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Freya of Clyde
Follow Anne and Alan as they sail through the beautiful Caribbean
PART 5 - THE SUN GATE AT MACHU PICCHU
18/Oct/2010, PERU

Our third day in Aguas Calientes was to be a "free day", ie there was nothing planned, so we decided to return to Machu Picchu and climb up to the Sun Gate. So, we caught the touristy bus and returned to the dizzying heights of Machu Picchu. A long steep hike ensued which took us up a long ledge to the summit of Intipunku or The Sun Gate. Most hikers try to get here at sunrise to catch their first breathtaking view of Machu Picchu after their long 4 day hike from Cusco.

One of the problems at this altitude is the lack of oxygen in the air, and we were all quite breathless after our long hike up the slope - altitude 2720 metres or 8924 feet.

The Sun Gate itself is fairly unimpressive, but the view is awesome. Deep in the valley below, lies the Urubamba river, pounding through the valley. Behind the ruins of Machu Picchu the mountain Huayna Picchu rises sharply into the sky. If you're really enthusiastic you can climb Huayna Picchu with the other hikers - you have to be at the bottom really early and you have to leave by 3.00 pm and the caretakers only allow a certain number of people to climb the mountain every day. We decided just to look at the mountain!





PART 4 - MACHU PICCHU
17/Oct/2010, Peru

Many people have been asking us "Why Peru"? I've taken the following paragraph from "Places of Peace and Power" on the internet, which best describes what it's all about. Machu Picchu was certainly the highlight of our trip, absolutely awesome - hopefully the photographs in the gallery go some way in letting you all visualise what we were looking at. The photos really do not do it justice. The area is huge, beautifully preserved and the views from every direction are overwhelming.

The ruins of Machu Picchu, rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, are one of the most beautiful ancient sites in the world. Machu Picchu stands in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. While the Inca people certainly used the Andean mountain top (9060 feet or 2430 metres above sea level), erecting many hundreds of stone structures from the early 1400's, legends and myths indicate that Machu Picchu (meaning 'Old Peak' in the Quechua language) was revered as a sacred place from a far earlier time. Whatever its origins, the Inca turned the site into a small (5 square miles) but extraordinary city. Invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu seems to have been utilized by the Inca as a secret ceremonial city. Two thousand feet above the rumbling Urubamba river, the cloud shrouded ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and some 150 houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation. These structures, carved from the gray granite of the mountain top are wonders of both architectural and aesthetic genius. Many of the building blocks weigh 50 tons or more yet are so precisely sculpted and fitted together with such exactitude that the mortarless joints will not permit the insertion of even a thin knife blade. The Spaniards never found Machu Picchu, even though they suspected its existence. The mountain top sanctuary fell into disuse and was abandoned some forty years after the Spanish took Cuzco in 1533. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height.

There are more photos in the gallery.

PART 3 OF PERU
16/Oct/2010, Aguas Calientes

An interesting train ride from Cusco brought us to Aguas Calientes. Every backpacker in the World knows that to be able to get to Machu Picchu you have to leave from Aguas Calientes. This little town is based simply to process tourists up and down the mountain to Machu Picchu. It's not pretty, in fact, it's just a mess, but it does have its attractions - like the train going through the middle of the town. Most of the hotels are built on the small piece of land between the train line and the river, so when you're staying in the hotel you're either on first name terms with the train driver or you're kept awake all night with the noise from the river. However, we were lucky - I think - we had a room which was situated in the middle of the hotel and it had a side view. Watch the videos: and
(the name of the band, I am reliably informed, is "Kuntur Taky".)

PART 2 OF PERU
15/Oct/2010, CUSCO

Well, I was promising more ...

I've upoaded Cusco onto the gallery - remember you can click on a photo for a better image.

PERU TO TRINIDAD
15/Oct/2010, Powerboats

We've arrived back in Trinidad and are safely tucked up on "Freya". What a wonderful time we all had in Peru. The photographs will be uploaded slowly, as I've taken too many to count and it will take ages to sort through them all. I'll put some on the main blog, and others will be on the gallery. I hope you take time to look at them. Some are quite awesome.

We flew from Port of Spain to Miami and then to the desert that is Lima (and very cold). After spending the night in Lima we flew from Lima to the deepest jungle to see the parrot lick. Then we flew to Cusco, caught the train and amazed ourselves at Machu Picchu, bused down the Sacred Valley and back to Cusco. We had a hilarious day river rafting down the Chuquicahuana River, but didn't sink and thankfully didn't completely freeze!! We caught a tourist bus to Lake Titicaca which is the highest lake in the World and then onto Arequipa where Anne got food poisoning and couldn't travel to the Colca Canyon to see the condors. From Arequipa we flew back to Lima, where we travelled to Nazca. At Nazca we caught a wee plane to fly over the Nazca Lines. After returning to Lima we travelled in yet another bus to Huaraz and spent four amazing days in the high Andes.

