Tag Archives: Agentina

Miramar at Mar Chiquita, Còrdoba Provincia, Argentina

Cactus on the way to camp

We had a fantastic travel day from Santa Fe, Santa Fe Provincia, Argentina to an campground that didn’t exist. We arrived to the GPS coordinates at ten at night with a clear star filled sky. The coordinates put us in a quiet spot between a wildlife preserve and a cornfield but no campground in site.  The wildlife preserve signs asked us not to hunt, disturb the wolves or bring dogs. We kept Gypsy very close, made a quick camp and slept. The camper window was oriented to the full moon rising which was my last sight of the night.

Still alive (not the cornfield site)

The next morning, we woke to the sun rising through the same camper window. I love the morning sunrise. Mike and I made coffee and took a walk on a road through the cornfield towards the lake. There were hundreds of Chilean Flamencos on the bay of Mar Chiquita. Our position was too far for photos but their numbers impressed our minds. We also heard Pygmy Owls which we had seen on the road the night before.

Mar Chiquita with Mike and Gypsy

As the kids got up, we made a plan for the short drive to Miramar at Mar Chiquita. Miramar is a beach tourist town at the edge of Mar Chiquita. Mar Chiquita is three times saltier than the ocean. So, you bob like a cork when you swim. It’s shockingly green-blue, like photos of the Mediterranean Sea.

The beach of Mar Chiquita at Miramar
Gigantic cactus around Miramar which host an insect used for its bright red dye of carmine (per Candie Borduin)
Niles enjoying the nightlife of Miramar
Gypsy enjoying leaving the salt for the mountains of Còrdoba, Argentina.

Rio Paranà, La Vuelta de Obligato, Argentina

Camp on the shores of Rio Paranà

A beautiful public beach in this sleepy  Argentinan town  is offering us easy living today. We are camped at the river beach where older couples come to fish and sit on the shore of Rio Paranà. The sun is strong enough to charge the solar panels; the weather is warm enough for shorts and swimming. It’s off-season so camps are closed, there is free camping everywhere.

Sheep dog.

Gypsy (not pictured) is having a better time here than in the city. In camp, there are up to 6 other dogs at a time causing a lot of action when there is food. Now in mid-afternoon, they are asleep in the sun. At times, they move to the shade. This lucky pup below was using the solar panel as a bed until Niles pulled him off, absolutely not moving,  by his legs.

Comotose sun worship in the park
Where we are…

History of the area: in October 1845, there was a battle stretching across the river here in Vuelta de Obligado. Argentian gauchos and women from the area were organized to fight an English-French trading convoy that intentionally circumvented the protocols for trade through Buenos Aires. (I can understand the desire to go around the port authority of Buenos Aires, ‘nough said)….But, more seriously, the British/French flotilla had colonial intentions. The young country of Argentina was able to block unauthorized trade up the Rio Paranà and thwart the commercial aggression.

A map of shipping up the Rio Paranà, Argentina today from Marinetime website. Imagine if England and France had taken the lands bordering this river….

Today, the river accommodates large container ships  We saw several heading up river. One named the Norway, another, Captain Adams and another the YaSa. The Argentinan Ambassador to the US recently commented in an article that the US is Argentina’s greatest investor and China is its greatest trade partner. Argentina finds itself between world powers because of its location and resources. To help us understand the history of the area more, we have been reading and going to museums.

Books we are listening to while driving are : Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara, Operation Condor: the History of the Notorious Operation by Charles River Editors, and Destiny Disrupted by Tanin Ansary (this one more to understand the Muslim World). These books all give a view of history and travel that we were missing when we started.

Ship heading up Rio Paranà

Although, the Motorcycle Diaries is the most enjoyable to me, Operation Condor is the most shocking. It details the crimes against humanity committed by the “junta”, extrajudicial killings sanctioned by military dictators in the 1970s-1980s aided by CIA intelligenc. It may be too detailed for some readers regarding torture and killings in the 70s and 80s so, readers beware.

When visiting the museums of Argentina, the information in this book has helped us to understand the US influence in the Cone Countries of South America. Museum exhibits make a lot more sense as do comments by Argentinan friends that US travelers don’t tend to know what the US has done in South Americn countries. I can say that, that’s true usually.

Hope that wherever you are, there are people you like enough to share a meal with and that you can find Chilean or Argentinan wine to pair with your food. We have found doing this over and over is improving our moods and Spanish. Love, Sarah

Peninsula Valdez and Doradilla Preserve near Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Continuing our travels in Argentina: March 2023. We are on the Argentinan Atlantic Coast again. This time we are traveling North towards Buenos Aires from Camarones. Our family has been on the road in our campers since receiving them out of port December, 23, 2022. In January, we traveled South from Buenos Aires central to Necochea and then cut across the center of Argentina to the fantastic lakes of Siete Lagos, then South to Rio Gallegos.

