This was one of the best tours we took in Peru. We got on an open boat (two 115 hp engines) with about 25 other people. I sat in back because I thought we might get wet in the front. I was right, but it was harder to take pictures because people kept standing up in front of me and also the boat was jumping around which made focusing with a...more
BAP Abtao is a Sierra-type submarine which was launched as Tiburon (Shark). In 1957 her name was changed to Abtao in memory of the naval battle of 7 February 1866 fought between the Spanish and Purvian/Chilean naval squadrons. The Peruvians, under Captain Manuel Villar were victorious. We saw this submarine when we went on our wildlife tour.This...more
In the port area in Callao there was a small train engine on display. We were told that it was the original engine for the train that went to Machu Picchu. That was (and maybe still is) a narrow gauge line.It may also be from the line called the Ferrocarril Central del Perú which started in Callao port, from almost the sea level, it passes by Lima...more
Isla San Lorenzo
We were also supposed to see the American Oystercatcher (Ostero Americano), the Inca Tern, (Larosterna inca) which is called the Zarcillo after the earring like marking on it, and the Red-legged Cormorant (Phalacrocorax gaimardi). We probably did see cormorants - if not here, then in other places. I don't think we saw the Tern or the...more
They handed out a little plastic card with information on what we were going to see, but it was all in Spanish. One of the birds we saw was the Peruvian Booby. I took pictures of the birds without really knowing what I was taking a picture of.I looked them up in Wikipedia afterwards (one of the few places I could find something in English) and it...more
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Favorite thing: This island makes a good prison because like some other island prisons (Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas and Alcatraz) escaping is difficult due to cold water, currents or distance that has to be swum).
Fernando Belaúnde Terry, who was twice president of Peru, was imprisoned on the island for twelve days as a political prisoner. During his imprisonment, he made an unsuccessful attempt to swim to freedom.
Fondest memory: During our boat trip to see the penguins and sea lions, we went past this island. The narrator told us about the terrorists who were imprisoned here. These were the terrorists of Communist Party of Peru of 1980, more commonly known as the Shining Path, which was a Maoist guerrilla organization in Peru. They were responsible for the deaths of thousands of inhabitants of the rural regions of Peru. The Governor Alan Garcia imprisoned many of them here at El Frontón
On June 18, 1986, the Shining Path led an uprising on El Frontón, took over the prison and killed the guards. According to what we were told on the tour, the Governor ordered the Peruvian Navy to bomb the islands and kill the terrorists. The narrator appeared to be approving of these actions, but said that the Governor was under fire for Human Rights violations - indicating that he did not think this was justified.
From reading on the internet about it afterwards it appears that the Navy did take over the prison but that when the prisoners surrendered they were executed one by one, of a shot in the nape of the neck.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
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Favorite thing: There are a bunch of rocky islands off the port of Callao. We saw the islands from a boat tour organized by the ship. Some of the islands are only home to sea lions or birds. Where there are birds, there is guano. The dry climate preserves the droppings of seabirds like the cormorant.
Teams of laborers from the highlands scrape the dung off the hard soil in the same place where thousands of convicts, army deserters and Chinese indentured servants died. Peru’s government has restricted guano collection to about two islands a year, enabling the droppings to accumulate. Workers smooth slopes and build walls that retain the guano. The walls are shown in the first picture. Because the guano is so valuable as a source of income for the government, there are armed guards at each of the islands to ward off threats to birds, which produce 12,000 to 15,000 tons of guano a year.
According to an article in the New York Times:
In scenes reminiscent of open-pit gold mines on the mainland, the laborers rise before dawn to scrape the hardened guano with shovels and small pickaxes.
Many go barefoot, their feet and lower legs coated with guano by the time their shifts end in the early afternoon. Some wear handkerchiefs over their mouths and nostrils to avoid breathing in guano dust, which, fortunately, is almost odorless aside from a faint smell of ammonia.
Fondest memory: Most of the tips will be under Isla San Lorenzo, which is the biggest island off the port and has a famous lighthouse on it.Related to:
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Favorite thing: This island has two locations on Virtual Tourist. One of them is this one. The other one is called Colonia Penal by VT.
Fondest memory: The island can only be accessed by boat. It was the site of an infamous prison.
The information on the prison will be under Colonia PenalRelated to:
- Historical Travel
- Sailing and Boating
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