|Visiting Peru by land last year (2004) prompted us to consider a trip south from Ecuador with the boat. We loved the country and the people, but the trip
south is a tough slog against the prevailing southerly winds and the mighty Humboldt Current. We gave it lots of thought and decided “What the hell? Let’s
give it a try.” So much for heading west this year. It took us just about a week for the 1060 nautical mile trip. Our thoughts of coast-hopping and anchoring
at night came to no avail as the coast offered no safe places to tuck in. Instead, we pretty much motor-sailed straight through. We saw lots of whales,
dolphins and sea birds along the way and enjoyed the passage so much, despite the motoring, we almost regretfully headed into port. Peru is not used to
handling foreign-flagged yachts and so we were limited to visiting the ports of Callao (Lima) and Pisco (near Ica) ...limited yes, but well worth the trip.
|The anchorage from the beach at Paracas.
|The famous "candelabra" etched in the
sands at Paracas.
|One of the main reasons for returning to Peru with the boat was to visit again with our friends Gonzalo and Magdala de Rávago and their family. By
the time we left, we felt as if we were family. They shared their home, their family and their friends with us. We spent a tremendous amount of time
together despite their busy work schedules. They always made time for us and we felt honored to be treated so royally.
Every place we went with them, people already knew all about us and
enthusiastically asked about our cruising lives and our backgrounds.
So meet Familia de Rávago once again. They will be, without a doubt,
friends for life.
|s/y Nine of Cups
July / August 2005
|Our home and host in Peru was the Yacht Club Peruano (YCP) in La Punta, the oldest and
most prestigious yacht club in Peru. The hospitality shown us by staff and club members was
overwhelming. There are currently about 360 members and 480 boats moored and on-the-hard
at the club. Our stay was totally “gratis” for the entire month Services included fresh, potable
water at the dock, 24-hour security gate and 24-hour launch service to and from our boat. Our
only cost was fuel and indeed that was at a premium. We paid $3.53/gal of diesel and it went up
each day we were there. We were treated like royalty by the club and its members. Everyone
seemed interested in meeting and chatting with us. We were invited for coffee, drinks, dinners,
lunches, birthday parties and picnics. We were asked to speak at a Toastmaster's luncheon,
interviewed by the yacht club reporter for an article in their newsletter and taken on tours of a
glass factory, a jewelry factory and a vineyard. Life in Peru for Nine of Cups and crew was
|An article about Cups and crew appeared in
"El Tridente", the YCP newsletter.
|David stands with Jaime
Ackermann, YCP's Director of Ops.
|The petroleum industry in Peru is one of the
oldest in the world, while its fisheries are among
the richest in the world.
|On this visit to Peru, we also took a trip to
Iquitos on the Amazon River. Come with
us...you really don't want to miss this.
|This sign prominently displayed in the marina
was always somewhat disconcerting to us.
|The YCP is located on the small peninsula of La Punta near, but away from, Callao, Peru's major shipping port. It is a "gated community", quiet,
safe and very picturesque. Above, a mansion decorated for Dia de las Patrias; a typical tree-lined avenue; and fishing boats on the shore. La Punta
has only a couple of main streets with restaurants and shops and a nice area to take a walk.
|Started initially by the Navy in 1938,
the YCP moved to its present
location in the majestic century-old
Aspillaga House in 1968.
|Yacht Club Peruano, La Punta
|Peru’s coast is mostly desert with high cliffs and
huge sand dunes. The coastline took on a
different look this time as we viewed it from the
sea instead of the Pan American Highway.
|The fishermen use raft-like vessels with sails
which give them the appearance of walking on
water. This fellow was trying to sell us the fish
he’d just caught.
|Familia de Rávago
|We asked the meaning of the name "Paracas" when
we first arrived there. It means sandstorm. It's good
to know what it is so that you can put a label on it
when you're in the middle of one. For two days, the
wind blew fine desert sand into every nook, cranny,
crevice, crack and cubbyhole leaving us with nearly
1" of sand on the deck and grit everywhere. Our
efforts to clean it initially resulted in mud pies on the
deck...what a mess!
|Magdalita, celebrating her 10th birthday.
|Magdala & Gonzalo pose with us
.( Photo by Magdalita)
|We would miss Gonzalito's
birthday in September, so
gave him his Teddy bear a
|We were asked to accompany them to the “mountains”,
to Club Regata’s Winter facilities in Chaclacayo about
an hour’s drive from Lima. What a place it was. A
family club, it boasted a small zoo, picnic areas with
grills, mini-golf, playgrounds, swimming pools,
restaurants, you name it…they had it. Men came around
to the picnic grounds to light your grill for you and get it
going. Other people came around to take orders for
drinks, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, full meals, whatever
you desired and then delivered it to your picnic table.
Magdala had packed quite a picnic lunch and Gonzalo
cooked burgers, chicken and chorizos on the grill. At
left, Marcie with Gonzalito, Magdalita and some vacas.
