Late afternoon of our departure from the Chilean port city Valparaiso, 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.”
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….
….a pianist entertained us.
As usual, I was carting photography equipment to capture the moments as the afternoon moved towards…
….the scheduled departure among still life painting in the style of the Dutch masters.
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…..
…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.
The north end of the bay is residential, behind the towers are homes arrayed on the hillside, the only land available.
Much of the harbor and city business district, in the foreground (below), on the south side is on land reclaimed from the sea.
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.
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.
I can only guess the role the Alcatraz is playing here…..
…. 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.
Today, as 99.9% of all days, the pilot makes the turn safely. Here is a better view of the warship.
Looking back toward the harbor, the crane is hoisting those rolls, the tug boat “Lauca” framed by the superstructure of (I think) the crane.
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.
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