Category Archives: Peru

Epic Fail II

Finally today, our last day in Cusco, Peru even … we manage to eat in Jacks café along with Tom and Nat. The coffee is good, it can be confirmed, but otherwise we are not sure what all the fuss is about.

After which we all head back to the hostel for a day of admin. As usual we have blog writing and photo sorting to crack on with and a few emails to send to all the troops we know in BC, tell them we´re on our way and they should take the necessary precautions 🙂

Nat has research to do, for volunteer work she plans to do in Columbia, and Tom volunteers to cook dinner … nice 🙂 We contribute with chocolate cake which goes down well. Then we all head out for the quiz. Nice last night! All eight of us that discussed the quiz last night turn up so we go from being one of the smallest teams to being one of the biggest. Which could be embarrassing if we now lose badly … but hurrah, we don´t, indeed we do retain our title and the bottle of wine goes down a treat, so do the shots after it and then the others we have back in Paddy´s (as The Real McCoy closes around us) and it gets a bit messy as Tim introduces us to the “Irish Car Bomb”!!. So much so that Bernice has a relapse as her stomach objects profusely and she spends half the night being ill again. Ouch! We blame it on the chocolate cake obviously as it was one of the things Nigel said to avoid for 2 weeks!!

The tickets are bought and we´re on our way

On the way back into Aquas Caliente yesterday having run down from Machupicchu we met Tom and Natalie (from Wasi Masi and La Paz) who had gone on the traditional Inca trail which is a day shorter than Salkantay. The bonus of that hike is that every day you are walking on old Inca walkways, and on the final morning your 1st glimpse of Machupicchu is through the Sun Gate as you arrive as the Incas did all that time ago. The down side of it is you don´t arrive at Machupicchu early enough to have any chance of getting the extra stamp allowing you to climb Huayna Picchu and get that stunning view. Both are great treks and in the end for us the decision was easy – the Inca trail is fully booked till the end of June from about January time. Something we didn´t want to do that many other backpackers we have met do – have a deadline to meet because the Inca trail is pre-booked, you also then need to pay the premium dollar price for the trek.

Anyway, Tom and Natalie had a great time and like us arrived back very very tired, in fact so tired that they opted for our hostel when they got back to Cusco last night rather than their party hostel so when we wake up this morning we find they are in the room next door to us. 🙂

Our 1st priority is to get a washing handed in at reception so we can get all our clothes cleaned. Then we head out for brekkie on our own, the guys are still sleeping. We end up in the Holland café next door to the hostel which is convenient for emailing Richard to see what time is best to chat and make a plan.

Whilst we wait on a plan we go back and re-check flight options just in case the situation has changed. Then we head back to Paddy´s where we agreed last night we´d meet the Brazilian guys Cass and Marcelus for lunch, and where we´ve told Tom and Nat we´ll be. We promised to bring a card for them with our details on and they promised some CD´s of Cass´s music, they remembered we didn´t. So we nip back round to the hostel to pick one up and drop the CD´s off and on the way we meet Tim and Nick We tell them where the others are and low and behold they are with them when we return.

We also checked our emails but still no reply from Richard. For someone in such a hurry, you´d have thought he´d be quicker with a reply… We all chat for a bit back in the bar and then arrange to catch up again later, give us a chance to go contact Richard and find out where we stand and what kind of timescales we´re talking about if at all.

Finally in one of the phone booth kinda places we call Richard on his mobile, he´s shopping, so we arrange skype shortly – we think using the hostel PC will give us a better signal than using our laptop over Wi-Fi.

So he´s still keen for us to join him and we agree flying is the best option but rather than rush to go tomorrow he suggests Thursday which gives us some breathing space. We end up running a bit late getting back to the guys but we say hello as we quickly go and sort flights out then we return to chill for the evening. During which we realise the weekly quiz is on again tomorrow night and we´re around… so are Tom, Nat, Tim, Nick and Donal and Pauline, an Irish couple Tom and Nick met on their trek, it´s a no brainer – we should go and defend our title with our new found friends as reinforcements (Americans’ too!!)

Machupicchu in all it´s glory and a birthday call home

So this is how it works:
You either get up at 0400 to get in a queue for a bus to take you up to the entrance to Machupicchu or you get up about 0400 and walk/run up to the entrance. Why so early? Well there is a mountain (very famous and in all the photos/postcards of Machupicchu) opposite the site, but inside called Huayna Picchu, and well they only let 400 people have tickets to access this per day. So it is 1st come 1st served. There´s two entrance times from 0700 and from 1000, with 200 tickets a piece. To make it more complicated, everyone wants the second visit time as the early morning mist is more likely to have cleared giving you an awesome view of the monument of Machupicchu itself.

