Only about 40 people live there now, but at one time some 500 residents -- mostly single men-- worked in Bahia Bustamente harvesting seaweed. The village was founded in 1952 by an Italian, Lorenzo Soriano, who was looking for a source of seaweed for hair gel. With his four sons, Don Lorenzo established the first seaweed village in the world. Four types of seaweed still are harvested, washed, dried and packaged for markets around the world, used in Japan for sushi and in nutritional and medicinal products, though only four men are needed to harvest seaweed today.
The workers' spare quarters are used as storerooms, while some of the larger quarters can be rented by tourists, some containing kitchens, baths and patios.
In addition to his seaweed business, Lorenzo purchased 210,000 acres for sheep ranching and wool production. This estancia serves also as a nature preserve.
Nearby is Malaspina Bay, which has become part of Argentina's first marine national park. Here are sea lions, penguins, seabirds, and a wonderful little duck called a steamer duck. Somehow, steamer ducks ceased flying but learned to use their wings as paddles to scoot through the water. Our expedition is the first to be allowed into the park and we were accompanied in our zodiacs by park rangers, proud to show off their sanctuary.