The past four days we traveled south from Puerto Montt. The Navimag ship carried many trucks, shipping containers and autos, plus numerous animals and about 100 human travelers. We wandered from deck to deck, viewing passing mountains and waterfalls and wildlife. We tried to stay out of wind directions which might remind us of the cows and sheep which stood tightly compressed in trucks in the lower regions of the ship.
In the early morning light we saw distant blows of blue whales and throughout the days we viewed passing seabirds and visiting dolphins. At one time, bottlenose dolphins dashed in and out of the bow wake of our ship as it plowed ever southward. Our animal list included skuas, flightless steamer ducks, petrels, various types of cormorants, leaping sea lions and seals.
Halfway down, we pulled up close to the face of the Iceberg Glacier. It glowed and growled for us as it shed bergy bits into the aqua-tinted glacial tidewaters. Here there was a beautiful chart book of Tyndall scattering. John Tyndall first determined that small particles whose size is similar to the wavelength of light would scatter [shashin type=”photo” id=”394″ size=”small” columns=”max” order=”user” position=”center”]shorter wavelengths and transmit longer wavelengths. In the compression with depth of a glacier, entrained air bubbles are made smaller and smaller and the scattered light gets bluer and bluer. Very beautiful!
The trip was also a veritable lesson in glaciated geology as we saw U-shaped valleys and hanging valleys and then, farther south, these features filled with receding ice and the water filled with eroding rock flour.
We met many interesting travelers as we all compared views of nature, attended lectures on flora and fauna, and shared tables at meals. We had conversations with Chileans, Australians, Europeans and Canadians, both young and old. Interestingly, we appeared to be the only people from Estados Unidos on the ship. Here is the other Navimag vessel heading north as we go south.
Here are photos from our journey by ship. Tomorrow we are off to Torres del Paine.
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