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At the End of a Long Drive

Shreesh and Neena Taskar

We didn't make the decision, the decision made us. On October 20th, 2007, we left our comfortable city of San Francisco to follow a simple algorithm - go North till the road ends then turn around and then go as far South. In between those two points was the stage, the timeline, the space, where we made things happen and things happened to us.

The past is fleeting and the stories, the sights and the feelings are perishable. One sees what one wants to see, and perhaps we are not capable of more. We saw that people are kind and helpful even if they were not materially rich. Some we could understand even though we didn't speak the same language, the motivations of others were incomprehensible even though we did. In the end fragments remain - the smell of roasting chocolate, a flock of snow Ptarmigians on snow, the creaking of the rainforest, the rough feathers of penguins, and the intoxication of Curanto.

So these are our stories. Every time you visit the site you will see a random post below. Each starts with Lo que pasa es que...

Orca Attack

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The Orcas – Peninsula Valdes – Obsession – Orca Watch.  (Map this!)

Glued to our binoculars, we focus on a point far away on the beach where sea lions are basking in the sun. Some of the unsupervised pups are frolicking in the sea, oblivious to the Orcas a hair’s breadth away. We see the fins getting closer and closer and suddenly, one no, two whales are out of the water and on the beach. Although we can barely tell, one has a baby sea lion in its mouth. Yes, definitely, because the gulls and the petrels are starting to circle.

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An unfortunate in an Orca grip

The Peninsula Valdes is a World Heritage Site known for its amazing whale watching. We are “accidentally” here in perfect time to watch the Orcas devour baby sea lions. People from all over the world come specially for this sight, we hear of a couple from the UK that stayed for 3 weeks until they saw a successful kill. National Geographic and the Discovery Channel have sent a whole team of photographers and videographers here; needless to say they are in a prime location some fifty feet away from the action.

Peninsula Valdes awakens obsession in people and they make drastic changes in their plans to visit the whales. Being on the windswept plains we too became obsessed with a pressing need of seeing an Orca kill. Weeks and months from now, I will be unable to recapture this evanescent drive. Maybe one day we will stumble upon this blog entry and remember and return, only this time armed with a telescope…

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A Pod



Meanwhile, us and twenty other folks are huddled against the cold Patagonian winds, united in our mission. We swap stories with our fellow hopefuls, eat salami and cheese when we remember lunch, listen faithfully to every braodcast on the park ranger’s radio reporting the movements of the orcas. We run from one end of the observation point to another, following them until a bend in the peninsula forces us to let them go. We will wait patiently until they return for the next kill…