20 November 2017:
Itajaí, Brazil:
Big Fish and Little Dubai

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’ve not only crossed the border to a new country on this trip, Brazil, but also a language barrier to Portuguese. This flank of South America, as well as parts of Africa to the east, were under control of Portugal starting from the early ears of the exploration of the New World.

Itajaí was begun in 1658 when settlers from São Paulo arrived.

But the handsome setting grew significantly beginning in 1750, when Portugal encouraged colonists to come from Madeira and the Azores islands.

And as was the case throughout the lower portion of South America and elsewhere, by the end of the 19th century the region received a great number of German immigrants.

The city is on the north coast of Santa Catarina State, at the mouth of the Itajaí-Acú river which allows some commerce into the interior.

Itajaí is Brazil’s largest fishing port, and the country’s second largest container port.

The approach to the port is interesting, passing between two protective breakwaters. That’s good for the comfort of ships within the port. The not-so-good news is that the city is basically flat, its highest point Morro da Cruz, about 170 meters or 560 feet above sea level.

Because of that flatness along the sea, and the river that exits through it, the city and most of Santa Catarina State area is prone to torrential storms, especially during the Spring, which is about now. Floods are frequent.

In November 2008, 90 percent of the city was underwater and about 100 people perished.

Balneário Camboriú

On the other side of the same bay is the beach resort of Balneário Camboriú, about 10 kilometers of 6 miles to the south. There are not one but two fine beaches here, and they are connected one to another by a cable car.

One of its nicknames is the “Brazilian Dubai” because of its modern skyscrapers and wealthy tourists.

We took the cable car up to the Parque Unipraias on a hill between the beaches and explored a small protected rainforest there and also watched cable cars, zip lines, roller sleds and other entertainment installed on the hillside.

Scenes of Balneário Camboriú, including cable cars, exotic flowers, bird islands, and mussel farms. All photos by Corey Sandler

Then we took the cable car down to the second beach at Laranjeiras. and celebrated the day with a glass of Caipirinha, a cocktail made from local cachaça, a rum-like form of fire water made from sugar cane. One glass tastes very good. Two glasses more so. Three glasses not so much when you return to the cable car.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

16-17 November 2017:
Buenos Aires, Argentina:
Fair Winds, Blue Skies, Purple Jacaranda

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have completed our passage down and around on our counter-clockwise circumnavigation of South America and are arrived at Buenos Aires, Argentina.

To guests leaving us here, we wish Fair Winds (buenos aires) and safe travels. And to new guests heading north with us, welcome (benvenuto.)

Yes, I know benvenuto is an Italian greeting, and that we are in mostly Spanish South America. But I do have a purpose.

Argentina is an extraordinary place, the second largest country in South America (after Brazil) and eighth largest in the world.

But Argentina has only about 43 million residents, a very low population density, with about 92 percent living in and around cities.

Argentina is the largest (by size) Spanish-speaking country in the Americas.

But here in South America, in a country whose origins are Spanish, the largest single ethnic group—about 60 percent—are people of Italian ancestry.

Perché tanti italiani?

Why so many Italians?

Argentina has been a country of immigration for most of its history, welcoming waves of Europeans after its independence in the 19th century.

About 2 million Italians arrived between 1880 and 1920, with more coming between the rise of Mussolini and the outbreak of World War II. Another wave arrived after the end of the war, as Italy lay in ruins.

In recent decades, some of the immigration has picked up again as a strong Argentine economy demanded more workers.

AROUND BUENOS AIRES

We arrived in Buenos Aires on a beautiful day, at peak season for the purple Jacaranda trees that demark the city.

I went with a group of guests on a tour that visited some of the Belle Epoque masterpieces of the city including the beautiful Teatro Colon of 1904, where an orchestra was rehearsing for a concert later in the day.

TEATRO COLON

Teatro Colon. Photos by Corey Sandler

In the city, we also saw some spectacular modern sculptures and one of my favorite buildings, the Centro Navale, now repurposed as a concert hall.

And in town, the former home of Harrod’s on Florida Avenue.

Centro Navale and Harrod’s. Photos by Corey Sandler.

TANGO ON SHORE AND ON BOARD

The African influence here would seem to be much less than in much of the rest of the Americas, except when you consider what may be the most identifiable and memorable cultural icon of Buenos Aires: The Tango.

