Valparaiso Connections VIII

Captain Arturo Prat and Chilean Naval Tradition

Advertisements

Captain Arturo Prat and the Esmeralda

After reading my last post “Valparaiso Connections VII” why Captain Pratt was so honored by the nation?  

From the starboard side of the Regatta while docking at Valparaiso. On the right is the port with shipping containers, beyond are the Chilean Navy frigates 
Almirante Blanco Encalada and
Almirante Latorre at anchor.

On that morning, May 21, 1879 the two Chilean ships blockading Iquique port were surprised by two Peruvian warships from the port of Callao, the monitor Huáscar and armored frigate Independencia.

View west from La Sebastiana, former residence of Neruda, on Florida Hill.  We look over the city, docks and Chilean Naval Vessels to the Pacific Ocean.


Arturo Prat commanded the Chilean corvette Esmeralda. 
 Carlos Condell de la Haza  was Covadonga’s commander.

CS Almirante Blanco Encalada (FF-15), a modern frigate of the Chilean Navy at anchor.  With the Durante Point lighthouse, several fast fishing boats returning with their catch. 

The Chileans are outgunned by the Peruvians in armored ships.  Condell fled in the Convadonga, pursued by the Independencia.  This was the wiser course and most militarily effective because, following the Convadonga into shallow waters the deeper draft Independencia lost advantage when it ran aground and was lost. 

We did not have time to explore the National Maritime Museum.

Prat stood ground in the middle of the bay, any canon shots simply bounced off the heavily armored Huascar.  The Esmeralda suffered shot after shot until the command of the Huascar, Captain Graf, decided to ram the Esmeralda to force a surrender and safe useless death.

Naval Cadet with friend viewing the ships at anchor.

At the first ram to the stern, as the ships were in contact, Prat ordered an attack, “Let’s board, boys.”  In the confusion only two seamen joined   Prat.  One failed to board, Prat and Petty Officer Juan de Dios Aldea attacked.  Dios Aldea was mortally wounded.  Prat continued to advance alone, to the amazement of the Peruvians, awed at his courage.  Prat was gunned down on the deck of the Huascar. 

He crew watched in horror.  When the Esmeralda was rammed again, this time in the bow, Sublieutenant Ignacio Serrano lead  of 10 Chileans to board for an attack with machetes and rifles.  They were massacred by the mounted Gatling gun, only Serrano survived.  

The example of Prat and his crew is taught today.  Arturo Pratt is the most common street name, as well as plazas, buildings.  Four major warships were named after him.  The current active ship is the frigate FFG 11, the Capitan Prat.  The Chilean naval academy is named 
Escuela Naval Arturo Prat.  His portrait is on the 10,000 peso Chilean note.

Lighthouse on Punta Duprat

Click this link for the first post in this Valparaiso Connections series.

Valparaiso Connections II

the Chilean difference

Ricaro’s name tag reads, “Oceania Cruises, your world, your way.”  I began my two previous blogs with Ricardo, “Valparaiso Separation” and “Valparaiso Connections I.” There’s a lot to be said for the Oceania tours.  Every one lead by a knowledgeable native of the host country, fluent in English, we became familiar, some more than others, with them personally, one non-representative example.  As were progressed down the coast from Iquique to Cape Horn we met a cross section of Chileans.  Unlike other countries, in Chile we met only unsmiling guards on the streets, no protest rallies.


As the tour bus is about to turn down Varparaiso’s Argentina Avenue, here is a flash forward to an elaborate demonstration tableau in the Plaza de Mayo, the Casa Rosada as a backdrop, rose as in the color of bull’s blood used as pigment.  The protest was in support for veterans and causalities of the ill considered 1982 Falklands War.  We zoomed by the Parque De La Memoria, dedicated to the 30,000 people “disappeared” by the same military dictatorship of the Falklands War debacle.

http://bit.ly/MichaelsGalleries

Our entry to both Valparaiso and Buenos Aires was a cruise over the secret graves of thousands dropped, alive, into the ocean from military aircraft.

What is most chilling is the silence about this throughout our travels in Chile.  No memorials, no protests, silence, only stone faced military guards.

The following is from Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima, beneath which are catacombs piled with disarticulated skeletons buried and cared for in the Catholic tradition .

In Lima’s Plaza de Armas we witnessed this peaceful demonstration by pensioners protesting low payments.  To be honest, around this time, in Chile, there were huge demonstrations, hundreds of thousands in Santiago, about the same issue.

The Lima crowd was peaceful.

