Islas Ballestas

The Islas Ballestas are often referred to as the Galapagos of Peru (otherwise known as the poor man’s Galapagos because a tour costs only $15)

Boats leave at 8 am before the sun bakes the tourists and before the wind picks up. It’s also prime time to see the animals. We  were told by the tourguide that the sea lions have no natural predators here, so they are extremely complacent.

[Note to other travelers: The Lonely Planet Guide says go to Pisco (which you could see from my previous post it’s an absolute armpit!) and take the tour. I suggest going down to Paracas like I did because there are plenty of hotels there, and that’s where the tours leave from anyway.]

Here’s our tourguide:

It’s about a half hour boat ride out to the islands.

Here’s an inscription in the sand on the Paracas Preserve…nobody really know why it is there of what it serves, only that it’s been there several hundred years — it never rains here, so it has never been washed away!

Guano (bird crap) is a big industry here, even though commercial fertilizers do most of our industrial works these days. I think the guano  is Peru’s #2 or 3 export–mainly to the USA and Europe. There are bords, and well, poop everywhere.

The islands are now protected. There is a guard that lives here year round to protect the birds, and the tourists never get out of the boats. These docks are used to bring supplied to the few people who live here, and for guano collection when it’s that tie of year (after nesting season).

Dang! Just missed the third one jumping into the water.

There are 2 or 3 people that live out here and guard thee islands…both for the natural resources and for the life of animals. Here’s one of the docks to get them supplies, and also to offload the guano.

Here’s the coolest part for me: the Nursery. BABY SEA LIONS!

Crazy Pelicans!!! This was the third  or fourth set of them that flew RIGHT in front of the boat!

back at the harbor. What fun! But it was definitely time for me to get off the boat…

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