31 Jan 2019: Diary

Done the lines and moved on (Nazca is not the most exciting city in the country with limited things other than the “Lines”).

So I’m now at a small town called Paracas on the Pacific coast. A real dump, dreadful place, worst in all respects. The bus I came here on was the Nazca to Lima bus that stopped at Paracas – and only two of us got off here. Such a dump of a town first thing I did on arrival was to book my bus ticket out of the place (1st bus out day after I’ve done what I came here for). But I knew that before coming here because, it’s the best way to visit the Islas Ballestas. The Islas Ballestas are sometimes called “the poor man’s Galapagos”, though having talked to several people who have actually recently visited the Galapagos they sound pretty bad these days so maybe the Peruvian alternative is a good one, particularly given that Peru has protected these islands rather than exploited them. You take a boat to the islands, but nobody can land, no swimming in the area, boat can’t dock – basically, view only from boat. Then to help protect things there is a massive national reserve along to coast largely to protect the marine environment.

Paracas is actually a beach resort about 4 hrs south from Lima. Unsurprisingly, quite a few Peruvian holiday makers.

Getting here we travelled through Ica, the region where vineyards produce Peruvian red wine and the national brandy, Pisco (the liquor base for the famous “Pisco sour” cocktail which is actually quite nice). Interesting passing through but not a lot worth stopping for unless you are keen on sand-boarding (and my ankle could not tolerate trying that at the moment – but I’d probably skip on it anyway with so many other interesting places around).

Pacific Ring Of Fire

Travelling round this area one is constantly reminded that this is the Pacific Ring Of Fire and is still very seismically active. All around the place you see the “S” signs meaning that the building is earthquake proof and should be used as a shelter when tremors start.

But on the coast there is the additional risk we have signs for

Reads “Tsunami Thread Area”

But with good reason. In 2007 the area was hit by a magnitude 8 earthquake, over 500 people lost their lives and the area suffered extensive damage. Tsunami warnings were issued but later cancelled. That was a bad one but it’s ongoing, nature of the area. On the 25 Jan 2019 there was a 5.6 earthquake up by Palpa (close to Nazca) withan MMI of 4 (around Palpa)

Felt indoors by many, outdoors by few during the day. At night, some awakened. Dishes, windows, doors disturbed; walls make cracking sound. Sensation like heavy truck striking building. Standing motor cars rocked noticeably.

From the US Geological Survey region information

Interplate earthquakes occur due to slip along the dipping interface between the Nazca and the South American plates. Interplate earthquakes in this region are frequent and often large, and occur between the depths of approximately 10 and 60 km. Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes have occurred on this subduction zone interface that were followed by devastating tsunamis, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world.

For other South American posts see South America Map.

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