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Tag Archives: Patagonia

A Patagonia Penguin Primer

Who doesn’t love the animal that’s always ready for a formal event?  Monika Weinsoft from Zegrahm Expeditions will be speaking this coming Thursday evening, September 3rd, at our Santa Barbara office.  She’ll discuss their upcoming 18-day Patagonia trip, and the many ways you can see penguins up close, as well as whales, dolphins, seals and an enormous variety of other animals.

One lucky attendee at this lecture will win $1500 of airfare for themself and a traveling companion, so mark your calendar to attend NOW!

While you’re waiting, we’d like to whet your Patagonian palate with a penguin article recently published by Zegrahm Expeditions.

Penguins of Patagonia—A Primer

Zegrahm Contributor|June 8, 2015

Always looking dapper in their natural tuxedos, penguins are amazing little creatures. The dashing appearance of these flightless birds—evolved from sky-bound birds some 40 million years ago and found solely in the Southern Hemisphere—is quite strategic: their black backs provide camouflage to predators from above, while their white bellies blend into the water’s bright surface.

Magellanic Penguins

Magellanic Penguins

Most penguins mate for life, joining up to a thousand others in large breeding colonies. They return year after year to the same rookery, often the very nesting spot where they were born. (In Patagonia, females lay their eggs, usually two, in October; babies are born about 40 days later.) Both parents are involved in caring for young chicks, and in some species, the males incubate the eggs while the females hunt for food.

Although other sea mammals have a layer of blubber for warmth, the penguin’s feathers actually act as insulation, trapping warm air against the body. The seawater they ingest is filtered through a special gland behind the eye, then discharged through the beak—the reason penguins sneeze so often.

Gentoo Penguins

Gentoo Penguins

Four penguin species make their home in Patagonia between September and mid-March. The macaroni—standing some 30 inches tall and weighing in around 10 pounds—earned its moniker for the stylish yellow crest on its brow. About a third larger in size, the gentoo is the fastest swimmer among all penguins, reaching speeds of more than 20 miles per hour. There are approximately 250,000 pairs of southern rockhopper penguins, which come in at just under two feet and got their name from the colorful way they hop about on the sheer, rocky cliffs.

Rockhopper Penguin

Rockhopper Penguin

Also medium-sized, Magellanic penguins make up Patagonia’s largest population with upwards of 2 million breeding pairs. While its closest relatives are the African, Galápagos, and Humboldt found along the coasts of Chile and Peru, Magellanics prefer to winter in Brazil, swimming nearly 2,000 miles for its warmer waters.

Patagonia penguins feed on krill, cuttlefish, shrimp, and sardines; their predators include petrels, sea lions, leopard seals, and Orcas. Yet their biggest threats by far are polluted waters and the effects of climate change. 

Who does Adventure Travel?

When you hear the phrase ‘adventure travel’, what images spring to mind?  Indiana Jones?  Crocodile Dundee?  …. or just generally those buff, 20-something fellows who rock- climb the face of Yosemite’s Half Dome with nothing but their bare hands and an occasional rope?

Well, surprise.  According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the average age of an adventure traveler is 48. And as for the image of  adventure travel being a guys’ world?  Wrong again.  More than half – 53% – are female.  In fact, women traveling solo on adventure excursions has become one of the hottest trends in travel the past few years.

In fact, the entire field of adventure travel is quickly growing. The ATTA found that adventure tourism companies were estimating a 24% increase in revenue for 2014.  Why?  The appeal of active travel might lie in the broad variety of possible experiences, or having an immersive experience with the globe’s natural and cultural treasures.

On Thursday, September 3rd, Santa Barbara Travel will be proud to host Zegrahm Expeditions at its State Street office location.  For over 25 years, Zegrahm has been leading inquisitive explorers to the farthest corners of the globe and -with a staggering return traveler rate of over 70% –  providing the opportunity to fully immerse in the culture and natural history of each destination.

Nina Ruhland from Santa Barbara Travel meets up with Monika Weinsoft, acting as 'adventure princess' for Zegrahm Expeditions during Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas

Nina Ruhland from Santa Barbara Travel meets up with Monika Weinsoft, acting as ‘adventure princess’ for Zegrahm Expeditions during Virtuoso Travel Week.

On September 3rd, Zegrahm will be focusing on some particularly unique departures, including their trip next March to Patagonia in Chile. This trip includes visits to both the Falkland Islands and Cape Horn, and has opportunity for plenty of activity, including complimentary kayaking and zodiac excursions to see dolphins, whales, seals and penguins.

Part of that huge demographic that wants to travel solo? Well, take note: Zegrahm is waiving any single supplement on this departure.