Iquique by Sea IV

Pilot Boat Approach

One hundred and thirty six (136) years and nine months after that foggy morning of the Battle of Iquique (see yesterday’s post) our view of the harbor was clear. Instead of dreadnoughts steaming out of the fog to gun us down, a small fast boat waited to guide the Regatta into harbor.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

A pilot boat waits outside Iquique harbor.

My first meeting with a maritime pilot was hundreds of miles from the ocean, on an Arizona mountain (click me for this post “Cochise Dawn”). Today it was at a distance, across water, as Pam and I enjoyed our port side stateroom balcony and these views of Iquique harbor.

A escarpment hundreds of feet high backdrops the city. Today, we will visit a former nitrate mine on the desert plateau on top the escarpment. Our ship will anchor beyond the breakwater.

It is the maritime pilot on this tiny fast boat who will guide us through the dangerous, crowded and unfamiliar waters of the harbor.

The profession has existed since Greek and Roman times when fishermen used their knowledge of local waters to guide ships with valuable cargo to dock.

Today, the pilot is carried out on a fast, specialized boat to come alongside to climb up a special ladder created for this purpose. Onboard, the pilot takes over controls of the ship. The ship Master retains ultimate responsibility for his ship.

Click me for the first post of this series.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Iquique by Sea II

God’s Thumbprint

Eleven minutes have passed since Part I. A large ship like the Regatta moves ever more slowly the closer it comes to port. In the intern I swapped out the 24 mm lens with a variable “zoom”, 70 – 300mm.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

The lens allows me to glean more details. Compare the upper and lower photographs. Between the ghost town Caleta Buena and Iquique the coastal range falls directly into the Pacific. The word “caleta” means a small bay, just enough protection and space to build a dock from which to ship nitrates mined from the plane.

The upwelling of nutrients by the Humbold Current makes for excellent fishing grounds. This small fishing boat was headed out the for day. Click the photo for a closer view of this craft. This photograph also shows how the mountain falls directly into the ocean.

Here you can see the top of the pediment, a vast irregular, inhospitable plain.

Through an accident of geography (“the imprint of God’s thumb on the land)…..

….the cliffs recede south of a place called Punto Negro (above), leaving space for a substantial city to make a foothold….Iquique.

Above, to the right is where the cliffs start to recede.

Click me for the first post of this series.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Iquique by Sea I

Coastline Panorama

Very early morning, February 10, 2016 the Oceania Regatta cruise ship sailed the Pacific Ocean on approach to Iquique, the first Chilean port on our voyage along every one, and more, of the 2,672 miles of length.

These are views of the Atacama desert coastline, the driest land in the world, on par with the frozen Antarctic. The ship is making progress against the cold Humbolt current, flowing from southern Chile to northern Peru, the view encompasses contrasting cold water with land rising sharply from the Pacific.

Above and below are views of a dark point of land marking the abandoned town Caleta Buena on a 750 foot escarpment above the remains of piers. Nitrate mining was the reason for the town’s existence, just as it was for Iquique.

These are sequential shots, working north to south, using a 24 mm “wide angle” Canon lens, mounted on a tripod, to form a seascape panorama.

We are on the balcony of our port side stateroom. I did much great work from this spot. During out 250 mile overnight sail from Matarani, Peru absolute blackness was the norm along this desolate coast.

Those are coastal mountains rising to the Atacama desert plain.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved