cabo polonio - stars and seals

  • One horse town?
  • The hostel
  • Libertade or Muerte - Freedom or Death
  • Loads of sand
  • Abandoned wagon
  • Population 80 - Not 1 football field....
  • ...but 2 football fields
  • Sunset with crescent moon
  • Not getting this right
  • The lighthouse
  • Clean wave
  • You can see the lighthouse inside the tube
  • In the green room
  • Almost as hairy as the seals
  • Time to cool off
  • At this point they all started barking
  • The crowd
  • Dune truck
  • Leaving Cabo

On Monday morning I jumped onto the bus to Castillos (pronounced Castishos) to then catch the connecting bus to Cabo Polonio. When we arrived in Castillos at about 14:15 we were told that the next bus to Cabo would only be leaving at 18:15. Not cool considering Castillos is a 1 horse town (see 1st picture above) in the middle of nowhere. But to be fair to Castillos I had the best Milanesa (like a breaded hamburger with loads on it) that I've had so far, and dirt cheap.

When the bus to Cabo finally arrived, we asked the driver to let us know when to get off for Cabo Polonio. After about 45 minutes of driving in complete darkness, the bus driver pulled over and called out "Todos para Cabo Polonio!". When I got off the bus I could see nothing around us, it was totally dark but a local told me to cross the road to get to Cabo. When the bus pulled away, across the road I saw a tiny group of prefab huts, and that, is essentially the Cabo Polonio bus stop.

I was told that the only way to get to the village of Cabo (about 7km away through sand dunes), was to wait about an hour or so for a dune truck to arrive and take us through the dunes. Got my ticket, and waited. The dune truck arrived and a few of us jumped on. Driving through the dunes in the pitch blackness, the slightly uneasy feeling I had turned to complete calm when I looked up at the sky and saw what is probably the most stars I have ever seen in my life.

In fact, one of the locals on the back of the truck with us, who just happened to be smoking a big joint with some old local said it's a much better experience arriving in the evening cause in the day there ain't much to see. When we arrived in Cabo we went to the Hostal Cabo Plonio. The owner, a really friendly, excitable Uruguayan, who goes by the name of Pancho and who bears a striking resemblance to Maradonna showed us around the place and then said "Mi casa is su hostal."

Once settled in I joined the other people in the kitchen, and after a while Pancho shouted out "Yo queiro pescado! Queim qier vir pescar comigo?!?" - "I feel like fish! Who wants to go fishing with me!?!" I immediately said I'd join him, as I was starving! I forgot to mention, this is at 10 in the evening. Pancho got a bag out and a couple of us followed him out to the beach. When we got there, he unwrapped a net that was about 20 metres long by about 1 metre high. He then explained that one of us would hold one end and another the other end and walk towards the water. Then the one on the left would go into the water til about waiste depth and then start walking across the beach at which point the guy on the right would then go a bit deeper in (til about knee deep) and then the two ends of the net would meet and we'd hall out the catch. We did this a couple of times and caught 20 or more sardine-sized fish.

Pancho then scaled and gutted the fish, added some salt, and flowered them, and threw them into the frying pan. It was such a surreal moment - midnight, sitting in a village in Uruguay, with no electricity and eating fish that I had helped catch an hour before.

The next morning I woke up and walked out onto a beautiful beach with small clean surf that I got into thanks to Pancho lending me his own board. Everybody pretty much just lazes around in this place and time goes by quite slowly. In the afternoon I decided to take my underwater camera case out for a test run and got a few shots of the waves breaking - pretty happy with some of them.

On my last day I went out to the cape point to do a bit of seal watching. I sat there for nearly 2 hours just watching them on the rocks and jumping around in the water. I spotted quite a few dead pups around the place and at times the smell of rotting flesh was quite overwhelming. One thing that caught my eye is how they siton the rocks and pretty much wait to be splashed by the spray from the waves - at least I think they were waiting for this because everytime they got sprayed they seemed to be cheering, or maybe they were just really pissed off.