As if that wasn't enough, we then flew back to Miami from Lima where we caught a connection to Baltimore and spent 4 nights in the Baltimore area so we could have 2 days at the Annapolis Sail Boat Show.

So, after five and a half weeks, you can imagine how tired we are and happy to be back on our wee boat.

Peru? Highly recommended for an awesome experience!

More to follow .....

By the way, the photo is a very friendly sloth and baby that just happened to make an appearance at the hotel in Puerto Maldonado on the Madre de Dios river.

BACKPACKING IN PERU
14/Sep/2010, Ollantaytambo

Just a quick update - we're in Peru on "holiday". Major amounts of photos when we return to Trinidad. Peru is absolutely amazing. Loving every minute of our experience.

INDEPENDANCE DAY
31/Aug/2010, TRINIDAD

Once again, off to Starlift Pan Yard with Jessie to celebrate Trini's Independance Day. We arrived a bit early, and everything started a bit late! However, the Starlift Guys and Girls were great as usual.

Jessie decided to eat the Trini delicacy on the bus on the way home - CHICKEN FEET - YEEEEEEUCH!! How can he eat that stuff????

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL EVENTS
15/Aug/2010, CHAGUARAMAS

Mike on "El Lobo" announced on the "Trinidad for Cruising Sailors" page on Facebook this morning the inagural Chaguaramus Hurricane and Windy Weather International and National Games otherwise known as CHAWWING. Events will include mixed mud wrestling, wet T shirt contests for the girls and the guys will compete in undershorts and strawberry mousse. There will a No Wake competition which will involve a coffin, and on the water the pirogues (local boats) will compete in a high jump contest (those in Chaguaramas Bay will have seen them in training)! There's a mast climbing event with a simple race to the top. Neils (Budget Rigging) will erect a series of identical masts for the event. In the interests of safety we will limit climbers to 4 per mast per race. Other events include dinghy jousting and crab racing. We hear that the best racing crabs are in Tobago so problems may be encountered from Immigration. The committee hope to make this an annual event and suggestions for other events will be considered.

My suggestions are that events could include tossing the spinnaker pole; exchanging wet suit race; single oar rowing race; the old faithful "spinnaker boarding" and the piece de resistance - the floating domino competition...

LEATHERBACK HATCHLING TURTLES
27/Jul/2010, Matura, Trinidad

Back to see the turtles - this time baby ones!! Absolutely amazing!! We even rescued a baby from the bottom of a nest - it was so exhausted after all its brothers and sisters had climbed out over it that it had no energy left to climb out itself. Thankfully, Jessie rescued the wee soul - and Pat from "El Lobo" promptly named the baby "Jessie". We finally let wee "Jessie" have his freedom after about half an hour when he appeared to be feeling stronger.

Let's hope that "Jessie" makes the transition to adulthood, but we'll never know.

Have a look at the rest of the photographs in the Gallery - click on the link to the right.

... and a mini video ...


HAULING OUT AGAIN
19/Jul/2010, TRINIDAD

Well, we're back in sunny Trini - and it's hot, hot, hot! We hauled today and are sitting in the very position we were in when we first arrived here all these years ago. We were at "Sails" Restaurant (again!!) on Saturday night where we all enjoyed Steak Tenderloin. It was a great night and "Sails" lived up to their reputation for great food as usual.

You may ask, and some of you have ... why on earth are hauled out again. Well, there's lots of reasons, but the main reason is the boat is going to be in Trinidad for about 6 months. If "Freya" stayed in the water here for the whole 6 months, we'd end up with (amongst other things) a snowball for a prop and she would be attached to the seabed with a long line of barnacles.

CARRIACOU
30/Jun/2010, GRENADA

Oh, this life is so hard - having to walk and swim in the sea to make sure you keep cool, taking a walk over the hill to see the view on the other side of the island. We're sitting in the boat at the moment - absolutely sweltering, but no complaints from the Freyans!! Carriacou is just as lovely as always!!

In case you're wondering that's a Yellow Crowned Night Heron in the photo below!





BEQUIA
17/Jun/2010, Grenadines

Hi everybody. It's been a while since I updated this blog. We're heading down the island chain back to Trinidad, and not much else has been happening. We're in Bequia just now, and will probably leave for Union Island in the next day or so, before moving on to Carriacou.

Hope to meet up with some of you in Carriacou or Grenada ??

US VIRGIN ISLANDS
06/Apr/2010, National Park

We were in Rendezvous Bay and Reef Bay last week. Gorgeous!! If I hadn't decided not to swim with the "waterproof" camera until next year, I'd have had a wonderful photo of a Spotted Ray following us all over the place. I couldn't decide if it wanted to follow me, eat me or marry me!! In the end, he didn't do anything at all - maybe just curious ...

