Sunday, Pam and I travelled across the peneplanes, past three Finger Lakes, to reach the Dr. Konstantin Frank winery where we subscribe to the “Wine Club,” a quarterly release of three 750 ml wines along with a newsletter with information and recipes. For 2018/2019 we elected to “pickup” our selections, looking forward to these drives through the country and villages between Ithaca and the winery perched on the west side of Keuka Lake, just below the “branch.”
Yesterday, I posted “Glacier!!” and today there is this photograph of glacial topography 10,000+ years after the melt. Keuka Lake is shaped like a “Y” chromosome, here we are looking northeast across the “foot” of the “Y” from the west lakeside. Above the evergreens, to the left, is the headland separating the “arms” of the “Y”.
Spread out below our viewpoint are row upon row of grapevines, enjoying the microclimate surrounding the deep lake.
Summer was the season for our visit to the edge of eternal, for now, Patagonian ice fields. Remnants from the last ice age, larger than some (small) countries. The site is surprisingly noisy with sharp, explosive, ice crackles.
More amazing even than the sounds, the dark shading on the ice is volcanic dust from recent eruptions of many cones.
This day, as our hill turns to snow globe, I remember this early morning, March 2007, on the edge of spring.
As winter changed to spring I noticed the first greening of the limbs and, each November, the eerie form of the limbs revealed. I call the tree an “elm” though I am not certain. There are other lone survivor elms nearby, the leaves are right for an elm. Some elm species/specimens have the same shape.
This quiet nook is hidden along the Oak Creek Canyon trail, though easy enough to find.
I visited there just at dawn when the air was still and the usually busy site deserted.
Oak Creek Canyon is named for the native, evergreen oak species unique to desert environments. The leaves conserve moisture: small, thick. I remember camping at the Chiricahua National Monument on November. All night the acorns fell onto the metal picnic tables, a loud metallic thunk.
The post header is a primrose flower growing on the bank of Oak Creek.
Recognize the rock from “Oak Creek Mandala”? This is farther up the Oak Creek Canyon trail, “photograph by Pam Wills.” I am in my warm weather photography kit of the time having passed the camera to Pam for the shot.
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.
Arturo Prat commanded the Chilean corvette Esmeralda. Carlos Condell de la Haza was Covadonga’s commander.
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.
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.
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.