Taken with a tripod mounted Sony DSLR A 700 DT 18-200 variable lens set to 18 mm. 1/40 second at f4.5 ISO 6400. The sun was still low, after sunrise with gathering storm clouds from the terrace of our state room (a moving ship).
Our early morning traverse of the Penas Gulf was smooth sailing in route for Tarn Bar, entrance to the Messier Channel. We’ll pass Wager Isle where May 14, 1741 the H.M.S. Wager wrecked, stranding the crew. Speaking to the conditions on board, immediately some of the crew broke into the “Spirit Room, got drunk, armed themselves and began looting, dressing up in officers’ clothes and fighting,” many drowning the next day when the Wager flooded and sank.
The remaining 140 officers and crew manned the boat to make for shore in the Patagonian winter. Five years later, midshipman John Byron, grandfather to the poet Lord Byron, made it back to England with the Captain David Cheap. Just west of Wager Isle is the larger Byron Isle, named in his honor.
On this south heading our cabin on the port side faced east. In these early morning hours, I set up on the stateroom balcony, so for better or worse there is no views of either Wager or Byron Isle.
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.”
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.
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.
There it is!! I stepped up contrast, as well.
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.
A different landslide Scar is featured in two previous blogs,
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.
The Landslide Scar is featured in two previous blogs,
The Farquhar Fjord entrance opens onto the entrance of Tempanos Fjord and is the last photograph.
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.
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.
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.
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, the formation featured in my blog A Far Country IV: Tempanos Fjord.
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.
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.
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.
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 line 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. My blog A Far Country IV: Tempanos Fjord features a view of one of those valleys. A great pleasure of sailing Tempanos Fjord is the many vistas opening one to another.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The mountainsides are threaded with waterfalls. Look closely to the left of the gash for a very thin line ending in a spray.
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.
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.
A 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.
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.
At 5:09 PM (daylight savings time for Chile) the Regatta turned to starboard to navigate around a headland of Farquhar Island. Iceberg Glacier came into view from our port side stateroom terrace. I was set up with the Canon 300 mm variable lens set to 120 mm (1/500 second, F11, ISO500), tripod mounted, to capture the ice from 5 miles distance. The location is marked on the above GoogleEarth view. The red line leading in is our course. On the right, the white line is the boundary between Chilean regions Aisen and Magellan.
Visible is the .75 glacier front, 500+ feet above the head of Tempanos Fjord. On the GoogleEarth view the front is marked with a red line. Yes, more than 500 feet above the water. In mid-view there are two rocks in the water. Behind them, under the glacier, is a rock face. That rock is 100+ feet tall.
Twenty seven (27) minutes later I used a handheld Sony with variable lens set to 200 mm (1/500 second, F13, ISO800) to capture this image of the ship bridge superimposed on the glacier.
All you see is part of the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park. Named for a founding father of Chile, the country’s first head of state, the park covers 13,614 square miles.
On our way to Fjord Tempanos and the Iceberg Glacier…..
Background: on a ship, facing the bow (front), starboard is right and port is left).
In the 8 miles from Tarn Bay and Sombrero Island lands press closer, higher, islands increase in number. This is a listing of some of the islands we passed. These names reflect the history of Chile, the waves of immigrants touch the land with memories. After some of the names, below, I provide in parentheses the derivation.
On starboard was the northern Wellington Archipelago (English General): Pinochet (the Chilean dictator), Penguin, Juan Stuven (Spanish and German), Chang (the far east), Millar (German).
On port, the names have a military flavor: Zealous, Scout, Scylla (Sea Monster of Greek mythology), Alert, Orlebar (British Officer Augustus Orlebar).
These port side island names reflect what is on the minds of mariners as navigational options narrow with the channel. Innumerable channels, points, mid-channel islets, all looking very much the same, a potentially confusing jumble. Chilean maritime law demands ships have on board, working from the bridge, a certified Chilean maritime pilot to transverse the country’s dangerous channels and fjords. The combination of stopping distance (multiple nautical miles) and the loss of steering when a ship moves slowly make it essential to know, exactly, the route ahead. It was a Chilean maritime pilot who help keep us safe.
A great personal hazard for pilots is boarding the ship from the pilot boat. From our stateroom terrace we observed fast pilot boats in all seas approach the Regatta miles from port, the pilot on the bow, pull up alongside. Without a harness, the pilot transfers from boat to ship. We observed this several times from our stateroom veranda.
Here are shots of the pilot boat approaching the Regatta off the Peruvian port of Matarani. The boat was mirrored by the colorfully painted houses of Peru.
A cautious approach. In the third shot the boat turns to slowly approach the Regatta.
Don Roberto is on the bow
Don Roberto is on the bow
Don Roberto is on the bow
Alongside, boat crewmembers joint Don Roberto on the bow to assist in the transfer. I am not sure which of the two blue uniformed persons was “our” pilot.
Don Roberto is on the bow preparing to board the Regatta
Two crew members on the bow to assist, Don Roberto is along side the Regatta and about to board.
I did not capture the boarding of the pilot who served the Regatta through the Chilean Fjords. Was is at Puerto Montt? Puerto Chacobuco? I am not sure. I do know a maritime pilot was on board as the channel narrowed to 2 miles, named Scout Channel were we passed Scout Island. I was facing generally east from our port side stateroom veranda while capturing these photographs as the Regatta headed south.
The peak on Scout Island is about 2,100 feet. The smaller peaks in front are about 1,200 and 1,500 feet. All rise straight up from Scout channel.