Staff Blog


Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 6: Paracas National Reserve

Thursday, Sept. 18
Paracas Marine Reserve, Peru

Two dead sea lions lie belly-up on the desert dirt of the Paracas Peninsula, their bleached ribs showing through leathery black skin. They´re about a quarter-mile from the beach, much farther inland than lobos marinos normally roam.

A few feet from the carcasses sits a toppled wooden boat weakly proclaiming its name, "Guido," in peeling paint.

I am mystified, but the taxi driver explains: A tsunami surged two kilometers inland about 20 minutes after the 8.0 earthquake in August 2007. The sea lions must have been following the fisherman, heckling him for fish, when the water hurled them earthward. Neptune vomiting after a shake-up of a party.

Paracas is both desolate and abundant. Peru´s first and only marine reserve, it was created by the federal government in 1975 to conserve the diverse marine life that teems off the region´s coast. Fishing is allowed, but the methods are restricted. Signs remind fishermen not to use explosives.

Not much lives on the parched land, but the waters host roughly 300 algae, 200 mollusk, 200 fish and 100 invertebrate species. Otters, seals, turtles and thousands of grunting sea lions cavort in the deep teal sea. More than 200 bird species mob the guano-coated Islas Ballestas, including Humboldt penguins, pelicans, cormorants, ibises, condors and various boobies.

Speaking of which—the heckling from men on the street is getting tiresome. Cultural differences, I know, but the ability to walk down most California streets (Fremont Boulevard excepted) with a minimum of objectification is one happy consequence of the American feminist movement.

-Kera Abraham; photo by Robin Parrott


Anonymous said...

Keep the blogs coming Kera. I am fascinated with your travels. You always add a touch of drama and humanity to your writing. I look forward to day five...I wonder where you will be?

ray said...

Y'all changed the picture it makes more sense now the other picture was of a living sea lion kissing what looked like a rusty kinda alive kinda dead looking sea lion? But this one makes me see it better. Desert ish. Reminding me of New Mexico. I was thinkin' about the houses in New Mexico today. The adobe and the colors, the big windows, the wind...its crazy livin in da bay'... You never know what's comin' but things are pretty steady so far. The sun is hot. Bright yellow until 7. And yellow walls with white curtains, reflecting sunlight in my apartment. Not so many trees. Robin and Kera!!! Scout and Key Key!
You must make a great team! Watch out for poison oak photo sessions!