Watched by a heavy contingent of armed police supported by large “paddy wagons” to cart people away.  The vehicle marked “Prodegur” (i.e., prosecution) was one of them.  Given the history of government disappearances in the region, how brave the demonstrators must be.

Our vehicle turns onto Argentina Avenue, passing under Spanish Avenue and these supports bruiting the “Patrimony of Humanity” status of Valparaiso.

Turning onto Argentina Avenue, the overpass support columns announce Valparaiso’s status as a World Heritage Site. It is the old city around the port which holds this designation.

Other murals feature the zinc panels of the Old Town and cultural opportunities.  I noticed the pictured flooring is identical that of Hotel Brighton, see “Our Fifteen Minutes of Fame on Conception Hill.”

I wonder how a man of a certain ago scrapes his knees, these appear to be homeless people.

Two men carry on conversation on Avenue Argentina, Valparaiso during the weekend Avenue Argentina street fair.

They gives us big smiles and waves when they spotted me / us.  The people were open and friendly.

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Valparaiso Connections I

The Albatross and Valparaiso

We’ll start in the parking lot of the Valparaiso Passenger Terminal, introduced in my last posting, “Valparaiso Old and New”.  The terminal was our first stop in Valparaiso, it services cruise ship passengers, it was in the parking lot we met Ricardo, a guide and city native.  In his late sixties, Ricardo lived through numbing changes:  the political turn left and election of Allende, followed by a military coup d’état (called golpe de estado in Spanish) and rise of a military officer, Pinochet, to dictator.  From the 70’s through 80’s Pinochet ruled, abolishing the congress in Santiago, enjoying ruthless suppression of opponents with the full support and assistance of the military.  In the late 80’s Pinochet allowed a return to democracy, a new constitution with a bi-cameral (two houses) congress in Valparaiso and elected president.  Ricardo was quiet about these times, as are most Chileans and we did not press him.

Click any photograph to open my Fine Art Gallery.

The bus passed a carved wooden statue of the albatross, near the terminal entrance.  A bird of the southern ocean, familiar to mariners for the habit of following ships, this aspect of soaring the a familiar posture.

Here is a specimen in this posture following the Regatta on February 22 as we traversed the Southern Atlantic between the Falkands and Punta del Este.  That day, many albatross soared among the 20+ foot waves, the wingtips very close to the water surface.


The day before, February 21, the Regatta approached the southern most point of the western hemisphere, Cape Horn, coming within a mile of the landing point and monument.  At the top you can see the steel sculpture of the outline of an albatross set in a stone plinth.

A cropped version of the above image, the albatross outline is easier to see.  Also visible, at the cliff base, the landing, stairs, a platform painted as a Chilean flag, the railings leading up to the Albatross Monument.

All of this to emphasize the unique position and reason for being of Valparaiso of the eastern South Pacific, made evident by the recurring motif of an albatross soaring among the waves.  This retired anchor, close to the albatross sculpture, on our way to Argentina Avenue and the weekend street fair (to be continued).

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Valparaiso Old and New

Stray Thoughts on Labeling, Valparaiso Port

Shortly after breakfast Pam and I were among a gathering of travelers, several friends made in the last ten days among them, waiting in the Regatta lounge for tour assignments.  In my previous posting, “Valparaiso Separation, you can see exactly where the Regatta was docked among the orderly chaos of the port as seen from the Ascensor Conception.  “Valparaiso Separation” also includes several photographs from my early morning hours on our port side stateroom terrace photographing the approach to Valparaiso and the city itself.

Walking down the gang plank, our bus assignment in hand, number 17, we boarded a shuttle to take us through the port, to customs.  See the upper left corner?  Here is part of a loading crane, seemingly the underside of a bridge.  In “Valparaiso Departure I”  you saw it loading rolls of wire.

The structure labeled TCVAL is called the Gottwald, a mobile harbor crane from the TEREX based in Dusseldorf, Germany.  TCVAL is an acronym, “Terminal Cerros de Valparaíso” (Hills Terminal of Valparaiso), and stands for the port management company.

Click any photograph to open my Fine Art  Gallery.

I caught two overviews of the area from our stateroom balcony.

Looking along the port side of the Regatta.  Our room was on the same level as the bridge, visible on the right with several Regatta officers enjoying the Valparaiso port view.  From here, the shipping containers (“Hamburg SUD”) are loaded onto semi-tractor trailers for points all around South America, they call the southern most land “The Cone.”

We are surrounded by labels, the #17 in our hands, “Regatta” on the ship bow, all with a story to tell.

