The Scale of Iceberg Glacier

Why is the glacier face blue?

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Glacier ScaleA 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.

Iceberg Glacier Scale
Three person ship launch and glacier base at head of Tempanos Fjord

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.

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Orientation, Iceberg Glacier, February 17, 2016

Maps of our visit to Iceberg Glacier beginning from Cape Rapier, the Pacific Ocean

Here are a series of maps to aid your understanding of this series of blogs, starting with sunrise off Cape Rapier and ending with my next blog, the approach to Tempanos Fjord and the Iceberg Glacier.

overviewicebergglacier
cape-rapier-to-iceberg-glacier
messierchannel

Maritime Pilots, Scout Island, Scout Canal

About maritime pilots and the Chilean Fjords

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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.

Don Roberto Approaches the Regatta
A fast pilot boat from Matarani approaches the Oceania Regatta. On the bow, the pilot will transfer from boat to ship. On board he will work with the Regatta crew to safely navigate the approach to the Matarani harbor and dock. The whiteness on the land is diatomaceous earth.
Don Roberto, Maritime pilot, approaches the Regatta
The whiteness on the land is diatomaceous earth.

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.

Scout Island and Canal
Scout Island. The water is Scout Channel

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.

Scout Island
Scout Island lies on the Scout Canal
Scylla Island
Lying just south of Scout Island, Scylla Island is between our ship, in the Scout Canal, and the Kruger Canal. The Kruger is short, between Islands Scout, Orebar, Zealous, Porcia and Tito.
Islet Alert and Orebar Island
Islet Alert is between Canal Scout and Canal Kruger. On the far left there are waves breaking on Pilot Point of Orebar Island, marking the northern end of a small bay, named Hale. You can see the bay behind Islet Alert. On the far left there are waves breaking on Pilot Point

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Views of Larenas and Fresia Peninsulas

mountainous crags over the Pacific Ocean

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.

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Larenas Peninsula and Merino Islets
Larenas Peninsula and Merino Islets
Close-up of the Merino Islets
Close-up of the Merino Islets
Ayautau Isles
Ayautau Isles
Larenas Peninsula from Gulf of Penas
The Northern Patagonian Ice Fields lay to the east and north of these mountains of the Larenas Peninsula.
High Ridge of the Larenas Peninsula
High Ridge of the Larenas Peninsula
Larenas Peninsula High Ridge
Larenas Peninsula High Ridge 2
Larenas Peninsula High Ridge Close 3
Larenas Peninsula High Ridge Close 3
The craggy heights of the Larenas Peninsula
The craggy heights of the Larenas Peninsula are in the rear. On the right are Fresia Point (of the eponymous peninsula) and the entrance to Fjord Eloisa.
Larenas Peninsula High Ridge Closer 5
Larenas Peninsula High Ridge Closer 5

Juniper Sunrise

crack of dawn

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. 
Sunrise Canyon De Chelly
Looking east from the Spider Rock overlook, Canyon De Chelly.

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.

Juniper Sunrise
A distressed Utah Juniper on the edge of Canyon De Chelly overlooking Needle Rock a few moments after sunrise.

Enjoy!!

Click for the first posting of this series, “Portrait of a Navajo Guide.”
 

Ledge Ruin Musings

a window in time

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.

Junction Ruin

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.”

Click for the first posting in this series, “Portrait of a Navajo Guide”.

Click for the next posting of this series, “Canyon of Music, Wind, Light”

Rincon Peak Summit

Experience the Sky Island view from Rincon Peak

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.

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We paused while I unpacked my gear to capture Sego Lilies growing along the Turkey Creek Trail.

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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.

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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.

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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.

View from Rincon Peak -- CLICK ME!!!!

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.

Rincon Peak from Happy Valley Saddle, dawn -- CLICK ME!!!!

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.

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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.

Rincon Peak from the X9 Ranch-- CLICK ME!!!!

Two Windows on Time

Insight from antique postcards

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.

Please click any of the following images to visit a work from my online gallery.  Hover your mouse over each image for more information.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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