Valparaiso Departure II

View of Aconcagua Mountain at Sunset

After the Ocean Princess sailed off toward its destiny in my last posting, “Valparaiso Departure I,” Pam and I left the deck for dinner to return two hours later for the Regatta’s departure in the magic sunset hour.

This first photograph is 22 minutes before sunset as the ship swung into a course along the northern shore of Valparaiso Bay.  The city grew along the bay shore, starting from the city center in the southern cup and into the north.  We are looking southeast across a lighthouse named “Club de Yates”, identified from the red fiberglass tower, a triangular daymark, toward the north end of Valparaiso.

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Here we see a different city altogether, the fourth largest of Chile and also within the Valparaiso Region and the Greater Valparaiso Area, named Vina Del Mar (Vineyard of the Sea).  The view is almost due east and, from here, it is difficult to discern why it is also called “La Ciudad Jardin” (Garden City), it is do densely populated.  North Valparaiso ends with a ridge with Vina Del Mar the next valley.  Look carefully along the shore to find the Punta Gruesa lighthouse with a red band on a white metal tower daymark.  By way of scale the tower is 56 feet high.  Follow Punta Gruesa to the right for the ridge separating Vina Del Mar (the taller apartment buildings, from Valparaiso.

The distant mountain is huge, visible from 95 miles away.  More about it later.  

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The previous photographs were using a tripod mounted Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with the Canon 70 – 300 mm f4-5.6 L IS USM lens set to 108 mm focal length, taken 15 seconds apart.  I then swapped  the EF 24 mm f 1.4 L USM lens for the following photograph of the pilot boat heading to a rendezvous with the Regatta, having dropped off “our” harbor pilot.  It will wait beyond the harbor to bring the pilot back home.  The photograph is 7 minutes after the previous.  Punta Gruesa and the lighthouse and the Vina Del Mar apartment towers are just visible, having lost the sun.

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On the northern tip of Valparaiso Bay Punta Concon, the City of Concon and tall sand dunes also called Concon reflect the sun’s light 10 minutes before sunset.  The city is the fastest growing in Chile, 106% between 1992 and 2010 (28,157 to 50,000).  The Regatta is now well underway and I returned to the “long” lens here set to the 3oo mm focal length maximum.

On the other side of Punta Concon (Concon Point) the Aconcagua River flows into the Pacific.  Although the river has the same name as Aconcagua Mountain, the head waters are in Chile, 12 miles from the slopes of the mountain in Argentina.

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A swivel of the camera brings Aconcagua Mountain into view.  This former volcano, dead now for 8 – 10 million years is the highest mountain in North and South America.  The next highest peak is in the Hindu Kush, 10,000 miles to the northeast.  That said, Aconcagua is less challenging than Denali of Alaska and so many people attempt it each year human excrement is a major pollutant there.  We are looking here over the Vina Del Mar Valley 95 miles to Aconcagua Mountain in Argentina.

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Valparaiso Departure I

Thoughts on Departures

Late afternoon of our departure from the Chilean port city Valparaiso,  Pam and I enjoyed entertainments on the Regatta.  This painting of a ship under sail brings to mind the history of Valparaiso, as a place only reachable by ship, clinging to a narrow ledge on the Andes, barely existing for centuries, repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes until the 19th century brought sailing vessels such as this, growth and prosperity.  Major earthquakes hit the years 1730, 1822, 1839, 1873, 1906, 1907.  After 1907, the city was rebuilt anew in the modern form.  The inhabitants must enjoy spot, naming it “Vale of Paradise.”

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While, in the 21st century the city enjoys a refreshment of an influx of artists and visitors such as the Regatta, the danger of the next massive quake is ever present and unpredictable.

As we enjoyed the artwork….

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….a pianist entertained us.

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As usual, I was carting photography equipment to capture the moments as the afternoon moved towards…

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….the scheduled departure among still life painting in the style of the Dutch masters.

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That day I chose the upper decks as the best vantage point.  From there, Pam and I viewed the departure of a similar ship to the Regatta, the “Ocean Princess.”  It must have been the last voyage of the Princess under that name as, the same year, it was acquired by the Oceania line, refurbished, relaunched as the “Sirena”.

The Chilean navy base and Naval Academy is there.  The Ocean Princess navigated around this docked destroyer…..

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…with the assistance of the tugboat Alcatraz, a name derived from the Spanish word for pelican as in “La Isla de los Alcatraces” (Island of the Pelicans) where the former Alcatraz prison was built in San Francisco Harbor.  Spanish speakers think of birds when viewing the tub boat.  Americans think of prisoners (escaping) and San Francisco.  Unlike San Francisco Harbor, Valparaiso Bay is a semi-circle open to the ocean, the harbor is on the southern, north facing (away from the ocean) shore, protected by a long (3,000 foot) breakwater along which the Chilean war ships dock.  We are viewing the Alcatraz after most of the work for the Ocean Princess departure was done.

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The north end of the bay is residential, behind the towers are homes arrayed on the hillside, the only land available.

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Much of the harbor and city business district, in the foreground (below), on the south side is on land reclaimed from the sea.

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All around the Regatta was a working port.  Here rolls of cable (wire?) are prepared for hoisting onto a cargo ship.  Note the hawsers, taught under the strain, between the workmen and the ship hull.

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Passengers board the Regatta from the last tours.  I expect this is the trip to Santiago.  Most of the dockings the Regatta was surrounded by the port, the only way to access the city was on a tour bus as the port activity made walking too dangerous.

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I can only guess the role the Alcatraz is playing here…..

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…. probably it is positioned to give the Ocean Princess a nudge if the harbor pilot misjudges the turn around the breakwater and warships.  In a harbor, a ship’s crew passes control to a harbor pilot who knows the navigation challenges much better than is possible for them.

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Today, as 99.9% of all days, the pilot makes the turn safely.  Here is a better view of the warship.

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Looking back toward the harbor, the crane is hoisting those rolls, the tug boat “Lauca” framed by the superstructure of (I think) the crane.

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The Ocean Princess is will under way, as shown by the long wake.  As luck will have it, When the Regatta follows the sun will be much lower, the light better for photography.  At the stern of the warship, the masted vessel is a training ship for the Chilean Naval Academy.

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved 

A Far Country XI: Gondwana Part 1

amazing resolution with the Canon 24 mm lens

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The resolution of the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM makes this lens a favorite of mine for landscape work.  Let me show you why.

The valley today’s posting lies behind the tree.  It is a broad valley shaped by ancient glaciers.

Here is the Google Earth view, from an elevation of 9,400 feet, with the ship position marked.  Northwest is a pushpin titled, “Hanging Valley and Waterfall.”

A Far Country X– CLICK ME!!!!

The waterfall marking the hanging valley is visible in the following photograph.   All photographs in this posting are from a Canon EOS-1Ds MarkIII, 24 mm lens (see above for complete name), on a Manfrotto travel tripod.  ISO 500, f5.6 or f6.3.

With a point of view about 50 feet above the water the valley bottom is hidden behind an 800 foot hill and the water fall is just above the hill.  See it?  …..I didn’t think so.

There is the island with the tree, to the left.  The following image is the same photograph, with the central section enlarged.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The enlargement brings out the play of light, the low clouds, deep in the valley.  To provide scale, know those are full sized pines on the hillside, foreground.  The waterfall is just about visible.  I will enlarge the image one more time.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

There it is!!  I stepped up contrast, as well.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is another version of the original view.  That patch of sky had opened up seconds after the first shot and, as a result, the 3,000 door mountain and waterfalls, on right, are better lit.  Notice the bare rock face on the mountain slope, marking a landslide.

Click this image for a high resolution version, in your browser.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

A different landslide Scar is featured in two previous blogs,

A Far Country V: Landslides!!

A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord

The Regatta’s course brought us closer for the two following shots.

The lovely sky is still visible…..

Mountain and Waterfalls

….one minute later the clouds gather and relative darkness returns.

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country X: Hanging Valley

amazing resolution with the Canon 24 mm lens

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)

The resolution of the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM makes this lens a favorite of mine for landscape work.  Let me show you why.

The valley today’s posting lies behind the tree.  It is a broad valley shaped by ancient glaciers.

