San Martin – 07:00 to 17:00
Our second port of call in Peru and this couldn’t be more different from the metropolis of Callao/Lima. San Martin is but a single berth and is located within the boundary of Paracas National Park. As I opened the balcony door this morning I was assaulted by the smell of rotting fish and a large bay surrounded almost entirely by desert. Where Lima is large, noisy and polluted, this area is quiet and peaceful, once you get acclimatised to the smell.
Temperature: High 25C/77F, Low 17C/63F
Wind/Weather: Alongside SE’ly at 20 knots. Initially overcast then partly cloudy. Fine and clear.
Clox: Z-5 (no change)
Throughout the early hours of the morning, Sea Princess maintained a SE’ly course along the Peru coast, embarking the San Martin pilot about 06:00, with the vessel secured Stbd side alongside by 07:00.
About 19:00, the Captain let the lines go and thrust Sea Princess off the berth, immediately turning 180 degrees before departing the local bay. The pilot disembarked about 19:40 and once clear of the Paracas Peninsula, a WSW’ly course was set towards our next port of call at Easter Island.
San Martin is the local port for Pisco, which was founded in 1640 and is the major city and capital of Pisco Province. Tourism, with the local Paracas National Park and Islas Ballestas being popular attractions.
With a tour booked today I missed my walk, instead working on the over 400 photographs I took during the tour in Lima. Judi awoke about the time we docked, so I headed out to the balcony to check out the local scenery. Immediately on opening the door, I was assaulted by the stench of rotting fish, and noted a large bay surrounded by desert. Wow, what a difference from Lima.
View of San Martin Bay and the surrounding desert.
The report time for our tour was 09:00, so we headed down to the restaurant about 07:30, sitting at a table with 2 other couples and a couple of blokes. We chatted about tours completed in Lima and what we were all doing today. One of the newbies from Southampton remarked that they were surprised yesterday afternoon when the Captain came over the PA system in their cabin. We advised this is a regular occurrence, as Capt Kent likes to keep everyone updated with any changes and provides a daily update when at sea.
Bob and Christine were on the same tour, so we met in the Wheelhouse Bar, shortly prior to 09:00. Today’s tour was Islas Ballestas Wildlife Cruise, with the islands located a short distance offshore. They contain an abundance of marine wildlife and amazing rock formations. It is known locally as the, “Galapagos of Peru”. Sitting in Princess Theatre, waiting to be called, I was surprised to see Ewa, the Shore Excursion Manager come to the front of the theatre. She is normally stationed ashore overseeing the loading and departure of the buses. Her presence was soon evident, as she dropped the bomb shell that the local tour company had just cancelled the boat tour, due to bad weather. Yet again, this excellent young lady, immediately provided a number of options:
- We can get an automatic refund of the cost of the tour to our account, or
- Since the buses and guides are already on the dock, she offered the most compatible tour for the same price (it was $40 more pp)
- Refund for the tour and they can sell shuttle tickets to Pisco, for $16 per person.
With Bob and Christine, we elected to go on the alternative tour to Paracas National Park, which included stops at 3 sites. Fellow Canadian Andre and Jodi also elected to take the amended tour and joined us on our bus. Yet again, I raise my hat to this excellent tour department. No doubt, they will take some unnecessary flak from some of the passengers, but when I saw Ewa on the shore I went up and thanked her for coming up with an alternative tour at such short notice. She actually seemed surprised at receiving a compliment. I will complete a separate post for the tour.
Shortly after returning to the ship, we headed up to Horizon Court for lunch, as the dining room wasn’t open. I had a small plate with peas/carrots, ham, fried potatoes and a piece of fish. Judi didn’t find anything appealing, so we headed outside so she could get a burger. To no great surprise, everything was cold, except for the fried potatoes. I decided to try the grill for the first time and rather than a burger, I ordered a mince pie and chips. Well at least everything was steaming hot, but the pastry on the pie was so hard it was impossible to cut with the knife. Therefore, my lunch consisted of chips with the mince filling from the pie. I also spied Apple Crumble in Horizon Court, so I returned for a plate of apple crumble and custard. When I sat down, it was somewhere between cold and tepid. Totally fed up, we headed to Scoops Ice-Cream Bar for an ice cream that hopefully will also be served cold.
On return to the cabin, I got to work catching up on blog posts, as I am currently 4 days behind. Shortly after our scheduled all aboard time of 16:30, we received an announcement from Capt Kent advising of a delayed departure. Tours returning from Machu Picchu had experienced flight delays, with one bus not due back until about 18:30. He anticipates departing about 18:45, at which time we will, “Zoom” to Easter Island, after clearing the port. Yet again, a brilliant announcement, keeping all aboard appraised of the situation. While the Princess Tours are safe, we can only hope all the private tours make it back on time.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.