — one that is succeeding in its quest to take over the planet. 
Upon arrival in the early morning, I was amazed to see giant Southern Right Whales frolicking in the bay within one hundred yards of the beach.  These behemoths come to Puerto Madryn every year to give birth to their calves in the safety of the harbor, out of the way of the killer whales.  They are an impressive sight. 
I was then told by the staff at my hostel that a nearby beach (12 miles away) was one of the best places to see these monsters up close and personal.  So, envisioning a mellow 45 minute ride on a paved road to the beach, I rented a mountain bike and headed off.  The first 3 miles were just as I imagined.  In fact, it was such a traquil ride that I took out my iPod to enjoy the delightful sounds of the Jonas Brothers as I cruised along the beach.  This ended quickly as I noticed the sign that said “Punta Doradillo, 9 miles” as it swerved off to a deep gravel and dirt road.img_3544
“No problem, I have a mountain bike, and since this is no mountain, it worries me not” I falsely declared to lil’ Skippy and Stevie Jonas.  But, hitting the gravel, my bike skidded around and sunk into the road.  The gravel was deep, and made pedaling through wet concrete seem like an easy chore.  “Fudge,” I declared.  Only I didn’t say fudge…in reality, I’m pretty sure I said “Fuck.”  Or maybe “Fuck me sideways.”
Despite this brutal hindrance, I arrived at the beach one leg-melting hour later, to see at the very least four forty-foot whales swimming with their calves no further than 50 feet from shore.  Many people in this town described these gentle giants as “magnificent.”  This word is not apt.  The only word that can describe the glory of these amazing creatures is, of course, “bitchin’.”  So, after peacefully watching these bitchin’ beasts play around in the sea so incredibly close to me, there were numerous times I had to stop myself from flinging rocks at them due to their proximity.  It’s not that I don’t like these bitchin’ things, I just have an obsessive-compulsive urge to hurl rocks at most nearby things.  This is the reason I no longer get mail, pizza, or Chinese food delivered to my house anymore.  Oh yeah, and the churchgoers across the street have undoubtedly petitioned the Lord to strike me down on multiple Sundays…
What you looking at, bitch?!

What you looking at, bitch?!

Anywho, the next morning I took a tour to out to nearby Peninsula Valdes to view the wildlife up close and personal.

This would be my first realization that mankind’s reign over the Earth was coming to a close.
The first stop we made was for a boat tour to see the Southern Right Whale from the water.  Our captain was a talented gent, and we saw at least five whales from up close.  These monsters were even more bitchin’ from up close, and were much larger than our tour boat.  However, on our way back in, we saw a mother and calf leaping from the water (in the most bitchinest fashion, I might add) in what appeared to be a path of hasty escape.  At the time, we all thought they were fleeing from our boat; but as we would later find out, this was not the case…
They are everywhere.

They are everywhere.

Hopping back into our tour van we crossed the peninsula and spotted many guanacos, who seemed a little uneasy, even for guanacos (and I’m sure I don’t have to regale you all with how uneasy a Patagonian Guanaco can be in early-October).  Our next stop was to see the giant elephant seals and their baby calves, and maybe some killer whales.  The adult male seals are truly u-g-l-y without an alibi, but they live, quite possibly, the greatest life on Earth: these beasts sleep 23 hours a day, can grow up to three tons, and have harems of up to 50 female seals.  Lucky bastards.  However, what I was really hoping to see was the lovable babies of these creatures with their big innocent black eyes and soft fuzzy skin, as they adorably lounge near the seashore…then get viciously mashed to a bloody pulp by an oncoming killer whale.  Alas, there were no Killer Whales to be seen.  There weren’t even any of their less-dangerous cousins, the Harmful Whale, or their non-dangerous relatives, the Unhazardous Whale, around.  Boooooring.  So I hurled a couple of rocks at the elephant seals, and went on my way. 


This would be precisely the moment that my innocence would end.


As I made it to the top of the cliff, I noticed a strange creature standing on the top, just watching me.  It was about knee-high, black and white, and resembled a flightless bird.  People call it a “penguin.”  Now, the terrain of Patagonia in October is warm, dry, and nearly desert-like.  I thought, “it’s too damn hot for a penguin to just be walking around.” 
As I carefully walked over to take its picture, I saw another penguin nearby.  Then another.  Then another.  They were everywhere.  There were hundreds of them on top of the cliff, and down on the beach below.  While many people think these creatures are cute, I found them oddly unnerving.  Their calm demeanor and lack of fear of humans underscored my concerns.  I quickly took a picture of the most menacing of these animals, and rapidly hurried to the safety of the van, and the hostel.
The next morning I took a tour to Puerto Tombo, which seemed to be a popular destination.  Only if I knew what had been transpiring there, I could have warned you all sooner.  Alas, I am afraid it might be too late.
Notice the holes.  That's where they store the bodies.

Notice the holes. That's where they keep the bodies.

This was seconds before the penguin slaughtered the guanacos.

This was seconds before the penguin slaughtered these poor guanacos.

As I entered the park, I noticed a herd of nervous guanacos glancing about.  When I looked down, I saw the root of their fears: more (I can only assume) bloodthirsty penguins.  This time, they were literally everywhere.  Our guide told us there were over 600,000 at Punto Tombo, and that more were coming from Antarctica.  They had no doubt grown tired of that cold, lifeless continent, and were beginning to overtake the rest of South America, and most likely the world.

I am afraid to say that humans best weapon has proven ineffectual against this dangerous foe — not even good old reliable Global Warming can save us now. 
I only hope this warning has reached you in time.  Flee for the deserts, arm yourselves to the teeth, and trust no one.
The penguins are coming.  And they are taking over.

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