Unlabeled from this side, two towers covered with multi-colored panels, shades of green and blue with white, the Hotel ibis Valparaiso.  I looked it up on Google Maps.

To the right is AIEP Valparaiso, a technical college, founded just three years before, 2013.  We are seeing them from behind, the side that faces the harbor, both the hotel and school front a street named Errázuriz.

Take note of the lower floors with the large, crisscrossed supporting struts.

Click any photograph to open my Fine Art Gallery.

Back on the shuttle, we pass along those lower floors.  Look to the right of the Gandara Chile, SA truck….dinosaur models.  The floor above seems to be retail displays of bulk packaged products.

Everywhere stacked shipping containers….

…throngs of busy workers.  This fellow works for “Building Services”, a cleaner.

We’ve looked right.  To the left a view of the port opens.  War ships in the distance.  Foreground is a general cargo ship, the crane midship is used for unloading in smaller ports.  Currently unloaded, we can tell by how high it is riding.  There is a rope ladder on the visible starboard side, a landing boat with an outboard motor along side.  One person is visible on the upper deck, wearing a baseball cap.

Named “Danstar” home port Valparaiso, the Chilean flag hangs stern side.  A general cargo ship, I looked it up.  On the day I started this post, it was sailing the southern pacific heading from Hanga Roa, Easter Island.  The label on the bridge, CA 4392, is the radio call sign.  The bilge pump is working….wonder how strict the pollution stands are for Valparaiso harbor?

Click any photograph to open my Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Back to the left, an unpromising aspect.  No labels here.  Shortly after the transport unloaded us for customs.  I generally do not photograph those workings, no use being pulled aside for questioning by unsympathetic officers.  Just a precaution, the entire trip the customs people were friendly and the inspections cursory.

Here is where our slip of paper, #17, is used just in case we forget the number.  Here is wonderful guide, Ricardo, holding a loft the #17 flag in from of bus #17.  The wonderful city of Valparaiso laid out for us in the morning sun, the sky cloudless.

New buses, nice!!!

Ricardo introduces himself.  His name tag “Oceania, Your World, Your Way.”  Cannot help getting some humor from that.

Click any photograph to open my Fine Art Gallery.
Click to see more “Valparaiso Connections I”
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Valparaiso Departure III “The Sunset”

The Sun’s Progress

Two minutes after capturing the last light on Concon Point, see “Valparaiso Departure II”, turning the camera 180 degrees, to the south, looking along the Chilean coast, to capture birds on the wing headed toward shore at day’s end.
ValparaisoDeparture-22
Remembering other times,

ValparaisoDeparture-23

waiting for darkness

ValparaisoDeparture-24

with a sky map, studying it to make sense of the stars.

ValparaisoDeparture-25

How far?  How large?

ValparaisoDeparture-26

Light from our star, eight minutes old,

ValparaisoDeparture-27

grazed the earth’s rim the breath of a moth wing ago.

ValparaisoDeparture-28

Connect the dots, stories of heroes, monsters.

 

 

Our star, as we know it now

ValparaisoDeparture-31

Singular, alone,

 

 

Progress, an illusion to be understood

 

 

No less mysterious for that

ValparaisoDeparture-45

Look back to the sheltering headland of Valparaiso, glowing.

 

ValparaisoDeparture-47

Click the link to visit my posting from the next day, “Island Romance”

Here is a link to more postings about Valparaiso, “Our Fifteen Minutes of Fame on Conception Hill.”

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

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.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-17

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.  

ValparaisoDeparture-18

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.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-19

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.

ValparaisoDeparture-20

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.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-21

 

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Valparaiso Departure I

Thoughts on Departures

To continue with the theme of our encounter with Isla Mocha in my previous posting, “Island Romance”, we return to Valparaiso to experience a departure.  Late that afternoon 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.”

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-1

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….

ValparaisoDeparture-13

….a pianist entertained us.

ValparaisoDeparture-14

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

ValparaisoDeparture-15

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

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-16

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…..

ValparaisoDeparture-2

…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.

ValparaisoDeparture-3

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

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

 

 

ValparaisoDeparture-4a

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

ValparaisoDeparture-5

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.

ValparaisoDeparture-6

 

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.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-7

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

ValparaisoDeparture-8

…. 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.

ValparaisoDeparture-9

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

ValparaisoDeparture-10

 

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

ValparaisoDeparture-11

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.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-12

Learn of the view of the highest mountain in North and South American in my posting “Valparaiso Departure II.”

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills