Our expedition began in Buenos Aires, where we boarded the National Geographic Endeavour, a beautiful, brand new ice-hardened expedition ship in the Lindblad fleet. We first visited an estancia outside the city, where we were entertained by the riding skills of the local gauchos and performances of the tango. We then sailed to Montevideo (Uruguay), 100 miles across the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, where we visited a lovely vineyard.
From there we sailed for 2 days down the coast of Patagonia to Puerto Madryn. From the port, we traveled to Peninsula Valdès, a UNESCO World Heritage Area where southern right whales breed every fall. The whale viewing was spectacular from a small boat as we cruised the bay. Along the shore of the peninsula we also visited a colony of Magellanic penguins that nest in a very unique way by digging holes under bushes along the shore.
Next we were scheduled to travel to two more ports down the coast, but severe weather warnings convinced the ship's captain that we would likely get stranded for a couple days in port, so instead we spent an extra day in Puerto Madryn and then planned to sail directly for South Georgia. On the extra day we had a wonderful visit to the town of Gaiman, which is a village settled by the Welsh in the 1874. The town retains its heritage and we were serenaded at lunch by a local singing group that performed traditional songs in both Welsh and Spanish. After returning to Puerto Madryn we immediately set sail for South Georgia, more than 1,500 miles to the southeast!