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caty’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 09 Oct 2005

Location: Pisco, Peru

MapI left Lima on Saturday 8th supposedly at 9.15am on a direct bus to Pisco. Of course it never arrived and I got the 10.30 bus. 4 and a half hours later, I found myself dropped off on the Panamerican highway 5km from Pisco, along with a Belgian couple. Their hotel was supposed to pick them up but after 40 minutes and a phone call, we took a taxi into Pisco. There´s nothing in Pisco except hostels and a couple of restaurants. People only sleep here because the tours to the Islas Ballestros leave at 6am. (Anyone noticing a recurring theme of early mornings here?)

So next morning was collected at 6am, herded 10k away to Paracas and loaded into a 25 seater motorboat and off to the Islands, stopping for a look at the Candelabra on the way. No one knows where this came from - some say pirates made it in the 17th century, others think it was built by the same people who built the Nasca lines. Either way, it´s a good photo opportunity!

We then went on for another 20 minutes out to the islands. All the way out there was a constant stream of thousands of birds flying in a straight line about a foot above the water. Photographs don´t do it justice because it continued as far as the eye could see in both directions. I think they may have been cormorants.

Once we arrived at the Islands - really an cluster of rocks, the first thing we saw, other than the fact that everywhere was covered with birds, was about 20 seals through a sea arch. This was quickly followed by a group of penguins, 3 different types of cormorants and then seals, seals and more seals. At this stage of the year there´s 3,000 seals in the colonies. Seeing them lying on the beach in their thousands was a bit disenchanting for me. It looked a bit like a pile of rats! We also woke 3 fishermen who were happily sleeping in their boat, so one posed for a photo.

When we got back to the harbour, there was a group of pelicans on the water. Their beaks are amazing. I wouldn´t like to get into a fight with one of them. Then it was straight back to Pisco, check out of the hostel and down to the bus station for the 1.30pm bus to Nasca.

It was quite funny waiting for the bus. There were about 40 people waiting - all of them tourists, all going to Nasca. Bus pulled in from Lima, mad rush to get on. I was really lucky to be in the first few so I got a seat. About 20 people had to stand for 4 hours to Nasca.