These photographs are most notable for the first sighting of the entrance to Fjord Tempanos and our day’s destination the Iceberg Glacier. At Middle Island Messier Channel is over 5 miles wide though studded with islets and navigational hazards. Here is a Google Earth map of the area with notable locations pinned with names. The red line is a ruler path from Sombrero Island.
In the previous blog, Orientation, Iceberg Glacier, February 17, 2016, you learned about the route the Oceania Regatta followed that day. We left off with photographs of Scout and Orlebar islands, the time was 12:43 pm Chilean Summer Time (daylight savings). The next photograph was time stamped 2:24 pm and, frankly, I had lost track of where we were, so it was necessary to determine the ship’s position.
Here is how to do it. From two known points, Sombrero Island at the northern end of Messier Channel and the Iceberg Glacier, our day’s destination, first a velocity from the total distance, in miles, (Google Earth) divided by the time duration (subtract time stamp of the starting from the final digital photograph and convert to minutes). This gives an average ship velocity in miles Using excel list the photographs with time stamps. For each photograph calculate the time from the starting photo, in minutes, and multiply this by the average velocity.
In this way, I determined the first photographs of this blog were Middle Island and obtained confirmation using Google Earth to view the location from ground level. The process is iterative in that the views showed the first calculated position to be behind the position matching the view.
This, I hypothesized, was because the ship velocity decreased on entering Tempanos Fjord. Noting a time gap between the last photograph of this blog and the next, taken within Tempanos Fjord. So, using Google Earth to establish the last photograph position, I recalculated velocity using that last position as the last time. Then, I recalculated the distances of the photographs and the calculated positions came into better agreement with the viewed positions. After Middle Island the ship slowed significantly in order to enter the fjord.
I still have opened questions because the calculated speed from Sombrero Island to Middle Island is 6 knots higher than the documented top speed of the Regatta.
52.02 miles from Sombrero Island. View NorthEast toward Middle Island, Farquhar Island behind.
The lighthouse of Middle Island is not in view. The channel between the islands is Brazo del Este.
View NorthEast toward the peaks of Farquhar Island Over the shoulder of Middle Island is Riches Bay of the farther island.
View NorthEast toward the peaks of Farquhar Island. Across from us, on Farquhar Island, the George River flow into Connor Cove which opens onto the channel named Brazo del Este. The channel separates the islands.
View east the steep cliffs of Farquhar Island rising abruptly from Messier Channel, to 3,200 feet in 2.7 miles.
Peaks of Farquhar Island. View east from Messier Channel using long lens. The island is named for Percival Farquhar, American entrepreneur active in South America, mostly Brazil and railroads, 1905 – 1930.
View north from mid-Messier Channel. Nearest on the right is Middle Island with lighthouse Farquhar Island behind with Palmer and Hens points. In the distance is Van Der Meulen island.
Farquhar Channel. View Northeast with Boxer Island, left foreground,Farquhar Island behind.
Tempanos Fjord. View Southeast with Estacion Point and Headland to left. Behind the headland is the entrance to Farquhar Fjord, not visible. Tempanos Fjord is framed by land on both sides.
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.
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.
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.