Right, David and Gonzalito take to the swings.
|After two weeks in La Punta, we took a week-long trip to Iquitos on the Amazon. When we returned, we were nearly ready to leave for the port of
Pisco, where there is an outpost of Yacht Club Peruano in PN Paracas (national park),120 miles down the coast. Prior to leaving, Gonzalo offered to
give us a tour of his company. Gonzalo is in charge of Corporate Operations for Yanbal/Unique…a company which manufactures and sells cosmetics,
fragrances and fine costume jewelry. One afternoon we toured the jewelry plant, followed by a tour of a glass factory he used to work at and still did
business with, followed by a most elegant dinner at Club Nacional, one of the top private clubs in the world. It was a most impressive day, but alas no
|We left La Punta late afternoon for Paracas and overnighted for a mid-morning arrival. The yacht club was expecting us and greeted us warmly. The
Ravagos were coming for the long Fiesta de Santa Rosa weekend and would meet us on Saturday morning to spend the weekend together. Paracas
is a resort village and a national park located on a peninsula that juts out from the mainland. It is all sand dunes. Nearby are the Islas Ballestas which
we had visited last year to see the Humboldt penguins, sea lions and birdlife. Birds were plentiful where we anchored and every once in awhile a
whiskered sea lion nose would poke its head out of the icy water.
|TheYCP's Paracas club house
|Our time in Paracas was busy dawn till dusk everyday. The Ravagos arrived on Saturday mid-morning and we met them in the afternoon for lunch at
Casa de las Casas, Gonzalo's grandfather's beach home. On Sunday, we were invited to go sailing on their friend’s catamaran, Alamoana, out to the
Islas Ballestas. It was a cold, windy ride, but it felt great to be a guest rather than sailing it ourselves. On Sunday night, the yacht club was giving regatta
trophies and having a BBQ. They insisted we join them and gave us t-shirts and caps as mementos.
|Monday was a holiday and we were invited to Vista Allegre Winery with Gonzalo and family. The winery has been owned by the Picasso family for 150
years and Rafael, one of the owners, is one of Gonzalo’s best friends. We arrived around Noon and Rafael gave us a personal tour then we relaxed, drank
pisco sours and had a late lunch in the hacienda with about 20 other family members and friends. They served their own wines and pisco, of course, and
lunch was a wonderful pasta dish with a white cream pecan sauce…pecans grown and picked on the hacienda grounds. Once again, we were privileged to
share an unique experience with a very unique family.
A write-up in Lonely Planet describes the Bodega Vista Allegre as being the most accessible from the city of Ica. We drove with Gonzalo and Magdala
and family nearly two hours to get there from Pisco. The day was hot and dry…a typical winter day in Ica which is comparable to Napa Valley in
California in its climate and wine-growing capabilities. Vista Allegre makes red, rosés and whites, but its absolute best product by far is its pisco, the
national drink of Peru. During the years of the socialist government (70’s-80’s), the vineyard and all lands were seized by the government and left to go
fallow. Only in the late 90’s, were they able to “buy” their land back from the government and begin the process of growing grapes again.
| Pisco Sour
Peru does many things well, but one of the best is this
drink made with the locally produced Pisco Puro, a
white distilled brandy. Our friend, Gonzalo de
Ravago, gave us the recipe and we've been drinking
them ever since...whenever we can get pisco, that is!
We met cruisers who had converted a water tank on
their boat into a pisco tank. That's dedication!
2 oz Pisco Puro 1 Tbsp sugar 1 egg white
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice 4 ice cubes
2 drops Angostura bitters
For each cocktail, combine all the above ingredients
(except bitters) in a blender until ice is dissolved and the
drink is frothy. Garnish with bitters. Multiply ingredients
accordingly to make additional cocktails. Note: For up to
4 cocktails, only one egg white is needed.
Warning: Very addictive!
|Our time with the de Rávagos was coming to an end.
We bid them farewell after yet another lunch and
pisco sours at Casa de las Casas. They needed to
return to Lima to work and to school and we needed
to be on our way to Chile. We hugged goodbye, said
farewells and promised to stay in touch. As a family,
they had given us so very much. They accepted us as
part of their own…the kids call us tia and tio even
today and hug and kiss us as with other family
members. They showed us any number of kindnesses
by taking us into their home, sharing meals and
memories with us. Gonzalo went out of his way
innumerable times to sort out problems with our
paperwork and saved us an inordinate amount of
time, money and aggravation by his intervention.
These are friends for life not just for our time in Peru
and we are very fortunate to have met them and
shared time with them.
|From Paracas, we thought we would head straight to Arica, Chile. We checked out, headed out and after 5 hours of beating into a stiff wind and major
seasickness, we headed back to Paracas for a night of calm waters and tried again the next day. We made it as far as Bahia de la Independencia where
we hung out for 4 days while winds of over 50 knots blasted us from the south. We were reminded by Gonzalo in an email, that Bahia de la
Independencia was the location that San Martin used to plan the revolution to overcome the Spaniards and become independent from Spain. In all, it
took nearly 9 days to go the 514 nautical miles from Pisco, Peru to Arica, Chile including the days we waited out the wind.
|We coast hopped all along the Chilean
coast from Arica to Puerto Montt. You'll
love all these interesting ports of call.
Bienvenidos a Chile!