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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Peru - 22 November, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Bush camp, Paracas National Reserve S1354.290' W07619.138' 90 m
Paracas . . . 15 km
Speed boat tour to Islas Ballestas . . . 25 km
Paracas . . . .
Nazca - Museum and Viewing Tower . . . .
Campsite, Nazca S1451.066' W07457.492' 563 m 208 km
Flight over the Nazca Lines . . . 50 km
Finish Campsite, Nazca S1451.066' W07457.492' 563 m .

Leg 1 Total:

3,317 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

4,088 km

 

Weather: Clear, sunny and very hot.  Cool in the evening and night.

 

 

Peru01_Paracas_Camp_Sunrise_3940_Web.jpg (49930 bytes)

We have a very busy day today, with many sights to see.  From our tent (and the warmth of our sleeping bags), we watched the sun slowly rise as a bright orange ball over the hills on the other side of the bay.  When we no longer had a choice, we got out of our sleeping bags and into the cold wind to change.

 

Peru01_Ballestas10_Island_3951_Web.jpg (89547 bytes)

Once in the truck, we headed back down to the town of Paracas, where we piled into a speed boat that would take us out to the Islas Ballestas, which are two small islands that are teeming with birds and sea lions.  In fact, there are so many birds there that they fought with Chile (or was it Ecuador) over the islands for their guano.  It is still mined today, except that they can only go out once every 5-8 years as the bird population has fallen due to over fishing in the area,

 

Peru01_Ballestas06_Sealions_3947_Web.jpg (138508 bytes)

On the way out, we get to see the Candelabra, a huge figure etched into the side of the hill overlooking the sea.  No one is quite sure who carved into into the rock - the theories range from pirates to Spaniards to locals.  It was not a bad tour, except that it was a bit disappointing after being to the Galapagos Islands so recently.  It was hard to get close to the animals, but the views were nice. The other highlight was seeing the huge sea lion colony on one of the stone beaches - it was covered with sea lions that were making a racket (and a bad smell that we could smell from our vantage point a hundred meters off the beach).

 

Once back on shore we were greeted by a huge brunch that was cooked up by our drivers - Sam and Sarah.  It was great - fried eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast and cereal.  Then back into the truck and a long drive down to Nazca.

 

We arrive in the Nazca region just before 2 PM and we stop at the Maria Reiche Museum.  The Nazca lines are an enormous archaeological mystery that Maria Reiche spent her life trying to solve.  The Nazca lines are huge geometric designs drawn in the desert and are only visible from the air.  They were created by removing the darker surface stones, leaving the lighter colored stones below exposed, forming the various designs.  There are various animals depicted, including a 90 meter long monkey and a condor with a wing span of 130 meters.

 

Peru01_Nazca02_Platform_Hand_3953_Web.jpg (83315 bytes)

After the museum we stopped at a viewing platform, where you can climb up and get an oblique view of three of the figures - the lizard, hand and tree.  The view is not great, but it gives us a feel for the figures and how big they are.  From the viewing platform we head into town and our hotel.  Once there, we organise our flights over the lines.

 

Peru01_Nazca19_Flight16_Plane_Lars_3970_Web.jpg (81353 bytes)

We go in various groups - we and Paolo get in the four seater plane and are off to see the lines from the air.  The ride is bumpy - in the afternoon the wind and turbulence pick up and we are in a small plane that is bounced and buffeted around in the air.

 

Peru01_Nazca08_Flight05_Humming_3959_Web.jpg (103686 bytes)

But we get a fantastic view of the designs.  On our flight we get to see 12 of the figures - which include the whale, the triangles, the astronaut, the monkey, the dog, the hummingbird (in the photo at the right), the spider, the condor (our favorite), alcatraz, the parrot, the hands and the tree. We also get to view the many straight lines that have been carved into the desert floor - some look like landing strips (thus the theories about aliens).  The pilot does a good job and he lets people on both sides get a good view of each figure.

 

No one on our plane got sick, but of the five people in the other plane that took off at the same time that we did, three of the five got sick and had to use the air sickness bags provided.  Once back at the campsite, we took it easy for the rest of the evening.

 

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