Nazca Lines, Huacachina Oasis & The Ballestas Islands

The famous Nazca Lines (400-650AD). Visible from the air only, but the scenic 30 minute flight to see them isn’t an automatic “gimme”. I didn’t actually do the flight myself , as a 6 seater Cessna is a tad smaller than my normal minimum size of a 737. However, my new bessie mate (and top panoramic landscape photographer) agreed to take my camera up to take some shots for me.

The biggest issue people seemed to have with this flight on the day is that the Lines are actually incredibly difficult to see. Judge for yourself:

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See what I mean? Needle in a haystack and all that. Not even sure if any of the patterns are in either of these. The other problem is of course the plane itself, which  left some quite nauseous. They were warned not to have a big brekkie….

We moved on to the Huacachina Oasis, which was a nice way to spend the aftie.

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It’s a natural spring in the middle of the Peruvian desert. We went dune buggy riding, which was great fun although my back was to regret it badly for 24 hours afterwards. (UPDATE) Make that almost a week.

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I don’t think the pics can do justice to how enormous these dunes are.  The Dakar Rally was here in Peru recently , I remember some of the TV footage being pretty spectacular.

The next day we moved onto the Ballestas Islands, a.k.a “The Poor Man’s Galapagos”. Certainly I doubt the two compare, although it was a worthwhile trip, particularly as I got to briefly see the same Humboldt Penguins that were the subject of a recent BBC documentary. Alas, we saw very few of them, and my only pic that actually captured one was this:

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But hey, I did see a Humboldt Penguin in the wild, I really did.

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In short, way too many birds and not enough penguins (apparantly they were all off fishing). The stench was pretty acute, I have to say too. The Ballestas highlight for me was the sea lion colony, with literally dozens of newborns making a huge cacophony of noise:

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The mums teaching the pups to swim was particularly cute:

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It certainly whetted my appetite further for a Galapagos visit before I’m too much older.