Another highlights we headed for was the “Yavari Project”. The Yavari is an old steamship that was built in Great Britain in 1862, then was put into 2.766 boxes and shipped across the ocean to Peru. After a short train journey the boxes were carried across the Andes by mules. In Puno the ship was put together, by that time six years had passed from the producing of the boat to its maiden journey, on Christmas Eve 1870.
The steam boat was originally powered by lama dung and only in 1906 did it receive a semi-diesel engine. In the 1960s it was retired and sat sadly in the port of Puno. Soon after, it was detected by an English lady, who was touched by the history of the boat and started a foundation and rallied for donation to renovate the ship. Twenty years after, the ship is in great shape and can be visited.
We were given a great tour by Mark, an English person, who is traveling with his wife and son around the world. They have known the captain for over twenty years and stayed at his guests on the boat for one week. The day we visited was also the National Navy Day, a public holiday in Peru that is celebrated with parades and celebrations, so we got to enjoy a tiny ceremony on the boat.
This holiday seems to serve to keep the memory of the Cholca War alive, a war that “the Peruvians lost, but Chile did not win”, according to the Captain of the Yavari. The very fact is that Peru lost an area rich in minerals in its very south to Chile, which has not been forgotten by many Peruvians.