Mike on the beach

Now, we are returning chased by wind and cold out of Southern Patagonia; we did not venture to Ushuaia because of bad weather. Here near Punta Norte, the Northern most point of the National Parque Valdez, we are enjoying light winds, some rain, some sun, highs in the 20’s Celsius. We came during March specifically to see Orcas. The Orcas that feed on Sea Lion young in nurseries on the beaches in the National Parque Valdez.

Niles Homeschooling

Through a sweet introduction from a Argentinan fellow traveller, named Miquel, to a local tour guide, named Cesar, we got very good direction regarding how to time our visit to the park. We were invited to Cesar’s house in Puerto Madryn to have tea and plan our days near the park and maximize our luck in seeing some Orcas. He gave us a 25% chance for success because the Orcas have a 600 kilometer range.

Well, the next day, we got a gruesome show. We decided to go straight to Punta Norte hours before high tide as is recommended. High tide was just after 1700 on 3/16/2023. Along with about 100 other tourists from around the globe, we waited. Just as a storm was starting to threaten our resolve, a black dorsal fin came in and out of view to the South of the Mirador (lookout) area.

Cesar had shown us a film of Orca’s attacking a Right Whale through exhausting it and then biting and holding. During our tea, he had said that the Right Whales wouldn’t be around because it’s not their season. Not until May. We were slow to believe what we were seeing at Punta Norte because there are not “supposed” to be Right whales here in March at Peninsula Valdez.

An Orca chasing one or two or more Right Whales (ballena francia australs) a mother and calf along the coast toward open sea, perhaps to the rest of his pod. The Right Whales located by sight of their breaches and blow spouts were swimming close to one another. The Orca’s dorsal fin crested for each of their breathes just behind and alongside when they were being herded towards the point.

How many whales do you see? The Orca is the pointy dorsal fin going up and down.

At times they broke direction but it seemed that the Orca then organized them towards the point again. At first, it seemed that there was just one Right Whale and then as the show seemed more directed towards the point and open sea, there seemed to be blow holes going double time with one black dorsal fin in chase.

Another tourist observer told me she had seen a pod of Orcas, 6 strong, patrolling the coast at Punta Norte the day before. She didn’t see them feed on Sea Lions. The German woman and I imagined that the Orca was driving the Right Whales to his pod waiting at the point but this is pure speculation. We also wondered if the pod had seen the whales the day before and planned this drive out of Golfo Nueva toward the Punta Norte. Also, just pure speculation. We were both wanting to know more about what we had seen. It sure wasn’t the “stranding” hunting method Orcas use to kill baby Sea Lions. Somehow, what we saw was more disturbing.

Here is an ID guide to the known Orcas of Peninsula Valdez as of 2022. We were too far away to ID our Orca sighting but I suspect it was one of the bigger ones. Cesar says their dorsal fins are two meters tall. Terrifying. Also, I found a research article regarding the Orca’s interaction data from 1975 to about 2000. I’ve attached a link to download the information. Now my Google feed is exploding with Orca articles killing large whales but still, the greatest killer of balleen whales are high speed cargo ships.



We camped in a windbreak of dunes along the Doradilla Nature Preserve area of the Argentinan Atlantic Coast. On the beach, we found live and dead juvenile penguins, dead and live sea lions, and two dead whales an adult and calf. One around 45 feet long, one about 12 feet. Both had a rusted baile weight wire twisted through to form a loop through a puncture on the right side of their tail, like an earing.   Cesar has told us the metal loop was likely used by biologists who would have taken necropsy samples as all whale deaths are studied here.

Adult Right Whale on Golipe Beach, Argentina

We met two Americans who have been traveling for 4 years. They shared their inspirational lifestyle with us but because weather and the Guardaparques both were not friendly to kite boarding on the gulf they moved on. I hope to meet up with them further North. I enjoyed walking the beach with them comparing stories and theories about what we have been learning by traveling the coast of Argentina.

Kristen had been told, for instance, that the penguins can recover from traumatic injuries if conditions for rest are available. This made us hopeful for a juvenile Magellanic Penguin who seemed to be convalescing on the beach with what seemed to be linear scarring across its abdomen. Now, 3 days into our stay on this beach, Mike and I walked down to check on him. He is still there but looks a little more perky, and is molting around the linear marks as well as his whole body. This let us see that there isn’t fishing line wrapped around him which has been occupying my thoughts at night. It’s the only thing we could possibly do anything about.

Here are photos from a scientific article showing the molting process of a juvenile Magellanic penguin. Ours is in the gray sullen looking phase, middle photo.

Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 26(3): 202–206.
September 2018
Magellanic Penguins

Now my Google feed is exploding with Orca articles killing large whales but still, the greatest killer of balleen whales are ships. Visit this website for ways you can direct your shipping and cruising dollars to companies that observe voluntary speed reductions in areas of whale sighting (only west coast of US at this time).


Well, if you made it to the end of this post, you have a good attention span. I sure love putting these experiences and thoughts down. As always, I send out my love to family and friends who we are missing. And I encourage you to do less buying and more experiencing!