This trip to an animal reserve was the highlight of our visit to La Serena.
La Serena itself is the second oldest city in Chile. This was the first town in Chile where I thought I could be back home. Everything here is familiar there is the same type of cars, fashion, food and prices that I would expect in a well off town back in the UK. It was easy to feel comfortable here, which felt unfamiliar. With the money also comes the arrogance and envy something I did not miss. Overall people were very kind and helpful.
The bay to access Isla Damas is a 2 hour drive out of the city across the desert. We stopped along the way when we spotted some desert foxes and llamas.
When we arrived at the port we found our boat, Argos II.
On the way out we were very lucky as we spotted a whale, we saw its tail and then appear on the right hand side of the boat. It was exciting as well as scary as it could easily overturn the boat to if it wanted. We did not manage to get a good photo.
After the whale we headed over to where the sea lions bask, much easier to get a clear photo.
We spotted a marine otter as well having a snack.
All the penguins spotted were Humbolt penguins which are found down the coast of Chile and Peru. The number of Humbolt penguins has been declining due to a combination of over fishing and changes to the environment; they currently have a conservation status of vulnerable.
There were also a number of different birds.
This was a great day trip for the city and not too expensive.