Where We Be
Punta Arenas, Chile
Our first stop in Chile was a chilly one! We rented
a car and drove 40 miles north of Punta Arenas to
see the colony of 6,000 Magellanic penguins at
Seno Otway.

It was cold and the winds were ferocious --
enough so that we could barely see Mom’s face
as she kept her hooded coat pulled tightly
around her. It started to rain horizontally, blowing
in from the frigid Seno Otway sea arm.
Brrrr!
Thankfully the rain stopped a few moments later,
but we were all shivering by then. "These better
be some damn cute penguins!" we all grumbled.

We came to our first two penguins as we reached
a “penguin bridge.” Humans cross over the small
bridge so penguins can cross under it, moving
from their burrows inland to the ocean’s edge.
Two penguins happened to be toddling our way.
They were clearly hesitant to go any further with
people so close staring down at them, so we kept
moving.

Before too long we reached the main group of
penguins out by the water. Many of the younger
ones were learning to swim for the first time,
paddling around in the shallow water. You could
still see tufts of “baby fur” on them. Others were
waddling back to shore or heading in for a swim.
Right near the blind from which we peeked was a
family of penguins, including several chicks fast
asleep on their stomachs. Magellanic penguins
are only about 1½ feet tall so they definitely
qualify as cute, especially when they waddle.

On our way back, we saw three more penguins
trooping out to the water from their burrows. A
particularly funny moment came when one of the
penguins hopped off a small dirt ledge to join his
brethren. Too cute! The trio crossed the grass,
following a clearly demarcated “penguin path”
created by years of traversing the same route to
the water. The path led under a barbed wire
fence, and they barely had to duck to get under.
Here they pass beneath a barbed wire fence, hardly needing to duck since they are only about a foot-and-a-half tall
The stone gateway in the distance is the one remnant of the colonial citadel
The penguin up top is just about to hop down to join his brethren -- one of the more amusing sights of our trip
These two penguins were the first we saw -- they crossed beneath us under a "penguin bridge"
Watching penguins waddle to the water side by side is definitely a treat
Most of the penguins were in or near the water, and several chicks were just learning to swim in the shallows
We peeked through a blind and saw this family of penguins up close as they napped and preened -- the chicks are still quite fat and fuzzy with their "baby fur"
Penguin in full tux and tails
It was sooo cold with the intense wind -- but not quite so bad when the sun popped out
We followed a long boardwalk through stark, empty Patagonian countryside to the penguins -- we got rained on and sleeted on but kept our good spirits
A trio of Magellanic penguins make their way from inland burrows to the ocean
The penguins follow a "penguin path" created by years of traversing the same route to the water