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Penguins, Penguins, Penguins


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I am planning the various excursions I will take on the HAL Valparaiso Rio cruise in October. One commonality amongst the excursions is the many opportunity to view penguins at various ports. I am certainly an animal lover but I do not wish to OD on too many penguin sightings at the expense of doing something else equally rewarding. So perhaps someone can advise me if I were to limit my penguin viewing to one excursion which should it be.

In Punta Arenas it seems to me the best excursion is to visit the "Magdelena Penguin Reserve".
In Ushuaia there is yet another opportunity on the "Penguins and Beagle Channel" excursion.
Finally, one can go in search of them in the Falkland Islands by going on the "Bluff Cove Penguin Rookery" excursion.
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Yep, I just noticed that same thing in reviewing tours for March 30 cruise.

I love penguins, and really enjoyed watching them (in great comfort, I might add) at the aquarium in Chicago. but see one penguin, you see carbon copies!
(Reckon we could smuggle one on board for formal night?)

So I will be looking forward also to some answers here.

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We took the St Magdalena Island excursion out of Punta Arenas-our guide told us that there were appoximately 100,000 penguins there-this was last December. Frankly, that was the only place where we had any close-up encounters with penguins, and you can get quite close to them, there. I thought it was one of the better excursions we took on our cruise--dress warm if you take that excursion, however. There is an active lighthouse with a museum on the island, as well. The lighthouse is open to the public and you can climb all the way to the top and walk around the outside of the light at the top.

The only other penguins we observed were in Antactic waters, either on icebergs or swimming around the ship or the icebergs, or on shore, but these sightings were at some distance.

At Ushuaia, we took one of the wildlife cruises (on a catarmaran) up the Beagle Channel, but did not see any penguins on that excursion, however. I'm sure there will be others who took different excursions who will share their experiences.
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I was told by a tour operator down in Punta Arenas -
"In fact, as you said it would be great if you can check in the middle of October if the penguin colony will be open. All depends if penguins arrive to the Island before people think. Last year, they arrived to the Island at the end of October and the colony was opened first days of November. At the same time, Seno Otway (the another penguin colony) was open in the middle of October but this year people think in opening it in November as well.
Anyway, don't hesitate in asking again, maybe the situation can change. "

I hope the colonies open. I am still trying to find more info on this.
We too will be on the Oct. 25th trip on HAL
Hope to see you all on the trip!
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Bill S. and JS6CQ9
Thank you for your input.
Bill S. I have enjoyed many of your post and I am inclined to go with the Magdelena Island cruise once I get our passports back from the Brazilian Consulate; it's been two weeks and counting.
John, thanks for the heads up on the opening of access to the Colony. I didn't think it would be an issue. By the way have you had a chance to read Troy86 Review of his South American Cruise - Part 1. He highly recommends the private tour he took in Puerto Montt - the Photo Safari to Osorno Volcano. My wife and I have already booked the tour guide in question and you are welcome to join us. As it is we are paying US$120 per person and the more people the per person cost should come down. I do prefer the private tours to those offered by the cruise ships.
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Dear Bill

We are thinking of skipping the penquin colonies in Punta Areanas and going tot he Tomba Penquin Rookery in Puerto Madryn?

Did your cruise sto in Puerto Madryn? did you go tot he Tomba Penquin Rookery? How would you compare them?

I do want to see the penquins

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Ann: Our cruise did not put in to Puerto Madryn, so I'm sorry, I cannot give you a comparison. We found that selecting which excursions for the SA cruise was he toughest we had encountered to that time-so many choices between what looked to be very interesting excursions. All I can say about St Magdalena, is that if you want to see lots of penguins really close up, you won't be disappointed! Hope this helps you some---maybe there are other posters who have done both.
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