Camarones had been described as a sleepy little beach town. It didn’t help that we arrived (as we always do) during the Argentine 4 hour mid-day break. It also doesn’t help that the tourist season is over in this part of the world, and well, they just shut things down until next year.
The tourist office was open, but unhelpful. The campsite was closed, but we weren’t sure if it was for the season or if we should wait on someone. Simon needed a new muffler, but had been quoted (at 2 different shops) the equivalent of about $500 USD back in Comodoro Rivadavia. So, he decided to go out and find a creative welder – small towns seem to be better for this sort of thing. We never get anything accomplished in a big city.
The first ‘professionals’ we found passed on the job, but then we found a guy that would fix it on a tree stump in his front yard. He insisted that the other guys in town were ‘too rich’ and didn’t want any new business. We had him fix a couple of things on Red Beard too, including bracing the pop-top brackets which were bent from all the wind*. We even had a spare rubber pop-top tie down.
Earlier, we had a made a bet that it would be impossible to buy shrimp in Camarones. Basically, just a demonstration/test of logic in South America. Well, I forget who won, but we did not find any camarones in Camarones.
We decided to drive a bit farther and camped at the coast. Jason and Bode went off to fish (and lost all their lures after just a few casts). The rest of us headed out for an hour hike down the beach to see if we could spot elephant seals.
First, we spotted a dead sea lion and a dead horse. I had forgotten my rule about not following Simon and was beginning to worry. Luckily, after an hour, we spotted a huge group of sea lions. Unlike any other sea lions we have encountered, these were freaked out when they saw us. We weren’t even close, but they all stampeded into the sea. It was actually pretty impressive. The best part was that they left the 10 or so elephant seals sleeping on the beach. They looked up at us a few times, but really couldn’t be bothered to move. The babies and females are pretty cute, with big black eyes. The males… well, their proboscis isn’t as cute as it would be on an actual elephant.
Eventually a few of the braver sea lions returned, and then we could really see how big the elephant seals were – about 10 times the size of the sea lion.
Simon had been keen on trying touch some of the wildlife. For some reason, his translation from French to English had him saying ‘poke’ the animals. We did not correct him when he said he wanted to poke a sheep, but they were just too fast.
*we’ve still got a problem with the metal brackets in the very front center. They were also bent out of whack. We have bent them back to something close, but it still doesn’t close down correctly (and blows up when trucks pass). If anyone could trace a template or provide a profile photo of the exact shapes, we might be able to correct it. Until then, we’re still dependent on duct tape!