Posts Tagged ‘Mountains’

Peru Too

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

To date, Peru continues as an interesting experience. The bus rides are all first class. I’ve not had to munch on my knees as was so often the case in Guatemala. The buses we’ve taken long distances here had WiFi and large comfortable leather seats. I was  just slightly cramped for leg room but W/ found them to be – just perfect.

Ancient Astronaut

Ancient Astronaut

From Ica; where we toured the wine factory and hung for a day or so, we traveled to Nazca; another UNESCO site,  where I flew in a small plane to see the “Nazca Lines“. Fiction writers love to infer how the lines were built for alien airports and markers for the aliens landing craft. Archeologists have a much more plausible story; the lines were built as a means of moving water for irrigation and as a way to demonstrate reverence to their gods.

As we move across the Peruvian desert one can easily see the value of water and how a civilization’s survival depends on an abundant water supply – always needed for a  growing population. As the climate changed in the area the Nazca society were forced to move or die. So they abandoned their lands and were absorbed by or hunted by other cultures.

Witnessing the change in civilizations here reminds me of the almost dead climate issues that has been raging in the US for the past decade. We have one group of people that want to believe nothing  changes and people don’t effect change. Those climate change deniers would do well to understand what had happened to civilizations and varying cultures in Central and South America. Their civilization is long gone.  The Mayan of Tikal in Guatemala grew so large that the land around them barely supported them. Then as the climate in the area shifted and the rains didn’t come for a year or two the land couldn’t support the culture and they either moved or died. Same with the Inca’s. As the rains in the Andes shifted the little water needed for their crops wasn’t sufficient to support the population and the people were forced to move or die.

Today however the effect of climate is more a battle of power. People in general will survive our climate trends but the power groups will change. Places like Kuna Yala (On the N East Coast of Panama)  will have fewer islands to live on, other nations have a high probability of disappearing entirely as well as a multitude of species on Earth.

From Nazca we again rode in luxury to Arequipa and visited yet another UNESCO site.  Some may wonder why we spend the time traveling on buses when we could just as easily fly to the various places. There are two reasons: 1) we follow the axiom of “Go Slow, Sail Far, Stay Long”, and 2) we need to acclimate to the new altitude.

While we are not sailing; we would visit Peru by boat if we could, we still love to smell the roses and meet the people. However the second reason is most important for us physically.  Arequipa is around 7,000 feet above sea level. We’ve been living the past 5 years at an altitude of about 10′. The oxygen in the air here is much less because the air in a a given volume is much less. Many travelers end up on the wrong site of Altitude sickness. Headaches, nausea, sleep disorder, etc.  If we take our time and move up to higher elevations we minimize the potential problems. So we go slow.

Arequipa is a fascinating city, one we both would love to visit again. There are as many restaurants as Antigua, Guatemala; but Arequipa is much larger in scale. We were here only 3 days and believe a year or two would barely be adequate to experience the city. We were on one city tour that barely touched what Arequipa has to offer, then we walked, walked, and walked, actually getting lost once. However, with our limited but improved Spanish; thanks to our teachers at San Jose El Viejo in Antigua, W/ was able to ask for directions. Yeah, the app Pocket Earth on the iPhone helped but I didn’t have a direction marker and here the Sun is well N of us; not S as most of the Western world. Thus I’m slightly messed up with my internal compass. Since that walk Pocket Earth has updated their app and now N clearly shows.

