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We arrived in Puerto Madryn early this morning under a mostly cloudy sky. After sorting out Emerson and having our daily mochas, we ventured into town in the mid-morning using the free shuttle provided by the cruise line. The city (population ~60k), which faces the Gulfo Nuevo, was founded by the Welsh in 1886. It’s a great spot for whale watching (just not at this time of year!) and provides a gateway to both Peninsula Valdes (one of South America’s finest wildlife reserves) and Punta Tombo (with its colony of nearly 500,000 Magellenic penguins). However, both locations would have required 7-8 hour shore excursions, most of which would have been spent en route driving through the arid landscape of coastal Patagonia. Hence, this wasn’t in the cards with a toddler in order to merely see more penguins (done in the Falklands) and sea lions (done in Ushuaia). In any case, we were happy strolling along the costanera (seaside road) viewing the beach, passing by seaside diving and food stands, and just enjoying what turned out to be a very fine day (warm and sunny with a slight breeze). The town really doesn’t have any particularly noteworthy sites, but we were very comfortable here—seemingly clean, safe, maintained. Moreover, it had the blend of many Florida towns on the Gulf Coast: a notable influence from tourism, yet a ‘real’ place populated with ‘real’ people. Nice.

Here’s a view of the waterfront in Puerto Madryn:

Puerto Madryn

We returned to the ship for a late lunch. Since the weather was so spectacular, we ate our meal al fresco on deck aft of the Oceanview Café. This was very enjoyable, as we munched away while watching the sea lions on the lounge about on the pier (so much for needing to go to Peninsula Valdes, I suppose). It reminded me of our splendid summers in Europe, especially aboard NCL Jade in June 2008 in the Mediterranean. Here’s a photo of Libby enjoying a strawberry daiquiri (saucy, no?):

Libby enjoying lunch...

Tomorrow’s another sea day, which I’ll probably use to start packing (as our cold weather clothes won’t be needed any longer).

Our next port is Montevideo, Uruguay on Saturday.

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