Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 20; Peru, Dolphins and the stench of squid....

      So I was a little geographically uninformed before we pulled into port in Peru. Checking out Peru on the map it appears to have a long stretch of what should be beautiful beach property on the Pacific Ocean. My only vision of Peru includes Machu Pichu with is vibrant green foliage and rainforest. That is NOT coastal Peru. Coastal Peru sits on the ocean where El Nino and La Nina converge switching up the weather patterns. The Coast we visited sees only 2 inches of rainfall a year. It's difficult for me to claim that I come from a desert state as Utah is experiancing all time record water amounts leading to devastating floods and keeping our ski industry open until July. But even though I think I know desert, this is a dry, dry, dry, arid landscape with mostly rocks and very little vegetation.
     As we pulled into port this morning before dawn, I was viewing the coast from the bow of the ship and noticed linear movement in the waters. It rolled and boiled in all directions as far as the eye could see. As the darkness of night began to lift, the fins of hundreds of dolphins became apparent. In the clear water right next to the ship you could make out their swirling forms as they danced a greeting for the USNS Comfort. So we are here in this magical South American country where dolphins are the welcoming committee.  But wait, sniff ... sniff, what else is wafting in the early morning hours from the nearby shore? Something I affectionately called "The Stench of Squid".
Here they are weighing their catch. Even as fishermen, the colors in South America are bright.

This guy has the job I do not want. He is sorting squid. I don't know the criteria, I didn't want to get close enough to find out. Did I mention there is a foul odor associated with this process? Evidently, the squid in this area mature very fast and are huge in 2 years. They are harvested, loaded in large container ships and sent directly to China. Don't kid yourself "calamari" is just a fancy term that means "really stinky, rubbery, unappetizing squid".

I told you they got big, and did I mention that they STINK? The first day in port two things were evident as we climbed from berthing to the mess deck. It was warmer here than it had been in the Panama Canal and the smell got worse the higher you climbed. Remember how I hadn't been seasick yet? It took longer to get used to the smell than to gain my sea legs. So what do you think? In the mood for some yummy sea food?


jeannine said...

I remember the day you came back and I thought I would die if you didn't take a shower and I mean TAKE A SHOWER...FAST! The squid smell had attached it's stench to your red hair, like syrup to a pancake. Fortunately that was the only time I can recall that you really stunk!

Georgia said...

Don't you think a smell creates a memory like no other? Those sensory related memories permanently burn into the brain. For the rest of your life anytime you catch a wiff of squid you will be instantly transported to Peru and hopefully to the sight of dolphins greeting you before the smell.