Sunday April 1
01.04.2012 - 01.04.2012
Ric and I awake at 0600 and decide to go out quickly for a walk and to see the sunrise over Lake Titicaca now underway. There is a bit of snow/hail on the ground but it is a brilliant morning of yet another unbelievably beautiful day in Peru! We walk east toward the sunrise and meet Juan along the path. He has his camera out too and is looking for birds. In Juan, Ric has found someone who can match his energy/enthusiasm for hiking so when we pick our way up to the saddle between Mother and Father Earth peaks I am delighted to let them continue to the Father Earth summit while I slowly make my way down, taking photos and making sure to get back to Daniel & Augustine's for breakfast at 0800. Bread, jam, egg, juice and tea and we are set to go to the boat for the longer journey to Puno and the floating Reed Islands.
But first I buy a woven toque made by Augustine like the one I had admired Daniel wearing. It came in handy as it started to hail in earnest as we approached the boat at the dock, festooned with flower garlands presented to us by Augustine. The storm passed as we motored away to Puno - a 4 hour journey against building waves - and the sky cleared as we pulled through a channel in Puno Bay and entered the Reed Islands.
These floating islands are indeed made of reeds gathered from the bay and anchored to the shallow bottom by long poles driven through. In ancient times the inhabitants used these to avoid the Incas and their taxes, and were eventually abandoned, but today ~40 such islands have attracted indigenous residents to subsist (fishing) and cater to tourists like us to supplement their income. The small (~80ft square) island we visited has a female President right now and Anna explains how they cut and bind the reed bundles to create the floating platform on which they live and work.
They make craft items and clothing and many of our group have fun donning local garb for a photo - lots of chuckles all around! We left aboard one of their large reed boats, rowed by two of the very able women, but when Steve and Chris took a turn at the oars disaster struck as Steve's oar broke! After signalling back to the others on the island a new oar was deleivered, the pros took over again and we made it to another island where our motor launch had moored to wait for us.
We arrived at the Puno dock in short order, Ric and I presented the tips to the Captain and her father and we transferred to our hotel near the main square in a fleet of little taxis.
After cleaning up we went out for an evening meal together and explored the main square and pedestrian mall before heading for bed before another early morning.