A glacier is more than ice; not alive, it crawls; not feeling, it groans, cackles, shouts; passive, it is dangerous to approach closely backed as it is by the southern ice field, over a mile high. The ship nudged as close as a half mile from the massed ice, navigating using the bow thrusters to face first port, then starboard and back to port. I was lucky enough to be on the 11th deck, pictured above, when we caught sigh of the fast ship’s launch, manned by ship’s crew.
The crew prepared for a run to the rock face, almost 100 feet high, beneath 500 feet of glacier. Enjoy the views! Click any photograph to visit my online gallery. Purchase a photograph from this newly published series or any of my other popular works.
Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
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.
Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
These photographs are most notable for the first sighting of the entrance to Fjord Tempanos and our day’s destination the Iceberg Glacier. At Middle Island Messier Channel is over 5 miles wide though studded with islets and navigational hazards. Here is a Google Earth map of the area with notable locations pinned with names. The red line is a ruler path from Sombrero Island.
In the previous blog, Orientation, Iceberg Glacier, February 17, 2016, you learned about the route the Oceania Regatta followed that day. We left off with photographs of Scout and Orlebar islands, the time was 12:43 pm Chilean Summer Time (daylight savings). The next photograph was time stamped 2:24 pm and, frankly, I had lost track of where we were, so it was necessary to determine the ship’s position.
Here is how to do it. From two known points, Sombrero Island at the northern end of Messier Channel and the Iceberg Glacier, our day’s destination, first a velocity from the total distance, in miles, (Google Earth) divided by the time duration (subtract time stamp of the starting from the final digital photograph and convert to minutes). This gives an average ship velocity in miles Using excel list the photographs with time stamps. For each photograph calculate the time from the starting photo, in minutes, and multiply this by the average velocity.
In this way, I determined the first photographs of this blog were Middle Island and obtained confirmation using Google Earth to view the location from ground level. The process is iterative in that the views showed the first calculated position to be behind the position matching the view.
This, I hypothesized, was because the ship velocity decreased on entering Tempanos Fjord. Noting a time gap between the last photograph of this blog and the next, taken within Tempanos Fjord. So, using Google Earth to establish the last photograph position, I recalculated velocity using that last position as the last time. Then, I recalculated the distances of the photographs and the calculated positions came into better agreement with the viewed positions. After Middle Island the ship slowed significantly in order to enter the fjord.
I still have opened questions because the calculated speed from Sombrero Island to Middle Island is 6 knots higher than the documented top speed of the Regatta.
52.02 miles from Sombrero Island. View NorthEast toward Middle Island, Farquhar Island behind.
The lighthouse of Middle Island is not in view. The channel between the islands is Brazo del Este.
View NorthEast toward the peaks of Farquhar Island Over the shoulder of Middle Island is Riches Bay of the farther island.
View NorthEast toward the peaks of Farquhar Island. Across from us, on Farquhar Island, the George River flow into Connor Cove which opens onto the channel named Brazo del Este. The channel separates the islands.
View east the steep cliffs of Farquhar Island rising abruptly from Messier Channel, to 3,200 feet in 2.7 miles.
Peaks of Farquhar Island. View east from Messier Channel using long lens. The island is named for Percival Farquhar, American entrepreneur active in South America, mostly Brazil and railroads, 1905 – 1930.
View north from mid-Messier Channel. Nearest on the right is Middle Island with lighthouse Farquhar Island behind with Palmer and Hens points. In the distance is Van Der Meulen island.
Farquhar Channel. View Northeast with Boxer Island, left foreground,Farquhar Island behind.
Tempanos Fjord. View Southeast with Estacion Point and Headland to left. Behind the headland is the entrance to Farquhar Fjord, not visible. Tempanos Fjord is framed by land on both sides.
On our way to Fjord Tempanos and the Iceberg Glacier…..
Background: on a ship, facing the bow (front), starboard is right and port is left).
In the 8 miles from Tarn Bay and Sombrero Island lands press closer, higher, islands increase in number. This is a listing of some of the islands we passed. These names reflect the history of Chile, the waves of immigrants touch the land with memories. After some of the names, below, I provide in parentheses the derivation.
On starboard was the northern Wellington Archipelago (English General): Pinochet (the Chilean dictator), Penguin, Juan Stuven (Spanish and German), Chang (the far east), Millar (German).
