Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Day 38: Stung in Paracas and drawing a line to the Pampas (369 kms)

If we were staying at a beach house and soon leaving the coast for the Andes, I was going to take advantage of one last swim. I couldn't find the guys or Alfredo so I just went for it. Even wading out, I could see that the water was heavily populated with living things. I saw fish, a small ray and huge jellyfish. The water was chilly and after a shallow dive and a short front crawl I put down my feet to get my bearings. Immediately there was a sharp jolt of pain in my foot. I limped up the beach, bleeding a little from a clean cut on the sole of my foot just above the little toe. Instead of subsiding the pain was spreading, filling my foot and running up my inner thigh towards my groin. What was this thing and was I going to die?!

I hobbled back to the house and found the guys. Alfredo couldn't be found but one of his staff knew exactly what to do. His immediate understanding of the situation and blasé reaction calmed me. Eventually we understood that I'd stepped directly on a stingray.

The next step was painful. It involved soaking my foot in nearly boiling water and then sucking out the venom with "The Extractor".

Afterwards, Alfredo's staff killed two stingrays with a spear to make me feel better. They all told stories about how many times this had happened to them and I did feel better.

After a quick breakfast, Alfredo took us for a tour in his boat (his "launch"). We saw and startled into flight a flock of pink flamingos. Then we came across some boats harvesting scallops: divers on the floor below would simply gather them in bags which would be hauled up to the surface.

We said our goodbyes and thank yous to Alfredo and company, and shot out for Nazca. A short while later Nathan's muffler fell off. Bumpy roads in the Cordillera Blanca? He fixed it quickly with some nuts and bolts purchased from a gas station.

Only three of the many "Nazca Lines" are visible from the roadside mirador, but it was still fascinating to see these monumental sized drawings in the desert only visible from the sky or to the gods.

After the heat of Nazca, we climbed 3500 meters into less than 100kms to the Peruvian Pampas. Perfect camping terrain.

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