Isla Ballestas

The day started with a 2-hour boat tour to Isla Ballestas. Referred to as ‘The Poor Man’s Galapagos’ we weren’t sure what to expect, except a lot of bird shit.

Literally. The anchovy-rich waters around these islands prove delicious for tens of thousands of birds. And, these birds provide so much poop that they actually collect it and export it.

First, we cruised by The Candelabra – a Nasca lines sort of carving in the hillside facing the ocean. Apparently, this is the only one of it’s kind that can be viewed from ground-level (although you have to be floating  in the ocean to see it.) It’s supposed to be over 2000 years old. Why is it here and what does it mean – we have no idea.

Then, we approached the islands and were amazed by the number of birds. You can’t appreciate it until you see it and photos don’t do it justice.  More birds than we have ever seen in one place, and possibly more birds than we’ve cumulatively seen in our lifetime. Some places on the islands were so covered in birds that it looked like the landscape was black.

We saw Humbolt penguins, Peruvian boobies, comerants, oyster catchers and gulls. Luckily, we recognized these from our Galapagos trip since we couldn’t hear a thing the guide said. We even spotted some free-divers going after sea snails. This water is COLD and I can’t imagine spending the day floating around in it looking for snails.

This bird watching is big business. We had pulled into Paracas the night before and booked a $10 USD tour within minutes. This morning, when we arrived we grabbed the last 3 seats on one of many large tour boats that all took off about the same time. Our boat was filled mostly by an extremely well-outfitted Swiss tour group. I’ve never seen so many expensive outdoor gear brands anywhere but REI.

Despite the touristy feel, it was really fun, especially for Bode. He was keen to identify the various birds and he knew most of them. When the show was over and we headed back to the mainland with a chilly ride , Bode spent the entire ride under Jason’s jacket.

We’ve heard that getting pooped on may be good luck, but we decided NOT getting pooped on this time was a better way to go. And, for some reason everything on this trip is on the left… so if you come, sit on the left side.

The day started with a 2-hour boat tour to Isla Ballentas. Referred to as ‘the poor man’s Galapagos’ we weren’t sure what to expect, except a lot of shit. 

Literally. The anchovy-rich waters around these islands prove delicious for hundreds of thousands of birds. And, these birds provide enough poop that they export it.

We weren’t prepared for the number of birds flying overhead and just kicking back on the rocky islands. More birds than we have ever seen in one place, and possibly more birds than we’ve seen in our lifetime. Some places on the islands were so covered in birds that it looked as though the landscape had changed color.

We saw Humbolt penguins, Peruvian boobies, comerants, oyster catchers and gulls. Luckily, we recognized these from our Galapagos trip since we couldn’t hear a thing the guide said.

This bird watching is big business. We had pulled into Paracas the night before and booked a tour within minutes. This morning, when we arrived we grabbed the last 3 seats on one of many large tour boats that all took off about the same time. Our boat was filled mostly by an extremely well-outfitted Swiss tour group. I’ve never seen so many expensive outdoor gear brands anywhere but REI.

Despite the touristy feel, it was really fun, especially for Bode. He was so proud of himself when he could find and identify the various birds. When the show was over and we headed back to the mainland, Bode spent the entire ride under Jason’s jacket.

We’ve heard that getting pooped on may be good, but we decided NOT getting pooped on was a better way to go.

The day started with a 2-hour boat tour to Isla Ballentas. Referred to as ‘the poor man’s Galapagos’ we weren’t sure what to expect, except a lot of shit.

 

Literally. The anchovy-rich waters around these islands prove delicious for hundreds of thousands of birds. And, these birds provide enough poop that they export it.

 

We weren’t prepared for the number of birds flying overhead and just kicking back on the rocky islands. More birds than we have ever seen in one place, and possibly more birds than we’ve seen in our lifetime. Some places on the islands were so covered in birds that it looked as though the landscape had changed color.

 

We saw Humbolt penguins, Peruvian boobies, comerants, oyster catchers and gulls. Luckily, we recognized these from our Galapagos trip since we couldn’t hear a thing the guide said.

 

This bird watching is big business. We had pulled into Paracas the night before and booked a tour within minutes. This morning, when we arrived we grabbed the last 3 seats on one of many large tour boats that all took off about the same time. Our boat was filled mostly by an extremely well-outfitted Swiss tour group. I’ve never seen so many expensive outdoor gear brands anywhere but REI.

 

Despite the touristy feel, it was really fun, especially for Bode. He was so proud of himself when he could find and identify the various birds. When the show was over and we headed back to the mainland, Bode spent the entire ride under Jason’s jacket.

 

We’ve heard that getting pooped on may be good, but we decided NOT getting pooped on was a better way to go.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Isla Ballestas

  • March 30, 2011 at 3:21 PM
    Permalink

    BOOBIES….
    I see you all got prime seating on the boat! LOL

  • March 30, 2011 at 9:03 PM
    Permalink

    If this is considered the poor man’s Galapagos, then I’d take it! Except for the cold water snail diving-no thanks!
    What great pics of great creatures – can’t wait to show the twins! & I love the pic of Jason’s reflection in Bode’s sunglasses’ lens – very cool. Cheers & good poop! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook
Facebook
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://bodeswell.org/2011/03/30/isla-ballestas">
Instagram