The distinctive sultry, suggestive, passive-aggressive (you pick your favorite adjective) dance and its accompanying music began in the working-class port neighborhoods of Montevideo, Uruguay not far away and arrived a bit later in Buenos Aires.

Silver Muse was host to a world championship set of tango dancers. (How exactly do you win such an honor? An intriguing subject for future investigation.)

Here is a bit of the show:

Tango Aboard Ship. Photos by Corey Sandler

HEADING NORTH

We’ll be here for two days, and then head out to sea for calls in some lesser-known ports of Brazil, three days at the very-famous port city and beach of Rio de Janeiro, and then across the mouth of the Amazon on our way to an arrival (and departure) from Devil’s Island in French Guiana and from there to Bridgetown, Barbados in the Caribbean.

Here’s our plan:

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

14-15 November 2017:
Punta del Este and Montevideo, Uruguay:
Oriental South America

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our first call in the small country of Uruguay (the second-smallest nation of South America, behind only Suriname) was at the resort community of Punta del Este, at the outlet of the Rio de la Plata. It is a place of affluence, with fine hotels and restaurants and beaches. . . and somewhat easy to mistake for other resorts in other places.

Think Miami Beach, without art deco.

Here are some photos I took on a superb late spring day in Punta del Este, including a visit to its famous La Mano, which emerges from the sand on one side of the peninsula. The sculpture was made by the Chilean artist Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal.

PUNTA DEL ESTE

MONTEVIDEO

Our second port of call, at the capital city of Montevideo, was to a place of great distinction and energy. Except in the late afternoon.

Uruguay is hardly the only place in the world where nearly everything comes to a halt for teatime.

Here they call it merienda (snack) and it usually takes place about 5 in the afternoon, forestalling dinner until late in the evening, way past my ordinary bedtime.

But they do take merienda and tea seriously, and there are few places in the world where you’ll likely see more people walking around with mugs—often ceramic or china versions of gourds.

The tea they prefer is yerba mate, herbal tea.

As you travel in Montevideo or other parts of Uruguay, you see people walking the streets carrying the mate and a termo (thermal vacuum flask) in their arms.

You can also find hot water stations to refill the termo while on the road.

THE MONUMENTAL CITY

Montevideo today is a handsome, tree-lined city with a large collection of handsome buildings, many of them from the late 1920s and early 1930s.

One of the signature structures is Palacio Salvo, ljust off the Plaza Independencia and at the base of the main commercial street, 18 de Julio Avenue.

It was designed by architect Mario Palanti, an Italian immigrant living in Buenos Aires, and he used a similar design for his Palacio Barolo there.

Palacio Salvo was for a while the tallest skyscraper in South America, standing 100 meters or 330 feet tall with its original radio antennas. It is a handsome structure, with broad shoulders up high. And it sets the tone for many other buildings up the road.

Palacio Salvo. Photos by Corey Sandler

Here’s a bit more of Montevideo:

And on the commercial street is a modern feature, the Fuente de los Candados, the Fountain of Locks. Lovers who enscribe their names and other information and attach locks to the fountain are said to be guaranteed success in their personal attachment. Whether it is a true tie that binds remains to be seen.

Fuente de los Candados. Photo by Corey Sandler

And then just outside the gate of the dock where Silver Muse is at rest today is a small park of maritime artifacts. Among them is the anchor of the German pocket battleship Graf Spee. That ship was damaged in a battle with British naval vessels near Punta del Este in 1939. The Graf Spee sought shelter in neutral Uruguay, but was forced to leave port within 72 hours and her commander chose to scuttle the ship in the River Plate rather than surrender her to the Allies.

The Anchor of the Graf Spee in Montevideo, Photo by Corey Sandler

THE ORIENTAL CITY

To this day, the official name of the country harkens back to the old Spanish name: La República Oriental del Uruguay, which can be translated as the “Oriental Republic of Uruguay” or the “Eastern Republic of Uruguay.”

It certainly is on the east coast of South America, but devoted readers of this blog may have noted a pattern in recent weeks in which we seem to regularly find the extremes of geography in this part of the world.

So here’s an answer that might be worth some points at Team Trivia:

Montevideo is the southernmost capital city in the Americas.

Buenos Aires, Argentina is about 17 minutes of Latitude or about 121 miles north. And Chile’s capital of Santiago is further north.

Stanley, the capital of the Falklands Islands, is definitely further south, but the Falklands are a British Overseas Territory and not an independent nation.

Tea is on me.

IT NEVER SNOWS IN MONTEVIDEO

Okay, so according to the weather records it almost never snows in the mostly sultry city of Montevideo. Just a dusting once a decade or so, but a major local event nevertheless.

But as Silver Muse was preparing to sail away for Buenos Aires, a heavy thunderstorm appeared over the city. The captain decided to delay our departure about an hour to let it past.

We, being hardy New Englanders, decided to dine outside around the pool.

First came the wind, then the rain, and then for a minute or so came hail. It was a sight to see, and then it was gone.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

11 November 2017:
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, U.K.:
For Queen and Sheep

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Two main islands, plus 776 islets and rocks.

A bit less than 3,000 residents, most of them holding full British citizenship.

About 600,000 sheep, and many thousands of Gentoo, Magellanic, and King penguins.

And scarcely a tree to hide behind.

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands. Photos by Corey Sandler

For this trophy, a significant naval, air, and ground war was fought in 1982 after Argentina gambled–incorrectly–that it could reassert its claim to the specks of land off its eastern shore and more than 8,000 miles or 13,000 kilometers from its current claimant, the United Kingdom.

The British backed up their claim to the Falklands, though at a loss of blood and treasure. The Argentines failed to regain what they call Las Malvinas although they still bang the drums from time to time.

  

It is worth noting, though, that our ship is sailing from Ushuaia, Argentina to the Falklands/Malvinas and will depart from there to Buenos Aires, Argentina by way of Montevideo, Uruguay.

It’s a demonstration of Peace Through Tourism. (There’s a corollary put forth by writer Thomas Friedman, called the McDonald’s Theory that says that no two countries that each have a McDonald’s have ever gone to war. The theory is not perfect, and The Falklands does not have a branch of the Golden Arches, but the point remains: a healthy trade in tourist dollars generally soothes the savage breast.)

So whose islands are they, anyway?

The English made the first known landing in 1690. France established a colony in 1764 but quickly departed.

In 1765, the British returned and claimed the islands. Five years later, a Spanish commander arrived from Argentina with five ships and 1,400 soldiers and forced the British to leave.

Britain and Spain almost went to war, but Britain decided it had other more important issues, like the pesky uprising in the American Colonies.

Spain administered the island from Montevideo, Uruguay until 1811 when it became distracted by the Peninsular War back home, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1833, the British returned to the Falkland Islands, acting like they never had left.

The invasion by the Argentines in 1982 was the result of a wobbly grasp on power by a military junta. wobbled in power back home, Argentina invaded the islands they call Las Malvinas. They lost.

Arcos Dorados is McDonald’s largest restaurant operator in Latin America and the Caribbean and its largest franchisee in the world. And they operate the Arcos Dorados (the Golden Arches) in Argentina. They opened their first McDonald’s in Argentina in 1986, four years after the war.

There’s no McDonald’s in the Falkland Islands. But many back home in the United Kingdom.

A VISIT TO BLUFF COVE

I went with guests today to Bluff Cove, a windswept beach and lagoon that is home to several hundred locals: Gentoo and King penguins, mostly.

It was obviously a formal day on the island, since they all were decked out in tuxedos.

Here’s a bit of what we saw:

We are off this afternoon for two days at sea, headed to Montevideo, Uruguay and then on to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

9 November 2017:
Ushuaia, Argentina:
Crossing the Continent Once Again

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Just about one month ago Silver Muse departed Fort Lauderdale in the Atlantic Ocean and proceeded to cross the Continental Divide through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean.

Yesterday we wound our way through the fjords and waterways that carve the bottom of South American continent into thousands of islands and rocks, heading from Punta Arenas toward the Northwest Arm of the Beagle Passage and on to Ushuaia, our first port of call in Argentina.

Our passage was southward and then east, a recrossing of the American continent that will lead us once again to the Atlantic.

USHUAIA: The Southern Place 

At the Dock in Ushuaia. Photos by Corey Sandler

We arrived at Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world.

Except that it really isn’t.

Punta Arenas, Chile, our port of several days ago, is the largest municipality in the region, with a population of more than 130,000. It sits 53 degrees 10 minutes South, which is north of Ushuaia, but here’s the fine print: Punta Arenas is on the mainland of South America while Ushuaia is on the island of Tierra del Fuego.

Ushuaia, Argentina, with about half the population, is at 54 degrees 48 minutes South, which by my calculations is about 95 miles closer to the Geographic South Pole.