On port, the names have a military flavor: Zealous, Scout, Scylla (Sea Monster of Greek mythology), Alert, Orlebar (British Officer Augustus Orlebar).
These port side island names reflect what is on the minds of mariners as navigational options narrow with the channel. Innumerable channels, points, mid-channel islets, all looking very much the same, a potentially confusing jumble. Chilean maritime law demands ships have on board, working from the bridge, a certified Chilean maritime pilot to transverse the country’s dangerous channels and fjords. The combination of stopping distance (multiple nautical miles) and the loss of steering when a ship moves slowly make it essential to know, exactly, the route ahead. It was a Chilean maritime pilot who help keep us safe.
A great personal hazard for pilots is boarding the ship from the pilot boat. From our stateroom terrace we observed fast pilot boats in all seas approach the Regatta miles from port, the pilot on the bow, pull up alongside. Without a harness, the pilot transfers from boat to ship. We observed this several times from our stateroom veranda.
Here are shots of the pilot boat approaching the Regatta off the Peruvian port of Matarani. The boat was mirrored by the colorfully painted houses of Peru.
A cautious approach. In the third shot the boat turns to slowly approach the Regatta.
Alongside, boat crewmembers joint Don Roberto on the bow to assist in the transfer. I am not sure which of the two blue uniformed persons was “our” pilot.
I did not capture the boarding of the pilot who served the Regatta through the Chilean Fjords. Was is at Puerto Montt? Puerto Chacobuco? I am not sure. I do know a maritime pilot was on board as the channel narrowed to 2 miles, named Scout Channel were we passed Scout Island. I was facing generally east from our port side stateroom veranda while capturing these photographs as the Regatta headed south.
The peak on Scout Island is about 2,100 feet. The smaller peaks in front are about 1,200 and 1,500 feet. All rise straight up from Scout channel.
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.
In this post we start the day of my posting “Family Trek“, July 19, 2008, when, well before the sun rose at 6:23 am Mountain Daylight Time (the Navajo Reservation observes daylight savings, the rest of Arizona does not), Pam and I were at the Spider Rock Overlook.
Most visitors to the canyon make use of a system of roads and parking lots next to strategic views. There is the White House Overlook we visited our first day, July 18, to hike from the trailhead into the canyon. There are also, on the south side of the canyon:
Tsegi Overlook, taken from a Navajo word that translates directly to “between the rocks” and usually refers to a deep canyon with steep cliffs.
Junction Overlook above the point where Canyon Del Muerto (see my posting “Sun and Shade, Canyon Del Muerto”, and Canyon De Chelly intersect. There is an Anasazi ruin in the south-facing cliff across the canyon.
Sliding House Overlook, another Anasazi run across the canyon.
Face Rock Overlook, to view the eponymous formation.
Spider Rock Overlook, the most stunning rock formation.
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While getting ready I scoped out the location for interesting visual tropes. Utah Junipers are exceptionally hardy shrubs, stressed individual plants grow into compelling forms shaped by hardship. As the sun rose, this specimen emerged from the gloom and caught the first sun rays.
Canyon de Chelly, on the map, is shaped like a Y or a chromosome. A chromosome as the walls of the canyon carry the heritage of the people who made this place their home over millennia. A Y as in the letter ship, a foot and two arms.
6.2 miles from the canyon mouth, where the road ends at Chinle, above the branch, on the north cliff, is this photogenic ruin, called the Ledge Ruin. In my previous posting, this ruin forms the backdrop of Peter Tsosie’s portrait. Peter is the header image of this posting.
Difficult to believe, seeing it for the first time.
Difficult to see, a tiny nook in an enormous cliff, the structures formed from the same rock as though what remained after the cliff fell away.
Difficult to comprehend life there, what drove them to this effort? Fear, certainly, concern for their safety and security.
We know it by our name. Their name included the word “home.”
The Rincons are one of 42 Sky Mountain islands isolated from each other by the gradual warming and drying climate changes since the last ice age, 10,000 years ago. While this marvelous environment of oak and pine forests only accessible with much effort on foot, it is literally visible from every point of the Tucson valley and million human inhabitants.
Rincon is Spanish for corner, the mountains are called that from their shape enclosing a space on the west, northwest until recently used for ranching and is now falling into use for tract housing. The mountains themselves are reserved as wilderness, parts in the Saguaro National Park and the Coronado National Forest.
