Just returned from a week on the Argentine coast. Stayed in a small village called Dunamar, which is on the other side of Tres Arroyos, about 8 hours by bus from the Retiro station in Buenos Aires. There are a lot closer beach towns but we accidentally discovered this place last year and decided to return again for my birthday this month. Only about 15 families live in Dunamar throughout the year. There are just a few dozen houses in Dunamar and I’m told that they are all already booked for January. Dunamar was founded in the 1950s by Ernesto Gessell, brother of the guy who founded the coastal resort town of Villa Gessell. In a way, Dunamar is a very tiny version of Villa Gessell. Located in a woodsy area with a broad beach that is deserted during the off-season. It’s one of those lovely beaches where you can walk for kilometers and not see anyone. Plus, you can see both the sunrise and the sunset on the same day. All very nice and relaxing.
The drawback to Dunamar is that it’s located right next to the horrible beach town of Claromecó, which has a lovely name but is rather blah. But, Claromecó has a wonderful lighthouse.
I’ve been to the top of many lighthouses and have always enjoyed them. But, somehow, the wide, open nature of the spiral staircase in this particular lighthouse really affected my vertigo and I had to backtrack my way down before getting to the top. There’s also an incredible echo within the lighthouse. That stairway is beautiful but not for those with a fear of heights.
And here’s the house that we rented in Dunamar for less than 100 pesos a night (off-season rates).
A shocking discovery
Walking along the beach at dusk one evening we came across something that really startled us. In the distance we saw an object in the surf. At first, I thought it was a person or a dog but as we got closer we didn’t see it anymore. So, we figured it was nothing or we hoped that it was nothing since we didn’t see either man or animal get out of the water and onto the beach.
Then we saw it again, bobbing in the waves. It looked, initially, like a black garbage bag but one that was really large. We stared at it for a few seconds. My imagination ran away. What large item could be in this garbage bag? Honestly, the thought that came to me: a body. Then the bag started moving. For just a second, the thought came to my mind that the person was alive. I felt like I was in some opening scene of CSI. Then, with relief, we realized that it was a seal or something. Turns out that it was really fun to watch the fellow move along the shoreline. He would catch the waves and surf towards the beach then swim back out.
Later, walking along the beach, we see this huge object on the horizon. We get closer and closer, thinking that it’s another sea animal but this one wasn’t moving. We were afraid that he was dead, having beached himself. But then he got up and walked a few steps before collapsing again. We inched closer for a better view.
Back in Dunamar, someone told us that it was a lobo marino. That translates to sea wolf but I think these animals are known sea lions in English. The photo doesn’t really give a good sense as to the massive size of this fellow…think small car.
Down in Peninsula Valdés you expect to see all sorts of things like this but I didn’t expect it this far up the coast. Last year we didn’t see anything of the sort around Dunamar. But this year was an enjoyable surprise.
Finally, here’s another sunset to close out this post. There are a couple of more interesting things I’ve learned on the trip that I’ll share later.