This half day trip was booked with Solo Expediciones and not only included the penguin tour on Magdalena Island, but they also brought us to see the sea lion colony on Marta Island.
We started at 7am in the morning, at the office of Solo Expediciones, where a bus was waiting to bring us to the pier (30min drive). There we got our life vest and 15min later we left with one of the Zodiac boats. First we set off to Magdalena Island (45min) where we stayed 1 hour. Afterwards the boat brought us to Marta Island where we were watching the noisy sea lions for about 10min on the deck. After that it was time to get back to the pier, where we arrived at about 11am.
Arriving at the protected wild area of Magdalena island, we already saw the penguins were waiting for us from the boat. We got 1 hour to walk around on the one way track, which is about 800m heading up to the lighting tower on top of the island and back again.
That’s just enough time to get a good look and take all the pictures you want. The instructions tell you to keep a distance of at least 2 to 3 meters from the penguins. So make sure to give them the space they need when you see them wanting to cross the road. Not everyone’s doing that, unfortunately.
Contrary to the King Penguins, the Magellan penguins are migratory birds, so they don’t stay on this island the whole time. You can see them here from beginning of October to beginning of April. There’s about 100.000 to 170.000 of them, spread over the island.
They’re fairly small compared to the King Penguins (about 60cm), which makes them even cuter. Again, lots of lovely couples. They dig holes in the ground to nest and protect from the strong winds (man – was it cold!). Some of them are laying down, others are walking around.
Next to the penguins there’s lots of birds too, amongst which sea gulls and skua. The skua is the one that’s after the penguins’ eggs.
When you reach the light tower, you get great views on the Strait of Magellan.
This was not the first time we saw sea lions, so we knew what to expect: a rough smell and loud noises. Still, they remain funny to watch. It was mating season at the time we were there, so possibly even more noisy. The colony would count about 2.000 sea lions – some fighting, others swimming, others just making the strangest sounds.
Where at the King Penguin park the weather was marvelous: sun and almost no wind, here at Magdalena and Marta Island the wind was blowing strong. Although we took them with us, we didn’t put our gloves on, so holding the camera got pretty painful when returning back to the boat. Make sure to bring warm clothing, something to cover your head and ears and gloves, to make the walk a little more comfy.