In the past 44 years I was lucky enough to visit the Rincon Wilderness interior three times, shouldering different style backpacks onto the mountain, walking different boots. The first, during college the 1970’s, a party of six left from the end of Speedway, up the Douglas Springs trail. The climb was an exercise in desert survival that several friendships did not survive, replace by new friends met on Mica Mountain. I have no photographs from that experience, only memories and the backpack.
Reconnecting with Arizona in 2004, thirty one years after that first experience, I took no chances. My first attempt on Rincon Peak was a success. Risk and effort were reduced, not eliminated by hiring a guide for the four day trip. We made it to Rincon Peak via the Turkey Creek Trail out of Happy Valley, climbing a mountain buttress, views ever widening and lengthening.
These are some photographs from that experience and a landscape photograph of the peak at sunset, taken the following year.
Sego Lilies bloom among a stricken oak and drying grasses on the Turkey Creek trail. This is an overview of the environment, it is the winter rains that trigger the bloom.
We paused while I unpacked my gear to capture Sego Lilies growing along the Turkey Creek Trail.
Deer Head Spring, at the top of Turkey Creek Trail was a moist spot with no accessible water when we reached it April 27, 2004. With the remains of a gallon of water each we needed to press ahead to Heartbreak Ridge and climb into Happy Valley Saddle were, thankfully, the creek was low and full of algae but usable. Here are my first views of Rincon Peak, looking across the aptly named Heartbreak Ridge and Happy Valley Saddle.
The view to south from Rincon Peak. The white rocks at lower right forms a Valley of the Moon wall. San Pedro River valley at the root, Mae West Peaks at left margin, Dragoon Mountains with Cochise Stronghold center. Taken around 12:30 on April 28, 2004 as a thunderstorm approached.
The Rincon Peak view looking south, southwest over the Valley of the Moon to the eastern Tucson Valley and the Sky Islands the Whetstone Mountains (Apache Peak), behind are the Santa Ritas. The works of man are overpowered by sky, rock, distance.
We made a hasty departure in front of the thunderstorm. It was a touch and go decision to attempt the peak that day, we made it with moments to spare.
April 29, 2004 the morning after reaching Rincon Peak I set up the tripod near our Happy Valley Saddle camp to capture Rincon Peak in early morning sunlight.
The day we descended to the X9 Ranch via the Rincon Creek trail. My guide’s grandfather had a homestead at the X9 and his access to the trailhead through private lands opened this route for us. This is a photograph of sunset on Rincon Peak from the X9 ranch. I am looking east from the Rincon (Spanish for corner) made by the massifs Rincon Peak, Mica Mountain and Tanque Verde ridge.
The evening of November 2, 2006 I climbed the Saguaro National Park, East, Tanque Verde trail for about 30 minutes to reach this view of Rincon Peak and waited until just before the sun set behind the Tucson Mountains for this shot. Then hiked back to the car in twilight. In my hurry, I tripped on a stepped turn and dove headfirst into a large prickly pear. It was a very painful experience and I regretted damaging the cactus and the loss of and good hiking shirt. There were large spines in my face and tiny, pesky spines covered my chest and back. The large spines are not barbed and come right out. I needed to visit a physician to remove them.
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
Our Black Friday visit to Jim Thorpe included shopping along Broadway. One marvelous shop at 61 Broadway, The Vintagerie, offered a small bin of antique post cards. Vaguely curious, I picked up a pile. Many were unused. A few, like the two below, travelled the US Mail, included post marks, postage and communications.
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Verna’s slanted and precise cursive, the message carefully planned to fit available space, demonstrate her to be stylish. The bathing suit was purchased for the trip. Before leaving, Verna shared the purchase with her acquaintance, Mrs. Nace (misspelled Nase).
Fourteen months after their vacation, the Stock Market Crashed, October 1929, leading to The Great Depression. How were Fred and Verna affected? Were there Atlantic City vacations?
The next card was purchased and sent from Allentown. It is unlikely Sara was on vacation, was it purchased during a rare trip to the city?
I know Verna misspelled Nace because, ten years into the great depression, Mrs. Nace, Emma, received this postcard from Sara. The postage is still 1 cent. Emma has moved to a new address. The message is more significant, written in a hurried hand by Sara, who concludes with love.
Emma Nace kept these cards as treasured possessions and memories until, with her passing, they were acquired, maybe in an estate sale, bundled together, transported 54 miles to 61 Broadway to be found by me, scanned (digitalized), and sent along in this blog.
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved