Peru Encompassed 2009 travel blog

Today we took a boat ride to the Ballestas Islands. They lie a short distance off the Peruvian coast south of Lima, we went on a speedboat which in itself was a fun trip over occasionally choppy waters.

On the way to the islands we passed the candelabra, a pattern etched into the sand and rock of a small island not far off the coast. The guide wasn't overly helpful in explaining its origins - he said it might be pre-Incan, or a symbol used by Spanish sailors to navigate the waters, or even a mark made by the Masons in the eighteen hundreds. So anybody's guess really!

Around 40 minutes later we reached the Ballestas, circling around them for a good length of time. These islands are a paradise for birds, including a huge number of pelicans and a few rare penguins, there were also large colonies of sea lions all of which were so so close. We were told that the only time anyone goes onto the island is to collect the mass amount of droppings that collect on the islands (now totally white as a result) every seven years. Otherwise the animals are left to themselves, and can just admire the daily tourist visits.

On the way back we were lucky to spot dolphins swimming beside our boat - in all, a great wildlife spotting experience! I see now why they are termed 'Poor mans Galapagos'.

There was a stop at a Pisco distillery. A Pisco Sour is a cocktail containing a regional brandy, lemon or lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup and regional bitters (like Amargo bitters, though Angostura bitters work if regional bitters are unavailable). It tastes similar to Tequila, not really my cup of tea.

Back on the road again we had a three hour run to Nazca, stopping briefly to climb a watch tower to see our fist Nazca line.

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