But if your sole measurement is latitude, then you have to consider Puerto Williams, Chile, at 54 degrees, 56 minutes south, 6 miles closer to the South Pole. But it, too, is on an island: Isla Navarino in the Beagle Channel. And does a place with about 2,874 people have the right to call itself a city?

However you do the math, there are no cities or towns or other municipal entities further south than these three…unless you want to include research stations in the Antarctic.

Ushuaia. Photos by Corey Sandler

THE SOUTHERNMOST DUNGEON

On this visit, I went with guests on a tour that began at the Ushuaia Prison, a foreboding place that was the core of the community beginning about 1902. It was an effort by Argentina to plant its flag here near the bottom, and the prison held as many as 600 men at its peak.

Some called it the Southernmost Dungeon.

In a few weeks we will see a different, awful version when we visit Devil’s Island off the coast of French Guiana.

Conditions were harsh and the men were guarded closely, although it was also understood that there was little chance that many would attempt to escape into the cold and unforgiving nothingness all around.

The men were forced to work harvesting timber from the cold land of Tierra del Fuego, at first pulling the logs back to town on sledges. Eventually, though, the men worked to build and maintain the southernmost railroad in the world, cut through the forest to haul the logs back home.

The prison was shut in 1949, and the railroad stopped in the 1960s. A portion of the train track has been restored, with vintage steam locomotives brought from as far away as South Africa for the narrow-gauge track.

The height of the tree stumps in the “cemetery of trees” indicates when the cutting was done; stumps cut close to the ground were hand sawed or axed in summer, while those standing taller were cut down when snow was deep.

MAGELLAN BEFORE THE CHANNEL BORE HIS NAME

Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, sailing for Spain, was the first known European to visit the islands, in 1520.

He wrote that he saw many fires (fuego in Spanish) from his ship, and he believed they were signals by the natives hiding in the forest and waiting to ambush his armada.

Modern historians make a more benign judgment.

The fires, they say, were lit by the Yamana because it was cold.

Three hundred and ten years after Magellan came the first of two visits by the British Naval survey ship, HMS Beagle.

HMS Beagle in Tierra del Fuego, as painted by the ship’s draftsman, Conrad Martens

On his first voyage, in 1830, British commander Robert Fitzroy captured four native Fuegians after they stole a small boat from his ship. The abducted men included Orundellico.

Orundellico’s family was given a mother of pearl button; it is unclear whether they agreed to the exchange or if he was merely abducted.

He was given the name Jemmy or Jeremy Button, and he was brought back to England as a trophy, a “noble savage”. Jemmy Button eventually was brought home to Tierra del Fuego, and his name still has a strong effect amongst the dwindling number of indigenous people in the area.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

8 November 2017:
Garibaldi Glacier and the Avenue of Glaciers:
The Grand Procession

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

All day today, under fair winds and blue skies, Silver Muse passed from Punta Arenas, Chile into the Ballenero Channel and the the Brazo Noresta (Northwest Arm) of the Beagle Channel enroute to our next port of call, Ushuaia, Argentina.

In doing so we made a side journey into the Agostini National Park to take a peak at Garibaldi Glacier.

And then we returned to the Beagle Channel for a grand procession alongside the Romanche, Alemania, Francia, and Italia glaciers.

The good news is that this is one of most spectacular places on the planet.

The less-than-good news is that everywhere we looked we could see how much the glaciers have retreated and shrunk. And the relatively warm weather and sparkling blue skies we experienced were nice for us, but not so much for the health of the glaciers.

The last of the major glaciers, much to the satisfaction of our Italian captain Marco Sangiacomo, was the most attractive of them all and in relatively good shape. Putting on a Bella Figura, you might say.

The Italia Glacier saluted us with a large calving of ice, sending a boom across the channel.

All photos copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved.

 

7 November 2017:
Punta Arenas, Chile:
In the Footsteps of Shackleton

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’ve almost reached bottom.

Punta Arenas, Sandy Point, is the capital of Chile’s southernmost region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena.

Punta Arenas is on the Brunswick Peninsula north of the Strait of Magellan, mostly uninhabited except in and around the city, part of Chilean Patagonia.

GHOSTS IN THE CHANNEL

Monday afternoon, we sailed down the south arm of the Smyth Channel, a place that has been seen by uncounted thousands of ships passing to or from the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

The Kawésqar people lived along its coast for thousands of years.

But very few humans have left footprints on the mountains on both sides and with the exception of a few buoys, we saw nothing to tell us of our modern times.

