The Yavari is a British ship with an incredible story. Currently docked on the worlds highest navigatable lake, Lake Titicaca in Peru, how it came to be there is an impressive story. It was delivered in pieces, by mule to the Lake over 2 miles (3,810metres.) above sea level. After 100 years of faithful service the Yavari was found in decay before being careful restored and only needs to comply with today’s standards of safety before being able to sail Lake Titcaca again.
On 15th October 1862, a boat bearing the two ships Yapuri and Yavari from Britain docked at the Peruvian port of Arica. The Peruvian Navy then faced the daunting task of getting 2,766 pieces and two crankshafts transported to Lake Titicaca, 12,500 ft. (3,810ms) above sea level.
The first part if the journey was the 40 miles (64km) from Arica to Tacna 186ft.(550 ms) above sea level. In Tacna the 2,766 pieces weighing a total of 210 tons were unpacked and arranged in order of how they should arrive at Puno on the Lake. Local muleteers and porters, who were to carry the crankshafts, competed for the work.
“1000 Indians” were needed to help carry the boats the final 350 kms across the then driest desert in the world, mountain passes higher than the highest European peaks and the sub-zero windswept wastes of the Altiplano, enough parts to begin building the boat arrived in Puno in the 1st of January 1869, almost 7 years later.
In 1987 the Yavari Project was formed and the boat restored, today the YAVARI is open to the public daily from 8am to 5pm and other times by appointment. We got there on a bicycle rickshaw from the docks at Puno, though we had to get out up the hills! We we’re given a guided tour when we arrived by the caretaker of the boat and its highly recommended.