Apologies for the long respite. Between having my gmail account hacked and entering Bolivia during Carnaval, I´ve had trouble finding secure places to log on and post. I´ll hopefully be playing catchup for the next week or so to fill everyone in on my journeys…
While at PSF, I made two weekend trips to two nearby areas with other volunteers. We pretty much showed up at each place, wandered, celebrated, and left without a trace (I think).
Reserva Nacional de Paracas
A group of 40 or so volunteers took a few colectivos (small buses) to a park reserve on the ocean. Paracas itself is known for great wildlife viewing, especially for birds. Contrarily, the first thing I noticed was how dead the park was. There were no plants in sight, despite the thick fogs rolling in. It was a nutrient lacking desert full of fish eating birds.
Seeing the fog while driving in made it seem like we were at a few thousand feet. It was at most only 200 or so feet.
There were even some areas filled with salt (seen above).
While carrying all our gear including food, water, and wood, we descended down to the beach and found a corner to take over.
Notice: Because of my childlike excitement and lack of awareness, I forgot to use my camera from this point forward. The following pictures are from the hike we did the next morning and were taken by my friend, Cristian from Barcelona.
While starting on the hike, the numerous types of birds and other wildlife came to closer view.
We found giant islands of rock filled with pelicans with wingspans taller than the average human.
This was the view we had from a small beach we found and relaxed at while taking in the large crashing waves.
We started to climb past the small beach and make our way above the cliffs and to the top of the arid hills.
I took a peak over the edge of the cliff to see how far the drop was.
Just before scrambling up, a flock of seagulls started to fly over us.
After some hiking around the hills we found the cliff with a view of our beach. The giant black structure on the right is a tent made of 2 tarps we put together in order to house every volunteer.
The photographer himself, Cristian Martin.
After a long hot afternoon on the beach a few of us decided to find our way back home to clean up and get ready for the next week in the streets of Pisco.
The Oasis of Huacachina
The next weekend a smaller group of 15 volunteers made our way further south from Paracas to the city of Ica. From Ica we took a short cab ride into the midst of giant sand dunes. It was almost as if we were driving into the Sahara. We made a few turns among the tall dunes and arrived into the small oasis of Huacachina. The oasis town is centered around one pond with an oval street circumventing it.
After finding a hostel for everyone, we decided to climb a nearby sand dune to catch the sunset. The wind was blowing sand everywhere and I heard stories of cameras getting destroyed by the sand. Cristian risked it and took the above shot of the oasis town.
I finally pulled out my camera after mentally exploding at the sight of sand dunes under the twilight. We all just stood around this one spot along the ridge and absorbed the views while eating sand.
I got a quick shot of Nelson from British Columbia and So-Young from Denmark sitting in front of the ridge we eventually climbed a few minutes later. Hiking up the sand ridge was one of the most tiring things I´ve ever experienced. Every step I made, my foot would go back some. Ultimately, each stride was only 60% of the actual distance attempted. Well, at least it was dry and sweat evaporated immediately.
The next day, we booked a dune buggy to give us a tour of the sand dunes and find some sweet hills to board down (a la snowboarding).
We eventually found the buggy and 13 of us climbed in for a crazy adventure. The entire ride felt like being on a roller coaster except for the fact that it was about to tumble over and crash at all times. There were times when at the end of climbing a dune the buggy slowed down and we knew the driver was going to just let the vehicle lunge forward and feel as if we were free falling.
After an hour of attempting to board down some dunes, crashing, and eating more sand, the driver took us for a last tour of the sand dunes before the sun descended.
We eventually drove to one spot where we took a rest in the sand and catch the setting sun.
Eventually, the clouds were flat enough that it reminded me of another landscape in the sky. I took a shot upside down and it came out looking as if it was taken from a plane.
By the way, the above format of posting with pictures plus captions is something new I´m trying. Let me know if anyone out there agrees or dislikes this. Ciao until next time and hopefully soon.