Slave Built Catherdral, Arequipa, Peru

Slave Built Catherdral, Arequipa, Peru

What I’m most impressed: NOT,  about is the influence of the Catholic church on both Central and South America. The Catholic church seems to have slave built more Cathedrals then I can count. While the Catholic church continues to be embroiled in controversy with it’s priestly conduct I think they too ought to be more apologetic to the indigenous populations of the world for their past enslavement.  The enslavement was more then just the assumed trade of worldly goods for eternal love, they actively pursued a means of suppression. They forced the indigenous people from their homes and farms into cities where they could more easily exert control and provided little education, understanding that education is the road to free thinking.  The Catholic Church has taken so much from these countries and I don’t see that they’ve given much back in return. Oh, they will say that eternal love is the reward received but I would be wilting to give my eternal love to any reader that wishes to commit their worldly goods to me. I doubt however in today’s world my idea would fly. But the Catholic church had sold the indigenous populations this idea, enslaving them with the idea of eternal salvation and worldly ignorance. This suppression is still felt and talked about today. I think most every Guide we’ve had in the two different countries has commented on what the Church has not done. The Catholic church is one of the Wealthiest companies in the world hiding their wealth behind  schemes of religious freedom and individualized Parishes, yet when parishes need money in the third world countries we visit we find them in want. One Catholic community nun commented on how she received more support from churches outside the Catholic hierarchy than from them!  And too, even within the Catholic hierarchy we’ve twice heard in two different countries about how the Jesuits were teaching the indigenous populations to read and write and the “Mother” Church put a stop to it because it was influencing their ability to control the people here.  While I’m not friend of the organized Catholic Church I am much impressed with how tough and good hearted the people of Peru are.

That said, historically Arequipa is magnificent. The parks, the people, and for me the food was “magnifico”. Knowing where we were heading and the temperatures being considerably colder then we’re use to we talked ourselves into purchasing some Alpaca

New Alpaca Jacket and Cape

New Alpaca Jacket and Cape

wool clothing. I, a new jacket, glove and hat, W/ a new Cape, gloves and hat. The temperatures here have fallen to O° C most evenings and while we are not camping the Hotel room comes with an electric heater. That’s it. So once we rise in the am we dress warm, shed gear for midday and then add clothing as the evening progresses until we dive into bed to hide under the multitude of covers for the warmth our bodies can create.

Volcano Misti, Peru

Volcano Misti, Peru

We left Arequipa traveling across the Andean plateau where I found a new appreciation for the local people.  We crossed the divide between Arequipa and Chivey at 14,000 feet. W/ was feeling slightly dizzy and I could imagine the same. However I left the bus for a brief walk about and took some pics. The Indians living on this High plateau mainly graze Alpaca; a domesticated Llama that provides meat and wool.  They live in small adobe brick homes that have little or no roof. It really doesn’t rain much here. They cook with Alpaca dung, some wood that they find; trees are rare,  and they heat their homes with…… nothing. They sleep with many blankets. The temperature range is from -20 thru 24° C.  For those never having learned the all too easy metric system that is -4  to 75°  Fahrenheit. Now the upper limit I can easily live with but the lower limit! No thank you. Fifteen to 20° C is my lower limit. Just call me a wimp. In the Altiplano I am a wimp.

Descending from 14,000′ on this road was akin to landing via light airplane. My ears kept popping and we could feel the temperature begin to rise. On the bus traveling up to the pass W/ and I actually donned our new Alpaca gear. We arrived in Chivey already exhausted from the lack of Oxygen, unloaded, moved into our hotel room and planned to follow our tour guides advice for the rest of the day. Do Nothing.

Andean Condor

Andean Condor

The following day however we were to rise before 5 am; is there such a time, and join our group to visit Cruz de Condor,  a place where we can view Andean Condors as they soar on the thermals. These birds are big!  The second largest bird in the world and among the longest living. One in captivity lived 70 years rivaling the Parrot. They have a size between 13 and 15 kg which in my book would be close enough in size to ride on. Their wing span is greater then my outstretched arms.  We spend 2 hours traveling, one hour watching, and 2 hours for the return trip. Although the time equation doesn’t seem like a great deal we did stop several places on the way there and back, time for relief and another dose of how Peruvians live.

Colco Canyon by Chivey, Peru

Colco Canyon by Chivey, Peru

Back at the hotel we spent the afternoon exploring Chivey, taking time to continue our acclimation. The following day we stroll to a Quarry mine on the Choloco river which is at the bottom of the deepest canyon in the world; actually 3 times as deep as the Grand Canyon but the magnificence is lost in the depth and structure The Colca Canyon. The Grand Canyon has walls much more vertical while the Colco canyon is much much deeper. The following day we pack up and take a 6 hour bus trip to Lake Titicaca and the town of Puno: elevation 12,000 feet above sea level. There isn’t one city in the US that is at this elevation; the closest one;  Glade Park-Gateway, Colorado at 10,560 some odd feet.

