Day 4 |
Oct 21, 2009

Supe, Peru

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: S 10º 47.936’, W 077º 44.815’

Weather: Overcast

Air Temperature: 17ºC

Sea Temperature: 16ºC

Pressure: 1013 hPa

Wind: Light breeze blowing form the SE at 5 knots

This morning I got up thinking that I was going to visit the Sacred City of Caral.  Unfortunately I was wrong… The morning started off quite easily with breakfast, and a lecture by Hans-Peter at 10 am entitled “Biodiversity – Counting Life on Earth”. In this talk Hans gave an overview of what biodiversity deals with, and how important it is for mankind. 

At 11 am the Prince Albert II was dropping anchor in front of Supe, and shortly thereafter the expedition staff was on a scout boat going ashore to check out the conditions for a landing this afternoon. The plan was to disembark our guests at 12:30 and head on a coach tour to Caral. 

Right from the moment we got on the Zodiacs I realized conditions were not ideal. A heavy swell of 4 to 5 meters coming in from the open ocean was causing a substantial amount of rolling. 

We headed ashore to find a big cement pier standing about 8 meters out of the water.  On one of the sides they had attached a precarious welded stepladder and a flimsy little platform about 2 feet wide by 4 feet long.  It was attached with two bolted hinges to the stepladder and the other end was floating on 3 oil drums.  With the low tide the “thing” was quite steep, and having big swells coming through and breaking hard a few meters behind it was not a promising prospect for a landing.  Considering the heavy surf, a beach landing was not an option.

Meanwhile, onboard our Head Sommelier Priedrag was offering an exciting and quite intoxicating Martini tasting seminar followed by lunch shortly afterwards. 

At the gangway things weren’t looking particularly good either.  The rolling motion of the ship was making the pontoon go partially underwater and seconds later a few meters out of the water, which for a Zodiac disembarkation poses a certain amount of danger. 

Our Captain, Expedition Leader and Staff Captain were closely monitoring and analyzing the situation and after some serious thought and deliberation – always with safety in mind – decided that conditions were not suitable for a safe disembarkation today. 

Our guests were already having lunch, and in light of the cancelled landing, a lecture program was put together for the afternoon at sea coming up. At 1:30 pm Richard Sidey gave us some wonderful tips and pointers on how to take better pictures in his “Tricks and Tips” lecture. 
At 5 pm I had a chance to present my “Earth, What Lies Below…” lecture. In this talk I introduce our guests to basic terminology and concepts needed to understand the geological features of the places that we are exploring. I talked about the origin of the earth, types of rock, the internal structure of the planet and plate tectonics.

At 6:45 pm the Expedition Team gave a Recap & Briefing. The recap was themed around “El Niño” and followed by a briefing by our Expedition Leader Robin West explaining the plans for tomorrow at “Hormigas de Afuera” Islands and Callao in the night.