Why run? Well the gates at the bottom open at 0500 and the buses start ferrying people up at 0530, which only gives the walkers 30-40 minutes to beat the 1st buses up, to cover a potential hour or more walk (the buses switch back up the hill, while the steps – more than 7000 – go straight up). So run is what we do. We are the 2nd group at the bottom gate but within minutes there is nobody in front of us. The lads maintain their lead and Jason is 1st in the queue at the top, he´s very proud, in fact they get 1st (34 minutes), 2nd, and 3rd place. Huw waits with Bernice and we don´t do too badly at all, coming in at 17th and 18th (37 minutes) with only one other girl just in front. We did take a wrong turn and missed a switch-back, bearing in mind this is all by torchlight that’s not a bad effort. It isn´t a race or anything but…

So did we beat the buses? Well, hell yeh! We got our stamps on our tickets to allow is to climb Huanya Picchu at 1000 and now, at 0530 we wait for the turnstiles to the monument to open and go take loads of photos before the crowds arrive. We continually pinch ourselves as it´s hard to believe we are actually here.

While waiting in the queue Enrique arrives and is pretty proud that we´re all at the front and all sorted. We group together inside for a guided tour with him and the peops from the other group at 0630, and just before they arrive we give him his Inca Kola t-shirt, he´s well chuffed with it. The tour is ok as Enrique keeps it pretty light-hearted. We get chatting to a couple of Brazilian guys, one of whom is a huge “Teenage Fanclub” fan, to the extent of visiting Scotland to see them live, he´s a musician too and in a couple of bands; the other is another geologist. It´s the last we´ll see Enrique officially and we all want to give him a tip but not in front of the other group. He already suggested meeting for a drink in town laters so we all hope he meets us. He says we´re due back in Cusco about 2230, so although we´re all tired we can manage a farewell drink; Jason and Nigel have a pretty early flight tomorrow back to Canada too but with a long lay-over in Mexico where they can re-cooperate.

We have a further walk around Machupicchu after the tour and take some more photos before a refreshment and getting our passport stamped (yes really) and making our way to the entrance for Huayna Picchu. Health and safety back home would have a hissy-fit and all access to this view point revoked. It certainly isn´t for the faint-hearted or anyone even scarcely scared of heights that’s for sure! These Inca´s may have been short but the steps they built are really tall, it´s a climb all the way. In places there are rope railings to hang onto but mostly if you´re scared you´ll end up on all fours, Nigel and Wim find this an effective method for coming back down. At one point they have introduced a one way system mostly cause it´s so steep and exposed but on the whole no one is paying the slightest bit of attention to it. At the top it´s really busy with people behaving very selfishly, if a tad irrationally due to fear we suppose – trying to pass when it´s clear we are waiting to move on but have to wait on the person in front to get out of our way… We thought we´d get to the top and chill for a while, but in the end we were desperate to get down and away from the hordes of frantic people there.

At the bottom, i.e. back in the hub of Machupicchu, we decide we´ve had enough, it´s really busy now so after a happy birthday to Jan we set off back to Aquas Caliente. For a giggle we all run down the hill too, Huw manages it in 16 minutes 🙂

Then it´s pizza from a place Enrique recommended before heading to the train station. The train is full and the ride very pleasant, shame it is dark really and we don´t get a view of the scenery we´re passing. It stops outside the village we need to get off at (the last part of the journey is by bus!) and we´re there for quite a while, meaning we don´t actually get back into Cusco till after 2300. Not sure if Enrique is going to still be in “Paddy´s” (the bar where he suggested we all meet) we head straight there. No sign of him. We try calling but have little luck there either. Bother! Oh, well can´t be helped, we decide to stay for a drink anyhow as it´s the last we´ll see each other. The Brazilian guys show up too and Rebecca (Aussie we met early on this morning whilst taking photos). By the time we wrap up it´s a little after 0100 and returning to our hostel fully laden and very tired we have to wait a further 20 minutes standing outside ringing the bell waiting and waiting and hoping they answer having kept our booking for our return …

At least while stood there we are able to retrieve emails and see we have one from Richard, re the sailing option, he is still interested and asks us to contact him on our return. A job for tomorrow, we just let him know we´re back and we´ll do just that.


Yet another early start today as we set off at first light. We are going to walk on an Inca trail up a mountain where there is a view point across the valley to Machupicchu. Meaning we´ll see it today from a distance, a bonus we think.