Smyth Channel. Photo by Corey Sandler

Smyth Channel’s south arm is a continuation of the Sarmiento Channel.

Its north entrance is in the Nelson Strait at 51°36′10″S 74°48′12″W, between Charlton Cape and the western extreme of the Lobos Islands. Its southern end is at Manuel Rodriguez Island and Merino Peninsula on the mainland, where it opens into the Strait of Magellan.

As I mentioned, this channel has seen many ships—from dugout canoes to Spanish and Portuguese ships of exploration to sailing vessels to cruise ships. Not all of them made it all the way through.

At its southern end lie the wrecked steamships MoraledaMagadaPonte Verde, and Recreo.

SANTA LEONOR AT REST

And just short of the Strait of Magellan, at Shoal Pass, is the wreck of the SS Santa Leonor.

SS Santa Leonor. Photo by Corey Sandler

The ship entered service as the USS Riverside in 1944 during World War II.

The steel ship of 8,007 gross registered tons (GRT) was 150 meters or 492 feet long, and 21 meters or 69 feet wide. As first built for the US Navy she could carry 1,740 passengers or troops and 575 crew.

A Bayfield-class attack transport, she delivered troops to the battlefront in Asia and also served as a transport for wounded from Pearl Harbor back to California. She also sailed to Okinawa, Guam, the Philippines, and Korea.

Decommissioned in 1946, she was sold to Pacific Argentina Brazil lines and renamed SS P&T Forester and then to Moore McCormack Lines in 1957 as SS Mormacwave.

In 1966 she was sold for the final time to Grace Lines and SS Santa Leonor.

At the time of the accident she was travelling from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Vancouver, Canada with just a skeleton crew aboard.

A GOOD REASON TO SAY “STARBOARD” OR “PORT”

One way or another, the accident was the result of a navigational error.

An oft-repeated story—which may have some truth embedded in it—is that the captain and a Chilean pilot were having a conversation on the bridge as the vessel approached the narrow Shoal Pass.

According to the story, the captain finished his conversation by saying, “All right, pilot.”

And the helmsman responded by applying full right rudder, which sent the ship onto the island at full speed.

SS Santa LeonorPhoto by Corey Sandler

PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE

Magallanes is the Spanish version of the name of Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who sailed for Spain. While on his circumnavigation of the earth, he passed close to the present site of Punta Arenas in 1520.

Later came  Charles Darwin, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Ernest Shackleton.

The Beagle in the Straits of Magellan
Punta Arenas

Darwin came aboard the second visit of The Beagle, a brig-sloop of the Royal Navy.

Darwin’s observations on the round-the-world voyage helped form his scientific theories and made Beagle one of the most famous ships in history.

Darwin had his first sight of glaciers when they reached the Beagle Channel in January 1833, and wrote in his field notebook,

“It is scarcely possible to imagine anything more beautiful than the beryl-like blue of these glaciers, and especially as contrasted with the dead white of the upper expanse of snow.”

The city of Punta Arenas was originally established by Chile in 1848 as a tiny penal colony, mostly as a placeholder to maintain a claim to the isolated piece of land.

Punta Arenas grew in size and importance as shipping traffic increased, starting with the first wave of Gold Rushers from the United States and elsewhere beginning in 1849, moving down and around the bottom of South America and then back up to California.

Punta Arenas. Photos by Corey Sandler

Punta Arenas, although exposed to storms, was considered one of the most important ports in South America before the construction of the Panama Canal, for resupply of food and coal.

Punta Arenas is about 1,418 kilometers or 881 miles from the coast of Antarctica.

That is the reason the explorer Ernest Shackleton made Punta Arenas his base in 1916, as he planned the rescue of his crew from Elephant Island.

And that is why today it continues as one of the principal connections to Antarctica for the international research stations there.

A supply ship for the American research station in Antarctica

We also took a stroll to one of our favorite unusual spots in South America, the Cemetery of Punta Arenas.

And finally, we strolled through the fascinating old museum established by the Silesian missionaries of this region, with a collection of artifacts of the native peoples as well as industries of the area including whaling stations.

We are off tonight for a trip into the Beagle Channel and into the Agostini National Park for an up-close visit to the Garibaldi Glacier and later a procession along the Avenue of Glaciers.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

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4 November 2017:
Laguna San Rafael, Chile:
Where Glacier Meets the Sea

By Corey Sandler,  Destination  Consultant Silversea Cruises

Early Saturday morning we sailed into Laguna San Rafael, formed by the retreat of the substantial San Rafael Glacier.

