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.
The Gulf of Penas is a sunken bowl of the western side of the southern Andes. Instead of canyons and valleys, fjords surrounded by craggy peaks are the rule. Sailing ships, driven by storms of the western Pacific, found ways through the fjords all the way to the straits of Magellan. This was our route as we entered the Messier Channel, a route discovered in the earliest years of colonial exploration.
Looking back the way we came…..
At the mouth of the channel, Zealous and Sombrero are neighboring, and isolated hills. Surrounded by water, they are also islands. Zealous is just under 2,000 feet. Sombrero, at 200 feet, is prominent only for its position and shape.
Here we are crowded by headlands, points, islands all rising steeply from the water.
Here I have views of these islands with craggy peninsulas in the distance. The view is to the northeast and east.
In English the Gulf of Penas means “Gulf of Distress.” Open to the storms of the western pacific ocean, ships seeking refuge sail this body of water to reach the shelter of the bays around the entrance of the Messier Channel.
Stargazing Chileans named the channel after Charles Messier (1730 – 1870), author of a catalog of 110 visually diffuse celestial objects such as the Great Cluster of Hercules, the Crab Nebula of Taurus, the Ring Nebula of Lyra. As Messier catalog objects these are listed on star charts as M13,M1,M57.
The Larenas and Fresia peninsulas of Aisen Province, Chile, on the southeastern shores of the gulf are seen here as we approach the Messier Channel. The shore is dotted with islets and islands. The Chilean pilot who came aboard at Puerto Chacobuco is earning his salary, keeping us safe. To reach the channel we pass through Tarn Bay, generally north to south. The southern margin of the bay is marked by Sombrero Island, the subject of my next blog.
Taken with a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark3, the EF 70-300 f 4-5.6L IS USM lens, tripod mounted on a Manfrotto carbon fiber travel tripod. UV filter 1/160 second at f 6.3 ISO 250.
There is a steady wind of about 12 mph driving a few white caps. A line of surf is seen breaking against the cliffs. Shot midmorning from our stateroom terrace as the Regatta cruises south, February 17, 2016. We are headed to an encounter with the Iceberg Glacier of the Southern Ice Fields of Patagonia.
Photography conditions were poor: shooting into the sun from an unstable platform gives poor contrast for the mountain crags. The stabilization of the Canon lens was helpful and I balanced the need for a short exposure with the lowest ISO possible. No time to experiment.