We also visited the Sugar Mill in Reef Bay, followed by the petroglyphs. We were last there about ten years ago, and the photo of Anne standing beside the "waterfall" - there is no apparent water this year - is similar to one taken ten years ago.

While on the path to and from the petroglyphs we spotted some interesting wild life - photos in the library - follow the link to the right ....

Note: YES .. bats do it upside down .... Both Alan and I were in absolute kinks watching this pair going at it hammer and thongs!

YACHTIES IN PARADISE
24/Feb/2010, CHARLOTTE AMALIE, USVI

Frequently being asked what we do with our days, I thought I'd let you into one of more interesting days here in Paradise ...

It was a dullish morning in the harbour at Charlotte Amalie. The wind is from the southeast, and according to the weather forecast, is going to go round to the south and southwest. This is not a good start to the day as the harbour faces south!

Meantime, on the good ship "Freya of Clyde" Alan and Anne have had their "power breakfast" deciding on how to make best use of the day. The first thing that needs attention is the laundry. It's beginning to build up. The bed is stripped and all the other smelly things gathered together and put in a couple of huge laundry bags for taking to the launderette. Other items discussed were; purchasing of groceries and returning the drowned camera.

We pack all the smelly laundry bags into "Fred" (the dinghy), Anne and Alan climb in and away we go to the shore. Halfway there, Anne says, "Where's the camera?" "You have it", says Alan. Uh uh. Back to the boat. Climb up, unlock and pick up camera that is sitting in a prime obvious place on the table. Anne climbed back into the dinghy and we're off again. We walked for about fifteen minutes, towards the laundry. Walking towards us is 2 very huge gentlemen in blue uniform with badges and interesting gadgets protruding round their waists. "Where you goin?" Well, obviously, two white folks carrying large laundry bags is very suspicious. "To the laundry" was our unanimous reply. They ignored us after that - obviously smelly laundry isn't good for the olfactory glands first thing in the morning.

After dropping off the smellies, we have a 15 minute walk to K-Mart buying groceries and buying Anne products that are supposed to keep her skin supple!! Another 15 minutes and we're in the local supermarket. Alan's found a new beer that he likes, so we buy lots. All this is put in our trolley that looks like a baby buggy, without the baby. In fact, lots of people think there's a baby in it, and look at us very strangely when we cover it up. Alan has been looking for an arm from a dolly to stick to the side of it. He thinks people will stop the traffic to let him cross the road if they think there's a baby inside.

Okay, so where's the camera? We need to return it. Search, search, search. Where is it? All the groceries are systematically dumped out on the pavement while we search for the camera. There it is, doing an impression of a grocery bag. Repack all the groceries.

Onwards and upwards. We wander into the camera shop. Now this shop is in the middle of the cruiseshop dock, where all the "snowflakes" and other double coloured people come (double coloured is where you're red and burned on one side and white on the other!) We've been using this shop for several years now and we're on first named terms with some of the staff, and those we don't know the names of, we're getting there.

Anyway, we speak to the guy on the camera counter. We don't know his name yet, but he's a very, very nice man and he listened carefully to our very sad story, he looked at the camera with it's drowned sandy insides and ... he agreed to change the camera for me ... WOW!!! I just wanted to jump up on the counter and give him a cuddle. We settled for a handshake - I just can't jump that high any more. I came out that shop grinning stupidly.

Back to the boat for a very late lunch. It's been raining. The dinghy dock is clanking and banging. It takes a good 20 minutes to empty the dinghy of water. We get back to the boat which is beginning to feel like the "Big Dipper" in a funfair. Doing anything in these conditions is not easy, and we consider moving "Freya", but we can't yet because we have to go back for the laundry. We return to the laundry and 3.00 pm and yes, it's finished.

Back to the "Big Dipper" (Freya). We haul ourselves on board and very, very quickly get underway. We're getting "outa here". We charged out of the harbour in good style, spray flying over the boat. Did anyone remember to close the forehatch? No. Alan goes down inside the boat and all I hear is a wail - "everything is soaked". All the stuff on the bed, in the bed and anywhere near the bed is soaking wet. The floor is swimming. The carpet is floating. Well, I guess it's back to the laundry again today folks ...

Yes, it's such a relaxing life in Paradise ...

UNDERWATER PARADISE
21/Feb/2010, US VIRGIN ISLANDS

Before my new underwater camera drowned, I managed to take some photographs of life on a coral reef!









We're in the US Virgins, and still loving it. We had dinner with "Shian" at an Eco Lodge last week. Great fun, if a little strange eating with hundreds of other people (and their kids) in a canteen environment.

We also met up with Sue and Randy from "Nancy Dawson" in Charlotte Amalie - we hadn't seen them for 4 years - Vero Beach in Florida in fact - and it was great to see them again.

The weather has been very odd recently, with light winds and so we've had very little sailing.

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