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Heading West From the Rio Negro

February 19, 2015

Bajada de Encahndi. 14.2.15

In Patagonia.

The Rio Negro marks the border of Patagonia.The cities of Carmen de Patagonies and Viedma lie on either side of its muddy waters. At one stage, in the 1980s it was mooted as the new capital for the country but nothing came of it. From the mouth of the Rio Negro the coastline heads west for 200kms with high cliffs falling to the Atlantic waters most of the way. We were making to the one bit of accessible beach along that part of the coast only to find hundreds of local fishermen had the same idea. The shoreline was a mass of surf casters. One of the travel blogs we had taken notes from mentioned a place on a few kilometres, Bajada de Encahndi.

Bajada means drop off or gully. At one stage the gully, being the only accessible way to the beach along this part of the coast, must have been used by bullock carts as their tracks are furrowed in the soft rock leading down the steep slope to the sand. What must have been a watchmans hut stands on the top of the gully although a portion has already disappeared down the eroding bank. Next to the shack was a little flat land, an ideal place to spend the night despite the infamous Patagonian wind making things uncomfortable. The derelict hut was interesting; despite it having been abandoned maybe 20-50 years ago or even longer, the beds were still in place, now rusted and falling to bits, and in the fireplace was an old hand made shovel made out of a bit of wood and bent metal. It may have been of a later vintage but is what you would expect to find in a place like this. Planks of wood had fallen off the walls but again, they hadn’t been used for a fire, just left where they had fallen. On the wall was a bit of art work now rusted, beaten out of the top of a 44 gallon drum. There were no signs mentioning it being an historic site but it’s as if people here respect history, not wreck it as would happen in many countries.  The land around here is barren with no water and vegetation consisting mainly of a metre high thorny bush. Estancias are few and far between. It’s the type of country we love.

The drive through the pampas country was uneventful, whiling away the time listening to Dylan and Springsteen to keep awake, and a bit of the classics to relax to. The roads have been good and straight. Good signage and trucks easy to pass. There is an 80kph speed limit on these roads, silly as most cars fly past us at well over 100.

Not far from the mouth of the Rio Negro is the first of the sea lion colonies. The viewing platform was some distance from the colony though the static display was very informative as was the video shown.

From → Patagonia 2015

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