The main reason for the early start is that it is going to be a real long slog up hill and not advisable to be doing in the heat of the day – probably the reason all the other groups are going later in the day by minibus, or maybe their agency didn´t offer this option.

No roads, no people, just us and a lovely wooded walk up a very steep hill. It is really nice and much more what we had in mind. Bernice struggles a little with the heat, and a little hayfever too probably going up, but going down the other side after our photo session and pit stop at the view point she kicks ass. In true KIMM/OMM styly we run down the hillside, which would be a real pain if we didn´t as it´s pretty muddy and slippery for the most part. Nigel and Jason finally abandon their reliance on their walking poles and follow suit. We get down in a fraction of the time Enrique thought we would so we reward ourselves with another dip in the river at the bottom.

It isn´t till we get to the hydroelectric power station at the entrance to the Machupicchu national park that we see any of the other groups. Here is the railway and some groups are taking this to Aquas Caliente – the town at the base of Machupicchu, we are walking along the railway tracks the 9km journey, after lunch that is.

Before that we have to say farewell to our wee cook as he´ll be taking our bags on the train into town for us and then heading home. Awh :-/

Aquas Caliente is a sprawling tourist town that only appears to exist to supply tourists a base from which to reach Machupicchu from. It´s ok though and a hostel, hot water and a bed are most welcome. Well for some of us anyway – the boys share a room on the other side of the hallway to us, we have hot water, they don´t. You win some you lose some 🙂

We have some time to buy some snacks for tomorrow and get organised for our big day before meeting Enrique for a drink and food. The boys spot some Inca Kola t-shirts and we all end up getting one to wear tomorrow. We know we´ll be having another group joining us for the tour of the Machupicchu site and it´s a bit of a group giggle, we even go back and get Enrique one too.

Vamos a la “Playa”!

We had a bit of a lie in this morning we didn´t need to get up till 0630 for brekkie around 0800. We are the 1st group to move out and are pleased by this as it means no huge group walk, for now anyways. The 1st 10 minutes or so involve crossing the river on an old wire wobbly suspension bridge.

Then through a small village and onto the road, a new road recently built to connect the villages to the bigger nearby town of La Playa. The rest of the walk for today is on this road. Even though the landscape is amazing it feels really tedious walking along a dirt road. There is a footpath we learn, the horses in fact are walking it, but there was some land slippage recently so it might not be safe!! Right! The horses can cope but we can´t. Huw feels mollycoddled and is not happy.

Today is also spent bunny-hopping two big groups which adds to the annoyance. We try to console ourselves with the fact that we are a small group and we all get on really well and try to absorb ourselves in that.

Along the way there is a zip-line connecting the two sides of the valley and used by locals to transport their goods from one side to the other. Enrique promises us a stop soon to soak our feet in the river but he gets his calculations wrong and its much further away than he thought so it’s a long walk. When we get there it´s nice and peaceful for oh about 10 minutes before the hordes arrive.

Not to worry the village we are heading for isn´t much further on and we know that very few people are walking the route we´re taking tomorrow so we are sure it will be much better. When we get to the village of La Playa (2,250m) and our hosts garden for the night we find we have the original tents again. Amazing! We get organised and then four of us head down to the river and brave the cold water for a shower/dip – Nigel hasn´t been feeling very well today, thinks it´s something he´s eaten.

Our other national drink … or is it?

A late start then, not! We get up in the dark, eat in the dark and leave just as the sun is coming up through the pass. It´s going to be a tough climb today but after the descent we will no longer be at altitude so that will solve one problem. We want to get it done too before the day heats up, hence the reason for the early start.

Interestingly we start off on a slightly different path than the groups in front of us, and maybe an hour or two in we notice there´s quite a few who have taken the option of the horse to the top of the pass, one large group of girls maybe 8-10 of them. Bernice might be walking slow compared to the boys but she is at least doing it all under her own steam. Looking at the faces of those on horses as they pass us, we think it´s much safer to walk, the ride looks terrifying as the horses have a mind of their own and are walking on the edge of some really steep drops at times….

We have a couple breaks on the way up and then quite a long one on the pass (4,600m); after all the obligatory photo taking that is, then it´s a nice constant drop back down into the valley below where our cooks are putting together lovely lunch menus for us all in Huayraqmachay, which is at 3700m. There is time for a short siesta before the long walk on down the 1,100m or so metres we still have to descent to the village of Collpapampa at 2,600m where we´ll be camped tonight.

The other downside (couldn´t resist the pun) of today is that Enrique seems quite keen to walk at the same pace as his friend, who just happens to be guiding a group of 12. This means, try as we will, we feel we are walking now in a huge group and being herded like cattle. We try walking slower, we try walking quicker, and we try dawdling when it´s time to set off again after pit stops and at least stagger the groups… but without much success.

Our campsite is nice, we are in the garden of a smallholding that has a shop attached and a loo at the bottom – more convenient than last night – that was an age away from our tents. At least Enrique is keen in some seclusion and not plonking us in the same huge field as the big group. Interestingly we don’t know what company this other guy is working for… is it one of the bigger more expensive outfits? It´s blatantly obvious that they are getting no different an experience to us and in fact with such a size group and only one guide potentially a poorer one.

The house whose garden we are camping in has some little puppies there too, much to the amusement of Bernice. Bizarrely we have 3 completely different tents, the same make but different models from last night. Well apart from Wim´s whose is very shabby and very different. We notice this (considering the horses are supposed to carry all the gear we need on to our new location each day) just before Jason and Nigel realise the zip to theirs is broken and torn away from the seam. When we ask Enrique about the different tents he denies it and says they are the same ones, he´s not so convincing though after the faulty zip is pointed out.

It´s not like it makes any difference to us, we thought maybe, and sensibly, they kept some gear at each location, especially if it´s used day in day out. Save the horses etc. but why the denial, it is indeed a mystery to us all. Anyway he spends the next wee while hand sewing the zip back onto the door and fixing it so it’s useable, while we have our dinner.

It is here also that we all get to taste “Inca Kola” thanks to Wim. It is a common drink we´ve seen about that looks like a bottle of fairy liquid, in colour anyhow. So as you can guess it was with some trepidation we all had a taste … and blow us away with a feather if it doesn´t taste exactly like Irn Bru (that´s a Scottish soft drink that outsells Coke in Scotland for those of you who don´t know what it is). So the question is: What came 1st? Who has copied who? Answers on a postcard please! Needless to say it went down well with everyone except Huw.

With regards to the scenery we have walked through today, no amount of description would do it justice. The amount we have walked is by far the most of the whole trek as is the height difference; surroundings changing dramatically between glacial vistas to rainforests via cloud forests. We can only hope you get a good idea from the photos when we upload them.

The pilgrimage to Machupicchu begins …

We could argue that it was to be expected, Spanish time and all that, but to be fair no one we knew or have spoken to knows where our hostel is, so it was no real surprise when the transport didn´t arrive on time. In fact it didn´t arrive until 0515, apparently he´d been driving up and down the street looking for us.

Not to worry if that was all that was going to go wrong on the trip we were laughing! It was in fact a taxi that came to pick us up, with another young guy in it called “Wim”, it turns out he´s from Belgium and he´s been over in Lima for 7 months or so on exchange. The taxi takes us across town where a local bus is waiting and being uploaded with gear. We get on this as instructed and it´s pretty much full. It´s not long before we set off to our trek start point a village called Mollepata where we can have brekkie and get to know who exactly is in our group… There appears to be 9 or 10 tourists on the bus and the rest seem to be guides and cooks etc… but we are just guessing at this stage.

At brekkie we realise there were two groups on the bus, ours is made up of Wim, Jason and Nigel (Canada) and us. Our guide for the trek is called Enrique (Iglesias he kids!). Things are looking dandy; we tried really hard not to be in a huge group. The Condor trek in Sucre was full of lovely people but it´s pretty hard to keep everyone together when the group is that large (there were 14 of us!); five is a nice number, especially with one guide. The other group has 4 guys in it, an American father and son (Tim and Nick), a Swiss French guy and a French Canadian. There are going to be many more groups as time goes on, but here is this 1st other we´ve met and we are likely to keep on meeting these guys throughout the trip.

How it works with Salkantay is this: we all pack a day sack with essentials in it – water, sun cream, a waterproof just in case, then the remainder of our kit – sleeping bags, spare clothes, tents they supply etc.. get carried on a mule/horse for most of the way. There is a horseman who looks after the horses and guides them through the mountains and we also have a cook, all his gear and the food also go on the animals. We have a weight limit to abide by and it turns out that with all this gear we have 4 horses with us. They aren´t actually with us as such as they walk at a different pace and leave after us each day having stayed behind to pack up camp.