We made our approach during the night and early morning along a 16-kilometer or 10-mile-long fjord.

The fjord is part of the huge Laguna San Rafael National Park of 17,420 square kilometers or 6,726 square miles.

The Northern Patagonian Ice Field is a vestige of the Patagonian Ice Sheet, an extensive ice sheet that covered all of Chilean Patagonia and the westernmost parts of Argentine Patagonia during the quaternary glaciations, the most recent of five ice ages identified in the history of the earth.

Northern Patagonia Ice Field

Quaternary glaciations began about 2.5 million years ago and exist until today.

Today, its glaciers are largely in retreat, but still cover 4,200 square kilometers or 1,600 square miles.

The ice field has survived because of elevation, as much as 1,500 meters or 4,900 feet, and a cool, moist, marine climate.

The ice field has 28 exit glaciers, the largest two—San Quintin and San Rafael—nearly reach sea level.

Laguna San Rafael. Photo by Corey Sandler
Laguna San Rafael. Photo by Corey Sandler

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

 

3 November 2017:
Puerto Chacabuco, Chile:
Volcanoes, Glaciers, Rivers, and Forest

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

In the morning we turned left from the Pacific Ocean to travel about 45 miles or 70 kilometers inland on the Aisén Fjord.

The fjord runs east-west, connecting to the Pacific Ocean via the Darwin Channel.

The entire length of the fjord is affected by a strong tidal rise and fall of as much as 8 meters or 26 feet.

At the head of the fjord is Puerto Chacabuco, the main regional trading port, and a port of call for ships sailing to the Laguna San Rafael National Park.

Until 1991, the local port had been on the other side of the fjord, at Puerto Aisén about 4 kilometers or two-and-a-half miles further up the Aisen River.

Human interference with nature—major burning of the Patagonian forests to create agricultural land caused major erosion and silting into the Aisen River and the eruption of the Mount Hudson volcano in 1991 put ash into the same river.

As a result, the port had to be moved closer to the coast where Puerto Chacabuco now stands.

Back to Hudson for a moment: when the volcano let loose in 1991, it was one of the largest eruptions in the twentieth century, a Plinian eruption that let loose 3 cubic kilometers or nearly 1 cubic mile of dense rock and other material.

Mount Hudson

Although no one died, most of the farms in the area were buried under ash and the upper reaches of the river Aisen was filled with material.

The reason you might not have heard about this particular volcanic event was that it took place not long after the massive Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines which was—in relative terms—easier for the world’s media and scientists to cover.

I went with guests today on a visit to the Rio Simpson National Reserve and then beyond to the interior of northern Patagonia.

Here is some of what we saw:

A week ago, in Arica, Chile I saw a flower unlike any I had seen before. I still don’t have a definitive answer but the consensus seems to be some sort of thistle.

Here is that flower once again:

Today I saw something that at a distance looked like a cousin. But I know its name: firebush.

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————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

 

2 November 2017:
Puerto Montt, Chile:
Heading Down and Around

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Benvenuto.

We’re off on the second leg of our circumnavigation of South America. On this voyage we’ll continue down the west coast of the continent with a few forays into the wondrous fjords and straits of Chile and then across the pointy bottom near Cape Horn before turning back to the north and beginning our trip northward.

Here’s our plan:

Silversea voyage 6722 from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires

The Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes from Our Ship at Anchor in Puerto Montt. Photos by Corey Sandler

We are aboard an Italian ship with a crew from Europe, the Philippines, and many other places, having departed the United States with a ship’s complement of Brits, Aussies, Americans, Europeans, and nearly every else.

All of which is appropriate as we head into Chile, Argentina, and Brazil which each have been greatly influenced by immigrants and outside powers. Spanish, British, German, French, Italian, and Croatian among them.

Artisans market, Puerto Montt

Puerto Montt is a fairly large community, nearly 200,000 in population, and by some accounts the fastest-growing city in Chile.

And it has a different story, with a history that only dates back to about 1853.

It was not a place established by the Spanish, but instead a purpose-built port and city created as a gateway into the interior at the southern end of the Central Valley.

From 1850 to 1875 this region encouraged the immigration of about 6,000 Germans.

Chile feared that its sparsely inhabited country—especially to the south—could come under control of foreign European powers seeking to establish new empires.

