We had to find the Sunday morning staff at the hotel in order to get breakfast before the bus picked us up to take us to the port for our boat trip to the Ballestas Islands. No one was at the front desk when we were ready to leave; a call from the tour host finally brought one of our breakfast guys out to say that our bill was taken care of and we were free to go!
We were soon in line with several hundred others to board a boat to the Ballestas Islands and the promise of seeing lots of birds and sea lions about 22 km off shore. Our very new 39 passenger boat, the Pinguino III, soon pulled along side the dock and we were loaded, life-jacketed and on our way.
As we passed the end of the Peninsula de Paracas, the boat stopped dead in the water for us to take pictures of the Candelabra geoglyph (150mx50m). Another one of those “who dunnits” we have been encountering in Peru.
The Ballestas Islands are covered in guano (used for fertilizer) which is mined very 7-10 years. The most common birds we saw were: the guano cormorants, the Peruvian booby, and the Peruvian pelican. We also saw Humboldt penguins, other species of cormorants and pelicans and large groups of boisterous sea lions.
After our return to the port we had about four hours before leaving for Lima; we spent most of it in the shade of an outdoor restaurant avoiding the brutal sun and temps in the 90s. We did tour the small beach watching the Peruvians very much enjoy their Sunday by the ocean. One man had a plastic bag full of small fish and was followed by his five “pet” pelicans and for a few soles would feed them while you took a picture.
Back on the bus for our four hour trip to Lima, we were served a small ham and cheese sandwich and a box of delicious peach juice. To amuse the passengers, the bus attendant hosted a little game of bingo; someone else won the bottle of Pisco (a grape brandy made in......you guessed it, Pisco!). As we neared Lima we got caught up in the Sunday afternoon traffic. At one point all four lanes were being used for traffic in the direction towards Lima--those going the opposite direction were shunted off on an access road. A note here about the security measures taken on our bus journeys: the name on the ticket must match the one on your passport, all carry-on bags are searched, you are “wanded”, and one of the staff comes through the bus taking a video of every passengers face.
We decided to skip dinner and do a little “in room” snacking instead as we had to get up at 0200 on Monday morning to go to the airport for our flight to Cuzco.