Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lake Titicaca, Peru

My last stop on this long trip around South America was at Lake Titicaca - long a goal of mine to visit. This tectonic and erosional basin located on the Altiplano is huge and straddles both Bolivia and Peru. We had great weather for our visit.

We arrived at our hotel in the dark so it was quite a surprise and impressive to look out in the morning and see red sandstone along the lakeshore. And tilted no less!

Tafoni in the sandstone. These are early Tertiary sandstones (as far as I can tell from searching the literature) and belong to the Puno Group, specifically the Saracocha Formation.

Cruising along the lake shore reveals the nature of the sedimentary rocks. Here they have given way to grey limestone.

More grey limestone along Lake Titicaca.

We took a hour and half boat ride to one of the floating islands that the Uros people near Puno live upon.

A Uro man came out in one of the finely crafted reed boats to greet us.

The totora reeds are used for many things - homes, "land," boats, baskets. But I was surprised to learn they are food as well, stripping the outer green to the white inside.

A long knife onboard allows for harvesting of the reeds. The islands are made when large blocks of totora roots are cut during seasonal lowstands of the lake. When the lake waters rise, the cut blocks float and are then "harvested" away to deeper water areas and together with other block. They are then tied together (today with modern straps but previously with reed twine).

Approaching the floating island.

Tying up the boat. The ground was quite squishy underfoot.

No doubt this was a "show" for the tourists but there are numerous islands all around and most of them are the real deal.

Totora reed hut with solar panels (right). They do have electricity make by the sun to listen to the radio.

Colorful tapestry for sale. I'm so glad I have passed the age of "buying."

A woman exiting her hut. I took a lot of photographs as this is ripe material for photography. And we had a perfect day! The lake is at an elevation of 12,400 feet above sea level, making it the highest navigable lake in the world.

The next event on the lake was a visit to Taquile Island pictured here on its north side. This is an unusual island in that the local people have taken control of the amount and kind of tourism that occurs here.

We landed on a dock that was completed in July off this year and the brand new trail that led upwards to one of the farmsteads.

Rural gate on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca.

The trail led to this hilltop location where we had lunch in a hut. View to the southwest toward out hotel, Titilaka.

Men weaving on the island.

The trail down to the dock where we finished out visit.

Looking south on Lake Titicaca toward the Bolivian side. This concludes my blog posting for the trip, "Cuba and South America." Thank you for reading!

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