Thursday, September 24, 2009
Reserva Nacional de Paracas
South of Lima is a protected desert coast – the National Paracas Reserve. Here the earth is piled in dunes, all crust-brown and burnt yellow, layered sediments and fossil beds that take shape under the scalpel of etching winds. The day we visit, the landscape is distinct against blue sky and the frothy-edged blue-green sea. Paracas is home to sea lions, a few remaining sea turtles (humans have eaten them close to extinction), and more than 200 bird species; many species come especially to dine on anchovies (who come to dine on the plankton). Creatures were carrying out necessary parts of their lives. I felt I was apologetically trespassing - I wanted to gather memories and take pictures, but I hoped to keep a low profile. I couldn’t resist trespassing into this place that isn’t mine. It doesn't belong to anyone; it is only the passing residence of other beings, and for 45 million years it has collected a fossil record of those beings. The most recent layer, the strata of this age, will be full of plastic. Walking along a path to view trolling flamingos I noted the low tidal flat was dotted with piles of seaweed and plastic in equal parts.
I only met dead sea lions this visit. They say the fishermen and sea lions (lobo marino) don't get along. December to April the moms come to have their pups and the Andean Condors come from the mountains to eat the sea lion placenta. Wow!