2011 January 14 – Day 10 – Callao (Lima), Peru

The ship was docked in Callao for two days and we did two very different tours.  The first day was all about nature and the second day was archaeology (and Peruvian horses).

Callao is the major hub port on the South American west coast.  It was established in 1537 when the majority of shipments contained items looted from the Inca nation that were being sent back to Spain.  Callao is a huge port and there were several massive cranes for loading and unloading ships.  The port area is just over 10 km (about 6 miles) from the capital city of Lima so many of the tours available took people to Lima. As usual there were plenty of opportunities to shop if you were so inclined. We weren’t.

We went off-shore on a boat excursion to see the sea lions and Humboldt penguins on the Palomino Islands.  On the way to the Yacht Club we drove through the lovely Miraflores district. The boat ride took a half hour to get to San Lorenzo, the largest island in Peru – 8 km long and 3 km wide and then carried on from there to the Palominos where a very large colony of Humbolt penguins live as they have no predators in the area. After watching the penguins for awhile we went back to the north side of San Lorenzo to see the sea lions. I am sure the tour boats go out to the islands regularly but, still, the sea lions were curious and swam quite close to the boat.  If you chose there was time allowed to go swimming with them.  You could not have paid me enough to get in that water with all the guano flowing off the rocks.

I have often wondered how to tell the difference between seals and sea lions and the easiest way is to see how far from the water they are.  Seals cannot climb.  They do not have a tensile back flipper so you will only see them close to the shore, on the beach.  Sea lions can  climb quite a distance up steep rocks.  There are obviously other differences a marine person would know but the climbing one stuck with me as an easy tell. On the way back to Callao we passed the remains of an old prison on one of the islands.  Now that would have been a hot, desolate place to be interred. This fishing boat was pulling in its catch and a couple of sea lions decided to help themselves to the easy fish.

The boat ride back took us past some lovely beaches. These lovely llamas almost tempted me to make a purchase.  But I wasn’t tempted enough.  Besides how would I have packed it around Australia for two months?

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