Monday, June 1: Before I begin with today’s list of things to see, I should fill you in on Hubby’s peculiar travel habit history. It wasn’t long after we first met that I first learned that he was ready to take a boat ride anytime, anywhere, whether it was in the little motor boat at the Swanee River home that my uncle owned, the free canoes at the University of Florida’s Lake Wauburg, or the most touristy and crowded of nondescript passenger boats.
Being a land lubber myself, I would never given a thought had it been left to me. Whether it was the fact that he liked boats, the wind in his hair, or for no other reason than just ’cause, we’ve done our fair share of skimming over oceans and rivers in vessels of every type. One of our first was on the St. John’s River out of St. Augustine in Florida. I grew up in Florida and the river was always there; just another river to be crossed every time I wanted to drive to visit my sister in Bunnell after all, nothing to be curious about or learn.
Over the years, wherever and whenever we found ourselves on family vacation or business trip leisure time, almost every destination meant one more boat cruise to fit in: to Presque Isle State Park at Lake Erie, Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty, a tea cruise on the Thames in London, to Alcatraz from San Francisco, a ferry to the Elephanta Caves on the island off Bombay, to name a few, plus our latest, a sunset cruise out of Key West late last year where we saw pretty much nothing but other cruise ships PLUS the amazing sight of the sun melting into the Gulf of Mexico.
So it’s quite fitting somehow that after an early breakfast today, we’ll leave for the Paracas Peninsula where we have yet another cruise scheduled, this time on a Yacht no less, to the Isla Ballestas where we’ll see sea lions and two endangered species of turtles along with hundreds of migratory and resident sea birds.
Boat landings on the island itself are not permitted, but the cruises offer fantastic opportunities to photograph the wildlife and seacliffs. It’s possible to see whales migrating in season. June is the fall season in Peru, and although I’m an amateur whale researcher with limited knowledge of longitude and latitudes, I’ve managed to figure out that there’s a chance that we may sight some humpback whales that migrate to tropical or sub-tropical waters to breed and give birth, and also a chance, though slim, to sight some bluebacks. One can only hope and cross our fingers.
No less interesting than beautiful beaches and whales, and a suitable continuation of the mystery of who did what in Peru and how did they do it, and whether or not it’s a landing place for extraterrestrials as Shirley MacClaine suggests in one of her famous books. Whatever, we will pass Paracas’ gigantic candelabra on the cliff overlooking the bay.
Remembering our Nasca lines adventure from yesterday, this looks very familiar and is every bit as shrouded in mystery. Some believe it’s a ritualistic symbol of the Paracas or Nazca cultures. Others say that it dates only to the 18th or 19th century when it served as a protective symbol and navigational tool to guide fishermen and sailors along the Paracas Peninsula. Whatever or whenever, it still begs the same question. Who put it there and how? Peru is indeed the quintessential land of mystery.
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Alas, it’s a given that all good things must come to an end and that is also true of our Peruvian adventure. In the afternoon we return to Lima, where we’ll have a little time to pass, making sure we have all our luggage and enough money left to pay for dinner and airport taxes. Most international airports charge you to leave the country these days. I’m sure we’ll have lots of travel stories to swap as those of us who stayed over this extra two days try to keep each other awake so we don’t miss the twenty-minutes past-midnight Delta departure to Salt Lake City. Sometimes, one of the best things about travel, never a mystery to me, is going home again.