After brekkie we have another truck ride (like the one at the end of the Condor trek) for about 45 minutes, lucky for us we get offered the passenger seats in the cab 🙂 . Then we don our daysacks and set off for our 1st overnight camp – at Soraypampa, it´s at the base of a glacial path we will be walking tomorrow and a hidden lake just above us that Enrique tells us we are walking just for fun after lunch! We are already at 3,700m and the lake is another ~500m up. We guess its good practice for altitude acclimatising, only we tackle it too soon after eating (Jason doesn´t join us as he has a pretty bad head) and Bernice not being 100% yet really struggles. Thing is the others think it´s the altitude but it´s really the food poisoning still causing her issues. That said slow and steady paid off and it was worth the effort, a really nice glacial lake awaited us.

Back at camp it was dinner and then bed. What we´ve discovered already is that our cook likes to cook and lunch and dinner are huge meals, even for a normal day out, but taking into consideration altitude effects it is a real shame as we all struggle to eat what is put in front of us 🙁

In the valley there is evidence of quite a few other groups scattered about the various smallholdings around us. Which means the path we all walk over the coming days is going to be pretty busy. Enrique has offered to source a horse to take Jason to the pass tomorrow if he thinks he´s still going to be crock, but he says he´s feeling better already so all is well.

Epic Fail

Feeling marginally better this morning and trying to chivvy ourselves along we are determined to book a trek today, otherwise we may find ourselves still wandering around agencies this time next month! To set us up for the challenge we go in search of a nice brekkie. Two or three doors down from us is “Jack´s café” which is supposed to sell the best coffee in town, trouble is – it’s a gringo establishment and it always has queues outside it, at least 5/6 deep. Yes really, morning, noon and night!! No matter how good it is reported to be we aren´t queuing, not now not ever. Instead we find a rather nice local (a tad posh) place “Cicciolina” and have a very nice traditional Peruvian brekkie each.

The big camera is also out with us today to try and capture some photos of the town.

Weighing up all the trekking options and with no reason not to, we go with the 1st local outfit we spoke to – “Sunshine tours”. They were also the only agency to offer therma-rests instead of roll mats 🙂 , we have also decided to risk it and leave tomorrow. It means we will be back Monday night late.

As for the sailing, we pop into a different agency and quiz them about buses and flights from here to Panama, probably only possible via Lima as we´ve been told it´s the only city in Peru you can get external flights. Just so we have the info when we speak to Richard after lunch you understand. The bus to Lima is 1/3 the price of a flight but takes 22 hours as opposed to 1½ hours by plane. The fact that Richard is in a hurry and considering the Crewseeker ad says it’s a paid delivery, it´s likely that flights all the way will be the answer and he´d presumably cover the cost of transfers to Panama. We may even arrive in Vancouver a little richer. Not bad for a month at sea and it would go a long way to getting the budget back on track for enabling us to be away a whole year. Plus, it should be cheaper to eventually fly home from the States.

What are the benefits of taking on the trip?
1. Well we get to do more sailing, adding mileage and experience to our sailing CV´s.
2. We get to experience a catamaran in anger
3. We get to sail up the Pacific north coast stopping in Mexico, and possibly Hawaii
4. We save some money
5. We get a completely different travel experience at the other end – no half built towns, we hope!
6. An option of sometime in Vancouver followed by a road trip down the west coast to California and then across to Denver to visit the troops (Dan, Angie and Co.; Andrew, Karen and Co.) Yes Bernice is actually coming around to a US trip; best get it in quick before/in case she changes her mind!!!

What are the downsides of taking on the trip?
1. We have to leave South America straight after the Inca trail probably
2. We don´t get to visit Ecuador or Columbia
3. We don´t get to finish Peru, no “Colca Canyon” or “Nazca Lines”
4. No more meeting up with all the great people again that we´ve already met and keep re-meeting

All that aired it may not be up to us to decide anyway. We have a long chat with Richard late afternoon and he´s really keen to get going ASAP but the earliest we could probably be ready would be next Wed/Thurs which might not be quick enough for him. He seems really interested in us joining him on the one hand but on the other he´s already been sat in Panama having necessary works done on the boat and is now itching to get going. Sensibly we all agree to leave it open till we return Mon night/Tues morning from Machupicchu and see how it all is then. Leave it in the lap of the gods. If he has found other crew who are available, then it isn´t meant to be, if he hasn´t and we are still interested after the trek and having had time to mull it over then we go ahead!

In the meantime, we have a pre-trek briefing to go to tonight at the agency, to meet the guide and others going on the trek with us and sort out final arrangements re pick-ups in the morning etc. Then we are going to try a 2nd time to meet Tom and Natalie at “The Real McCoy´s” bar where we tried to meet them last night.