On we go, walking slow, breathing heavy and taking our time while in Peru.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Divine St. Lucia

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah; those that know me would say I’ve been imbibing on the local rum just a little too much. That may be so; however, we / I did thoroughly enjoy St. Lucia.  Now that doesn’t mean everything was wonderful. But for the most part we had a great time there.  And I know this blog will be a little disjointed because there is much to tell.  Since there is a lot to say and life isn’t really like a book with one theme I’ll kinda; sorta,  report what we’ve been up to.

Grocer on the water

Grocer on the water

We pulled into St. Lucia and cleared in with Customs, Immigration and the Port Captain. Fortunately the clearance procedures for boaters from the US isn’t like anything like that for foreign boaters in the US. (If I was a non US flagged boat I would avoid the US entirely because of all the hoops that the US government makes boaters go through).  I guess; for the US,  only their citizens are free to move about. But; back to St. Lucia.  Before we were settled for the night a “boat boy”; usually a man doing door to door selling except on the water, stopped by to sell us some produce. We bought mangoes from him the following day.

Once I felt comfortable leaving the boat IB   (from a Tayana V-42 named  Passport) and I went in to complete the necessary paper work. $45 EC later we were legal in the country. We walked a little and I found a Dove bar; had to have, so we wandered back to the dinghy with ice cream bars and smiles on our face.  Of course; the cost I now had to report to my ships purser would be $53 EC for … for  clearance. 🙂

One cool thing was that we had been hearing on the Caribbean Cruisers Net that IGY Marina was offering two free days of

IGY Marina

IGY Marina

dockage and a party for the cruisers in the area. We had just made it in time to Rodney Bay, St Lucia for signing up so we partook of this wonderful gift.  We could use a couple of good days at the dock for cleaning and various other boat projects.  Like all cruisers in the area; those that went to the Marina spend much more then they wanted. One boater we know even ended up spending a few thousand on a new dinghy; another bought a new stove and then some hired local trades people to get their jobs accomplished.

We hired an island yachtsman  for $150 US to clean the hull, we changed all the primary fuel filters, we washed deck on the boat, we did some work on the wind vane, we PolyGlowed the Brown strip on the boat, W/ broke her glasses and we had to find an optometrist to repair them,  and we went grocery shopping (Check out the prices in the pic on the left – remember it is in kg and the prices are in EC;

Check these prices!

Check these prices!

still 🙂 ). All of that took a full two days of work and since we’re not nearly as ambitious as God; after two days work we rested two more days.  On the first day of rest we chose to get a massage from Soothing Touch Massage Spa and signed up with Debra Nicholas. Both W/ and I chose a Deep Tissue massage and we both felt that it was the “Best Massage”  we’ve ever had. I actually wondered if she hadn’t climbed up on a stool to get down deeper into the muscles.  She found knots in muscles that neither of us knew we had, she got under our shoulder blades where we didn’t know there were any muscles and she worked my legs over but good! I only wish we could have spent more time there and utilized her service every week for awhile. Upon leaving the slip we picked up 90 gallons of fuel for about $3.90 US / gallon.  The price is for imperial gallons and I did calculate the cost for the US gallon.

The windvane needed to be cleaned on the control locking rod for the sail and I had neglected to add  (2 years ago when we put it together) a nylon bearing. Obviously; the bearing wasn’t that critical but I took the vane apart and added the bearing anyway.

So after the time in the marina we were sorry we needed to move; again. I’m getting tired of moving so often. My new saying is “Go Slow; Sail Far; Stay Long”; but, this doesn’t seem to be happening as often as we’d like lately. So we left the marina to re-anchor in Rodney Bay and wait a few days for wx to pass. We had checked with NWS and they’re saying a tropical wave was going to be passing through and to expect 3 days of awful wx. So we expected to wait. And having not read the book World Without End by Ken Follett decided this would be a good time. I’ll be hanging out on the boat letting the wx pass and I can consume the book  (that’s how I read, I consume and am totally absorbed by books).

On the following day we had a squall with 50+ knots of wind blow through (reported to us from Bay Pelican) and that created our day’s adventure. Our XYZ anchor decided to go on a walkabout and the boat turned sideways and began heading out of the bay. One reason we stayed on the boat was in anticipation of the inclement wx and fortunately we were here to save our boat and the boat behind us. W/ fired up the Iron Genny (engine) and off we went to retrieve our anchor and reset it. We motored up close to the shore and dropped the anchor to watch it bounce across the bottom for 50 feet or so then catch. I had only about 120′ of chain out before in 25′ of water and so this time; with this wx, I let out about 200′ of chain  in 20-25′ of water and we sat fine the rest of the time.  But; ever vigilant W/,  discovered a reason to stay another day. Water in the engine pan…..it’s NOT suppose to be there!

After our anchor resetting adventure of yesterday, today  I took apart the water pump. I wasn’t looking forward to this task as the pump sits where I can’t see one bolt and have to reach around the engine and fell the nut to remove it. Removing it was to be the easy part. Putting it back on was going to be difficult. I finally removed the pump and found the offending seal; removed the seal and took that and some of the small nuts (I knew I would drop them where I couldn’t find them as I put the pump back on) to Island Water World and spoke with Ian; a wonderfully helpful man. However; after a few minutes he sent me back to the boat to get the water pump cover and thus we’d have a number to look up. Back to the boat I went; back to the store I went and other than getting closer to a working water pump the only consolation I had for this trip was another Dove Ice Cream bar. Finally Ian was able to locate a new seal ( I asked for two!) he only had one. But what  luck; he did have one. Back to the boat – all this by noon – and then to put the pump back together.

After lunch we attacked the reattachment of the pump. I was able to get two out of the four nuts on easily. The one I couldn’t see, and had to twist my wrist and use my fingers to get the nut started and was this ever  giving me problems. W/ tried. Her arms were almost too short. Before she broke down into tears I tried again. Before I broke something on the boat W/ tried again. Finally she thought she had the nut started!  My turn again. I gently put a wrench to the nut and slowly turned it on the stud. Seemed to be working without much complaining. Unfortunately I could only turn about a 1/6 of the rotation so I spent the next 15 minutes tightening down that nut. We then put the last nut on and I snugged them all down. Put the cover on with a new gasket. Oops, I don’t have one.  Take the dinghy back to Island Water World and ask Ian for help. Luckily he was there and gave me some gasket material so I could cut a new one. By 3:30 in the afternoon we were ready to test it out. We started up the engine and after a slight drip; after the pressure built up,  the seal held and I was getting no more water out of the pump. Hooray!

That evening we made about 30 gallons of water and the next day we were to meet on Bay Pelican for drinks and then a trip to a unique restaurant Jambe deBois at the national park. There all the cruisers told some more lies; W/ had the lasagna and  she says the “Best seafood lasagna ever”  We all had a great time. We retired that evening planning on heading S to Marigot Bay.

The following morning W/ again found water where it shouldn’t be. Damn!  was not the only word I know but I’ll start with that

Petite Piton

Petite Piton

one. Too late. Island Water World had only one seal and we’ll have to fix it in Trinidad when we get there. A while later I discovered where this new water is coming from one – of the filters for the watermaker and that will be dealt with before we run the watermaker again.

We left to Marigot Bay and had a lovely sail with only the Yankee out. After all it was only 10 miles. This was where the original Dr. Doolittle was filmed and although it was a lovely place it was filled with moorings and IMHO was just as idylic as anywhere in the British Virgin Islands. We walked a bit, bought some groceries, bought some fruit from one of the boat boys (door to door salesman) and the following day we got our paper work to go to Bequia.  As we had chosen the following day for leaving St. Lucia we stopped at the Pitons.

Sunset Pitons

Sunset Pitons

It was worth the detour. There we picked up a mooring ball for $54 EC for the night and had a splendid sunset next to 100 meters off a mountain that rose almost 800 m  in the air.

Tomorrow we go to Bequia.

Go Slow,
Sail Far,
Stay Long.