The Ship, The Lady, and the Lake: Meriel Larken’s Captivating Tale of the Yavari Steamship

The Ship, The Lady, and the Lake follows the extraordinary account of Meriel Larken’s quest to restore the “Yavari” steamship in Peru’s Lake Titicaca.  The story vividly describes her account of finding the decrepit ship rotting away in the Lake, how she discovered the ship’s incredible history, and her project to restore and preserve this piece of history.

In 1861, the Peruvian government ordered the construction of the steamships for Lake Titicaca to transport cargo and passengers between lake ports in Peru and Bolivia.  One year later, the British-built ship arrived at the southern coast of Peru, and the government faced the daunting task of transporting the ship through the Andes to Lake Titicaca, which arrived in thousands of separate pieces.  Piece by piece and with the help of mules, the ship was carried over 12,500 feet to the world’s highest navigable lake where it was reconstructed for use.  Larken’s book recalls this epic journey and puts the remarkable feat into perspective.  Following its reconstruction, the steamship was operated by a British company and provided transport for the region’s exports and moved passengers between lakeside communities for more than a century.  Around 1975, the ship became the property of the Peruvian Navy, and unfortunately, due to a lack of resources, was allowed to fall into disrepair.

By the time Meriel Larken discovered the Yavari in 1985, it had been rotting away for years in a Puno port.  Fortunately for Larken, having been in fresh water and a high altitude, the ship’s iron hull was preserved and deemed worthy of a restoration.  This is where her quest began to restore the ship to its former glory and turn it into a major tourist attraction.  As she describes in her book, years of dedication and hard work paid off, and in 1998 the ship was officially opened as a State museum.

Today, the Yavari, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary last year, is open to the public and interested guests can visit the famous ship parked conveniently outside the Sonesta Posada Hotel in Puno.  Be sure to check out Meriel Larken’s book The Ship, The Lady, and the Lake beforehand though, a tale of unerring determination and achievement.

Related Post

‘Jungle Jimmy’ McSparron, Aracari Specialist Aracari specialist Jimmy McSparron is a wildly versatile, and energetic character with 10 years living, or shall we say adventuring, in Peru. Original...
Día de la Canción Criolla: A Celebration of Music and Dance in Peru Día de la Canción Criolla Before coming to Peru a few months ago, I had always associated October 31st with Halloween, candy, and spooky costumes.  H...
GETTING TO KNOW THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF PERU Peru is home to 51 indigenous communities, all of whom have a unique culture and way of life. Among the 31 million people who live in Peru, about 80% ...
The Best Hotels in Mancora Mancora is Peru’s most popular beach retreat, a sandy haven on the Pacific Coast with a shoreline well-known to serious surfers. Thanks to a growing n...
48 hours in Lima according to National Geographic Traveler National Geographic Traveler echoes our sentiments on our favorite South American capital - Aracari's home base of Lima, Peru. No one knows Lima li...
The Poor Relation; Celebrating 2008, the Year of the Potato Celebrating 2008, the Year of the Potato          Looking from a Western perspective (perhaps over a plate of fries), the United Nations declar...