As it turns out we are running a bit late and Bernice goes onto the briefing while Huw wraps up the Skype chat with Richard. When she gets there it becomes apparent that it´s only the two of us for the briefing… curious, especially as we were told there would be 7 others on the trip leaving tomorrow… Hhmm, it´s all good as the smaller the group the better, but just us!!! that doesn´t seem right. Anyway the guy seems sound and we will be picked up from our hostel in the morning at 0430. Ouch!

Feeling a little more like food we arrive at the bar (it´s just across the street from the agency) a little earlier than we said. To find they are about to start a quiz 🙂 Reading a bit about the bar, it´s run by a British couple who came to Cusco/Peru to do some volunteering some time ago. They liked it so much they stayed and opened a bar, now a lot of their takings, including the money from the quiz nights, are injected into local charity organisations carrying on the good work they originally came out to do. We like to support this kind of enterprise so obviously agree to take part in the quiz and hope Tom and Natalie show up to help…

Luckily enough and not that we had any doubt, they arrive shortly after we have ordered food. We decide to call our team Epic Fail after Tom calling last night’s efforts to meet exactly that. The quiz is good fun, with quite a good layout, even though it is still more Americanised than we´d like. Natalie seems to be on fire, especially on the music round which is very US orientated, and to all our amazements we actually win. Not only are we one of the smallest teams, but we don´t have a single American on our team, we are all Brits. Get in there! A bottle of wine is our prize which we donate to Tom and Nat as we have to get going, a very early start ahead of us and we haven’t quite packed yet….

A possible change of plans on the cards?!?

Still struggling we make a further traipse around the agencies, more questions, more comparisons, and finding out what availability and group sizes are on offer. We might have to delay a day or so if the food poisoning doesn´t skedaddle!

We also limp round some camera shops to see if we can find yet another replacement compact camera – for the stolen one that replaced the broken one!! Thinking fresh air has got to be better than lying in bed in the hostel for sure. Anyway, we also had to find a printers to get copies of our claim form printed. Good old insurers, sent us an acrobat form we can´t just fill in and email them back! It appeared at 1st that it wasn´t going to allow us to print it either, but we got there in the end!

We also walk to San Blas, a slightly elevated area of town behind our hostel, there´s a great view from here and quite a few nice looking eateries, but food is the last thing we want, in fact we settle for bread and cheese for dinner! The 1st food for Bernice since Sunday evening!

A message from Tom and Natalie (from Wasi Masi and La Paz) alerts us that they are in town and we tentatively arrange to meet them in a bar off the main plaza. As it turns out we do make the effort to go, Bernice still a bit peeky, but as luck would have it it´s shut Tuesdays, so that was enough of an omen to tell us another early night was in order.

Well sort of…. We were looking at Crewseekers earlier in the day today and came across an ad asking for crew to help with a delivery to Vancouver from Panama. Well feeling sorry for ourselves and keen to have something to look forward to, some new adventure, we emailed the skipper our details and extend our interest. He now wants to chat, so we try Skype when we get back to the hostel. As usual internet connectivity is very slow and this ends up being a text chat rather than a live chat.

An interesting proposition! The delivery skipper, Richard, lives and works in the Caribbean and goes all over the place delivering yachts of all shapes and sizes to required destinations by the (usually new) owners. This is quite common practice. For instance you buy a boat in the Caribbean and you live in Canada, you don´t want to ship it there and equally you haven´t the time or the inclination to sail it there. You hire a delivery skipper such as Richard. A usual scenario is Brits buying in Gibraltar or the Med and wanting it delivered back to the UK, or they´ve sailed across the Atlantic in the ARC but don´t have time or again, the inclination to sail it back.

We all agree to try again tomorrow and see if the connection is better … allowing us to sleep on the implications of agreeing to this as a next step after the Inca Trail.


Ouch! As if that wasn´t bad enough, Bernice then develops really painful indigestion that lasts most of the day. She can´t be sick anymore but can´t shift the pain either. Huw spends the day at her side, sorting through photos but helpless to do anything, truth is he doesn´t feel 100% either. He makes a few trips out for some snacks and a trip to the chemist for something to help but that doesn´t work. In the end Bernice drags herself out too to show the pharmacist just exactly how much pain she was in and see if there really isn´t anything else that could be done. It´s now 2030 in the evening, it´s been a very long day.

This doesn´t bode well for good preparation to starts a 5 day hike!!!