Here is the Google Earth view, from an elevation of 9,400 feet, with the ship position marked.  Northwest is a pushpin titled, “Hanging Valley and Waterfall.”

A Far Country X– CLICK ME!!!!

The waterfall marking the hanging valley is visible in the following photograph.   All photographs in this posting are from a Canon EOS-1Ds MarkIII, 24 mm lens (see above for complete name), on a Manfrotto travel tripod.  ISO 500, f5.6 or f6.3.

With a point of view about 50 feet above the water the valley bottom is hidden behind an 800 foot hill and the water fall is just above the hill.  See it?  …..I didn’t think so.

There is the island with the tree, to the left.  The following image is the same photograph, with the central section enlarged.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The enlargement brings out the play of light, the low clouds, deep in the valley.  To provide scale, know those are full sized pines on the hillside, foreground.  The waterfall is just about visible.  I will enlarge the image one more time.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

There it is!!  I stepped up contrast, as well.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is another version of the original view.  That patch of sky had opened up seconds after the first shot and, as a result, the 3,000 door mountain and waterfalls, on right, are better lit.  Notice the bare rock face on the mountain slope, marking a landslide.

Click this image for a high resolution version, in your browser.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The Regatta’s course brought us closer for the two following shots.

The lovely sky is still visible…..

Mountain and Waterfalls

….one minute later the clouds gather and relative darkness returns.

Fjord and Valley

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country IX: Bonsai Shape

Compelling Plant Shapes

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Here is a Google Earth view of Tempanos Fjord from 9,400 feet, looking north, northwest over a point on the fjord 6.5 miles from Iceberg Glacier, at 4 pm local time on February 17, 2016.  This view is interesting for the insignificant island, .75 mile long, and broad mountain valley to the north fringed with waterfalls.

Marked is the location of a tree, “bonsai”, a feature of the fjord cliffs, “Landslide Scar” and a neighboring Fjord, “Farquhar Fjord.”

This blog features the tree.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The Farquhar Fjord entrance opens onto the entrance of Tempanos Fjord and is the last photograph.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

A photograph from our port side stateroom deck includes both the island and broad valley.  The misshapen tree, the “bonsai”, is on an islet to the right and in front of the island.  It is the small stump backlit by water reflection.  The stump is more interesting than can be seen in this image from a handheld camera, at 24 mm.  I used the variable lens for a closer look.

24 mm bonsai view– CLICK ME!!!!

From this 133 mm, f8.0, 1/250 sec and ISO 800, still handheld, interesting details come into view.  The islet is a rock on which clings a bed of moss.  Several ferns, a sapling (on the far side) and a stump, on the right, are surviving.  The stump presumably supported a small tree of which a “bonsai-like” twig remains.

Bonsai are fascinating, created through the art and skill of emulating pleasing natural forms.  Here the moss encrusted twists and miniature tree crown were formed from a difficult environment.  Bonsai of Japan originated from an ancient Chinese tradition of penjing (“tray plant”).  The inspiration for this are, at origin and now, must be, in part, from admiration of the tenacity and beauty of these plants.

133 mm bonsai view– CLICK ME!!!!

At the 200 mm maximum my Sony Alpha 770 (1/400, f9, ISO 800) image is a little fuzzy, still with great details.

From my interest in bonsai I am on the lookout for shapes such as this. Travelling the challenging environment of the Chilean Fjords I found examples here and there.

200 mm bonsai view – CLICK ME!!!!

 

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country VII: View of Tempanos Fjord

A mountain and waterfall ringed bowl.

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4:00 pm local time the Oceania was approximately 5 miles from the Iceberg Glacier, moving forward at a slow rate of speed, 4.6 knots.  Here are more views of the mountain-ringed bowl behind a 1,000 foot cliff.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

Both photographs are handheld using my Sony Alpha700, ISO 800, variable lens set to 45mm, 1/250 f13.  At the same time I shot from a tripod mounted Cannon, 24 mm wide angle fixed focus lens.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The following capture from Google Earth is the view from 12,200 feet.  Regatta’s position is the “5 miles from Iceberg Glacier” pushpin.  The formation is almost due north.  We were surprised to see a ranger station in this uninhabited area, not yet in view.  The white line, lower right, is the border between the Aisen (north) and Magellanic (south) Chilean regions.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord

Fjord View

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By 3:20 pm local time the Oceania was approximately 1.75 miles from the Iceberg Glacier and the captain positioned the ship for a starboard side glacier view.  From our port side stateroom terrace Pam and I had this sweeping view of the way we had come.

