After a few days of hitchhiking and camping we arrived in Puerto Deseado. During this period I was able to learn the secrets of preparation and consumption of mate which is an important skill while hitchhiking in Argentina. It is an unwritten rule that you need to feed mate to the truck drivers who pick you. I learned the skill in 30 – 35 seconds but I still may need a century or so to learn not to say thank you every time I pass the mate which means “I had enough”. In addition to that my complaints about not seeing much lessened when we see a sea lion colony on the side of the road and the driver was kind enough to stop for a while to let us watch them. I think I may have seen all the fauna of Patagonia in that strip of road. Though it was not easy to understand which species each roadkill belongs to, from the sheer number of them I can only guess, that it would cover the whole types of species. I also later discovered that pichi, the kind of armadillo that lives in the region, is a delicacy. One car that picked us did stop for trying to catch one to make dinner. So among those roadkills, that species may be missing.
Shithole is a good description of Puerto Deseado. Later I found out that this is the case for almost every town around the Atlantic coast. We stayed at the better of the two camping places in the city which was overpriced and underfaciliated. It was hard for me to imagine but this is the place where I learned how a camping area can be underfaciliated. This story is not about rating locations so I will pass that issue for the time being. The only touristic activity in the city is an overpriced boat trip (approx. 120 USD) to the penguin colony close by and the non touristic activity seems like fishing. So we decided to hike by the River Deseado which was a great hike where you can observe penguins on the other bank of the river or on small islands on the river along many other species of birds which, being and ornithologist Mariana knew very well and immensely happy for observing with her most valued possession, the binoculars.
This also double confirmed Mariana by not spending money on the penguins or not to spend time for sea lions in Puerto Madryn, which we were able to see on the road and here. The route along the river went on for kilometres and looked very promising. I really would like to take this route with a car or a motorbike and go all around the spots and hike whenever possible.
This place is also subject to high and low tide which we discovered when stranded on a piece of rock that we were sitting to watch the birds. It was a short struggle to pass to the land without getting our stuff wet. 15 minutes more and we could be completely under water.
The city may not be very attractive but the surrounding area is and worth visiting and hiking for a longer duration if you have a vehicle. The second lesson I learned was that it is always a good idea to keep your passport and telephone in a waterproof bag at all times even if you are not going to the beach or the weather forecast does not mention any rain. Seeing all these animals filled us with hope and we decided the next stop will be Parque Nacional Monte Leon, where we found out that has also a very rich fauna including Pumas.