Have you ever had a “holy shit” moment? Where your heart sinks into your feet and life stops feeling real? I’ve had a few of them. They’ve usually been awful moments. But on Magdalena Island, off of Punta Arenas, Chile, the other day I learned that sometimes those moments can be good moments.
Allow me to set the scene. I was having another tough morning. They seem to be more frequent as that impending date approaches. Of course I was missing my mom, and even shed a tear or two. But I had big afternoon plans, and as tempting as it was to stay in bed under the covers in the private room of my hostel… The sun was shining outside and nothing was going to prevent me from the day’s adventure. This is why traveling, for me, is the best medicine.
After my morning of dilly-dallying I had to rush myself to the boat terminal. I arrived just in time to board and set sail. Most people found comfortable seats indoors to stay warm. Not me. I went straight for the outer deck, found a decent spot and immediately felt better. Not just better, thrilled! The 5-year-old girl inside of me was jumping up and down and saying “I’m gonna see penguins, I’m gonna see penguins, I’M GONNA SEE PENGUINS!!!!”. Eventually, after what seemed like forever, Magdalena Island came into view. I was so overeager! I used my telephoto camera lens as a binocular to try to see the penguins at least every few minutes. I looked at one end of the island… then the other… and back again. Which side of the island are they taking us to? Which beach are the penguins hanging out on? Anticipation… The boat pulled to shore, and I quickly realized that the penguins were not on any particular part of the island. The penguins ARE the island. They were everywhere. EVERYWHERE. And that’s when it happened. My “holy shit” moment. I found my hands on top of my head and my jaw dropped wide open. “This is so surreal”.
That’s the best I can do to put into words what I felt with my day of the penguins. It was a very special experience that I know I will never forget. I certainly won’t be able to look at penguins in the zoo ever again. Being the total animal lover that I am, seeing these amazing, cute, loyal animals in their natural habitat was indescribable. Hope you all enjoyed these photos. It was very hard narrowing them down!