Tempanos Fjord is a mile across here and we have a clear view of the landslide scar feature in my last blog.  It is 7.75 miles distant, a small white patch on the fjord wall.  The landscape scar marks where the fjord bends, changing north, northeast course to an east, southeast direction.  Before the bend, the Iceberg glacier is not visible.  Turn the bend and the glacier is plainly visible in the distance if the viewer is looking over the ship bow.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The following capture from Google Earth is the view from 14,000 feet.  Marked are the locations of the landslide scar and the ship position were I first photographed the scar on our way into Tempanos Fjord.  The red lined ship’s course may be followed out of the fjord back to the Messier Channel.  The fjord follows a course among mountain peaks and deep valleys.   A great pleasure of sailing Tempanos Fjord is the many vistas opening one to another.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country V: Landslides!!!

All is Larger than it First Appears

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By 2:45 pm local time the Oceania was almost 4 miles into Tempanos Fjord, 10.5 miles from the Iceberg Glacier, when this telling gash on a mountain buttress forming the side of one of many glacial valleys.

First View of the Landslide scar– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is the Google Earth overview of our course that day through Tempanos Fjord, as the red line. Visible is the Farquhar Fjord, to the north. Marked is the position of the scar and the approximate position where I took the first view. Where the fjord bends to the southeast the glacier is not yet visible.

Overview of Mouth of Tempanos Fjord– CLICK ME!!!!

The scar, for all the rawness of the stone, is not recent. There was time for a forest to cover the destruction. The Oceania steamed past, making steady progress. The gash appeared ahead, unremarked. I wonder what the effect was after the cracks, slowly widened over decades by the ice, forced friction to give way to gravity, the mountainside sliding, perhaps, into the fjord. Hard to tell. There is no remnants of the slide visible.

Approaching the Scar -- CLICK ME!!!!

All is larger than it first appears.  Those are full size pines below the scar.  It is the steepness of the cliff face that holds off the vegetation, the whiteness of the rock the source of the apparent freshness of the gash.

Long Lens on the Scar -- CLICK ME!!!!

The mountainsides are threaded with waterfalls. Look closely to the left of the gash for a very thin line ending in a spray.

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TCopyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country IV: Tempanos Fjord

The environment around Iceberg Glacier….

This is a view of the fjord countryside from the Oceania Regatta position about 4.75 miles from Iceberg Glacier . As the Regatta proceeded at the slow rate of 4.6 knots, I captured this high valley and waterfall from the position marked with the central pushpin in the following GoogleEarth image from 14,000 feet altitude.

CLICK ME!!!!

The following photograph is the view North.  The far waterfalls are fed by two mountain top lakes, waters that feed into Tempanos Fjord.  We are in the Chilean Aisen (also spelled Aysen) Region (XI) looking into a valley between Tempanos, Farquhar and Bernardo fjords.  This island and valley has NO name, as far as I can tell.  The region is uninhabited, part of the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park.

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This was taken with a handheld Sony DSLR-A700, the variable lens at 200mm, 1/800 sec at f/13.

The Scale of Iceberg Glacier

Why is the glacier face blue?

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Glacier ScaleA glacier is more than ice; not alive, it crawls; not feeling, it groans, cackles, shouts; passive, it is dangerous to approach closely backed as it is by the southern ice field, over a mile high. The ship nudged as close as a half mile from the massed ice, navigating using the bow thrusters to face first port, then starboard and back to port. I was lucky enough to be on the 11th deck, pictured above, when we caught sigh of the fast ship’s launch, manned by ship’s crew.

Iceberg Glacier Scale
Three person ship launch and glacier base at head of Tempanos Fjord

The crew prepared for a run to the rock face, almost 100 feet high, beneath 500 feet of glacier. Enjoy the views! Click any photograph to visit my online gallery. Purchase a photograph from this newly published series or any of my other popular works.

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