Yesterday, June 23rd 2011, we started our day by taking a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands. Onthe 20km trip out to the islands, we encountered dolphins, however most of us only got to see its fins. Once we reached the islands, which were simply enormous rocks, we saw penguins, sea lions, pelicans, and various other birds. There wasn´t a spot on the rocks that wasn´t covered by a bird. One of the rock formations that we passed was the ancient Candelabra, which is a symmetrical mark on the face of an island that is said to be formed by Gods. As the tour progressed, we saw even more of the animals listed above, as well as rocks shaped like a elephants (Two parents and a baby!). We also got to hear the roars of sea lions amplified from inside of cave! Finally, when the speed boat was returning to the shore, a few thousand black birds flew alongside the boat in the same direction. There was an entire line of birds just skimming the water as if they were racing the boat. It was beautiful, and we got plenty of pictures! .
Later on we took a bus to Ica. The surroundings of Ica were unique to me- all of the cars were unique and the traffic was crazy. Everyone seemed to be driving impulsively and honking for the fun of it, but for some reason this chaos worked for them. Later on in the day at about 4:30PM, we began our hike up the sand dunes of Huacachina. It was a challenge for everyone- as our legs propelled us forwards our feet sunk into the sand and slipped backwards. However everyone kept good spirits because we knew it would be worth it. Some people didn´t even want to because they didn´t believe they could, but we all got past these doubts and surpassed them when we reached the top. There were so many sand dunes! When we looked around, all we could see were sand dunes in the distance and the nearby hostels and a community. There were also two oasises, which added great contrast to the desert sand. Not only was the view gorgeous, but we all had a blast jumping into the sand and goofing off. At around 6:00PM we got to watch the sun set behind the sand, and later on as it grew dark we could see the lights of a nearby community. We took oodles of pictures of the sand dunes and of ourselves, it was, in my opinion, our first physcial and mental challenge, and we passed!
Check out more pictures at our Picasa site: Huacachina Ballestas Islands Paracas