Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

We said goodbye to Isidro, Emmy and their tree loving kinds. We are so happy, that we have met you, and for the time we spend together. Head of us is 3094 km on Ruta 3 (RN3) towards Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina with a few detours on our way, it is gonna take 3 weeks before arriving.

P3190062_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02203_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

The road is interrupted between km 2674 and 2696, due to the presence of Magellan Strait, where we have to drive through Chile, over Ruta CH-255 and Ruta CH-257. After entering Chile in the region of Tierre del Fuego we will drive 148 km to the strait. The crossing of the Magellan Strait is by ferry (20 minutes to cross the width of 4.65 km (2.89 mile) at that point. On the other side we will continue north for 57 km (35 miles) before crossing back into Argentina (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Route_3_(Argentina)).

Our first detour “Desdémona”

DSC02319_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

We turned of Ruta 3 and drove to the end of the “A” road, just a few hours north of Ushuaia. Desdémona is one of the recent shipwrecks that can be seen from shore. It is located at cape Cabo San Pablo. As soon as we left Ruta 3 the road was gravel, which was the same every time we left Ruta 3 for a detour.

DSC02304_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02406_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

It all happened in the evening of September 9th, 1985. Desdémona was having engine problems, so when a storm with strong northwest winds hit the ship, she hit the ledge of rocks, that just out from Cabo San Pablo one kilometer into the sea. Captain, Germán Gustavo Prillwitz, decided to take her against the shore and run her aground to save his ship. The captains plan was to unload the cargo at low tide, and at high tide, he would tow he back into sea, but Desdemona never made it back to the sea.

DSC02375_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02345_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

The maximum tidal range (difference between low and high tide) at Cabo San Pablo can be as much as 7.34 meters (24.1 feet), or as low as 3 meters. Tides are the short term periodic rise and fall of the world’s oceans. They result from the gravitational interaction between the Earth, the moon and to a lesser extent, the Sun. Different parts of the world experience different tidal regimes. At the coast of Argentina there are mostly two high tides and two low tides each day, this is called a semi-diurnal regime. Other parts of the world have a diurnal tidal regime with only one high tide and one low tide each day (Source: http://www.ntslf.org/about-tides/tides-faq). Rio Gallegos, Argentina have one of the highest tidal range in the world, 10.4 meters (Source: http://www.ntslf.org/about-tides/tides-faq). The shipwreck Desdémona is located just 400 km south of there. It is worth looking into when it is high and low tide, it is best to visit Desdémona at low tide, because you can get closer to the shipwreck.

The highest tides in the world

Tidevand_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

We wild camped with the view of the ship in the background, and got a few more pictures the next morning

DSC02455_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02468_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

Back on the road

DSC02500_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

Watch out for the wildlife

DSC02513_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02525_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

Our second detour “The Magellan penguin colony at Monte Leon”

DSC02687-Pano_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

Monte León is home to about twenty species of coastal and marine birds: several varieties of penguins (including the Magellanic penguin, of which the park holds Argentina’s fourth-largest colony, with about 60,000 individuals), three species of cormorants (the red-legged cormorant, the rock shag and the imperial shag), and large, flightless birds known as rheas (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Le%C3%B3n_National_Park).

DSC02692_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

The park is also home to several large mammals, including sea lions (forming populous colonies), southern right whales, pumas and roaming herds of guanacos. When we visited, it was not the right season for sea lion nor the whales, but we did see a lot of guanacos. We also saw several puma footprints in the dried mud.

DSC02667_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02715_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

We had to park Lance and walk 2 km before reaching the penguin colony

DSC02691_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02718_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

Yes, the penguins colony was there. We had to stay on the trail, but the penguins were everywhere!

P3200090_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02790_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

It was amazing how close we could get, so just enjoy the pictures wlEmoticon-camera Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

DSC02734_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02758_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02754_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

If you want to see and experience animals in their natural habitat it is very important to do research when they are around. The Magallanes penguins arrive at the in September where they pair and built their nests. In October the eggs are laid, and through November the adults take turn incubation the eggs and feeding at sea. In December the eggs hatched and the chicks are born. Both parents feed the chicks regurgitating the previously digested food, which continues through out January and February. In Marts the young penguins leave their nests and join other young forming groups. At the end of Marts and through April the young penguins start to leave the colony. From May to August all the penguins migrate north following the cold Malvinas current full of food. The penguins live and feed on the high sea during these months.

DSC02724_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02743_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02748_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

DSC02767_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02773_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02797_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

Our third detour “The petrified forest”

DSC02957_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

The natural monument Bosques Petrificados is a protected area, that preserves a large number of the most remarkable petrified trees in Argentina. The region that currently occupies the petrified forest is part of a geological formation whose seniority corresponds to the upper middle Jurassic, approximately 150 million years ago (Source: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monumento_natural_Bosques_Petrificados).

DSC02936_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02908_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

150 million years ago South America was part of a supercontinent, when it was still joined with Africa. It started to get separated and a small Atlantic Ocean began to appear between both continents. A storm hit with winds up to 300km/h generated by volcanic activity and fell down these trees. Later the trees got covered under ground by volcanic ashes, avoiding their usual decomposition. The petrified trees were originally Araucaria mirabilis trees. The trees had an average height of 41 meters, average diameter of 1,1 meters and had been growing for approximately 1000 years.

DSC02927_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

The fossilization of the wood is a set of processes by which all the organic material has been replaced with minerals (most often varieties of silica). The petrification process takes place underground, when the wood is buried under sediment, and it is preserved thanks to the absence of oxygen. The rain water filtered through the ashes and incorporating deposits of minerals into the cells of the trees, so when the tree decompose, a rock mold is formed in its place. Elements such as manganese, iron and copper present in water and mud during the petrification process give wood a wide range of colors. The pure quartz crystals are colorless, but when they add contaminants to the process they acquire a yellow, red or other color (Source:href=”https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosque_petrificado”>https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosque_petrificado).

DSC02919_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02930_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

Petrified wood can preserve its original structure in detail, down to the microscopic level. Structures such as growth rings and various tissues can be observed frequently.

P3220111_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  P3220112_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

It looks like wood, but it sure feels as stone

P3220114_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02902_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

We have traveled the first 1000 km towards Buenos Aires

DSC02851_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)  DSC02968_thumb Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

printfriendly-pdf-button Desdémona, Magellan penguins and petrified trees (Ruta 3)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.