Across the nation, according to one estimate, about 500,000 Chileans have some German ancestry out of a total population of about 18 million.

The presence of the Germano-chilenos caused some complications and shades of gray in the leadup to World War II and the postwar years.

Today Puerto Montt’s cultural heritage mixes Chiloé culture with German heritage.

I went with guests on a wondrous journey from Puerto Montt to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park for closer views of Volcan Calbuco and the Petrohué Rapids.

Puerto Montt

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

31 October 2017:
Valparaiso, Chile:
A Steep Climb to Paradise

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Valparaiso gets it name from Old Spanish, the Valley of Paradise.

It would be easy to make a weak joke about Paradise Lost, or Paradise in Shambles…because the city of today is not exactly how many would describe a perfect, idyllic place.

But Valparaiso does have its charms, not the least of which is an exuberant embrace of color and art and resilience.

Valparaiso. All photos by Corey Sandler

The city is built into something on the order of 42 distinct hills, most of them rising very steeply from the waterfront.

Today Valparaiso celebrates its history of diversity, its colorful buildings, and the many murals created by graffiti artists on the streets, alleys, and stairways.

It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, for slightly unusual reasons, its “improvised urban design and unique architecture.”

And before that, in 1996, the World Monuments Fund, a non-government non-profit, declared Valparaíso’s unusual system of funicular lifts one of the world’s 100 most endangered historical treasures, in the company of Venice, the Nineveh and Nimrud Palaces of Iraq, and the Taj Mahal.

One of them is a steam-powered elevator to paradise.

Today I went with a group of guests on a trip up into the hills to visit the beautiful El Cuadro vineyard and winery.

On our way there, we passed by the Fonck Museum in Vina del Mar and paid homage to a Moai, one of the great stone figures from Easter Island, part of Chile 1,200 miles to the west.

EL CUADRO WINERY

For those guests leaving us here in Valparaiso, safe travels until we meet again. Arrivederci.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

30 October 2017:
Coquimbo, Chile:
Quiet and Serene

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’ve arrived at the waist of Chile, the slimmest part of the long and narrow nation.

The name Coquimbo comes from a Diaguita word meaning ‘place of calm waters’.

And when the naturalist Charles Darwin arrived in 1835, after his visit to Tierra del Fuego and just before his historic visit to the Galapago Islands, he wrote that the small town was “remarkable for nothing but its extreme quietness.”

Therefore it makes perfect sense that Coquimbo quietly merges with a neighboring city along the coast: La Serena.

Serena, as an adjective, means serene. As a noun, it refers to the soft evening dew.

Quiet, calm, and serene—with the exception of a long-ago history of pirates, and an everyday concern about an active earthquake fault.

SUNSHINE ON COQUIMBO

ABELONE AND FRESH FISH

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

28 October 2017:
Arica, Chile:
The Far North

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Over the years, I have come to realize that not every person walks about with a map of the world in their head, backed up by a collection of atlases back home. That would describe me, but I’m the first to admit that I am ever-so-slightly different from others.

SILVER MUSE IN ARICA

I don’t mind being the personal navigator for all who travel with me. I enjoy the mental gymnastics.

So, to set the stage: as we head down the coast of South America, we have now progressed from the deep south of Peru at Matarani to cross the border and arrive at the far north of Chile and the port city of Arica.

That part is fairly obvious. One complexity is that Chile also reaches to the bottom of the continent, so in a few days we will be making a left turn to the easternmost part of the country, at Tierra del Fuego, which touches the southernmost piece of Argentina.

And then after we round the bottom, our navigation will be the other way around, heading northeast to the Falkland Islands and then northward up the coast to Uruguay and back to the eastern shoulder of Argentina.

Stay with me for details…

Arica is just 11 miles or 18 kilometers south of the border with Peru, at the bend of South America’s western coast known as the Arica Elbow.

It got that way as the result of the Pacific War between Chile and the Peru/Bolivia; the Chileans won, and expanded their territory north and inland.

People settled at the Elbow is that this is where two lush valleys converge: the Azapa and Lluta.

FISHING BOATS IN ARICA HARBOR

Today I went with guests on a trip to see some of the geoglyphs of the Azapa valley, including La Tropilla, interpreted to be a depiction of a trading caravan from the Andes headed to the coast with a load of wool, potatoes, and charqui to trade. Charqui was salted and air dried meat…say the word a few times and you will see the origin of the English word jerky.

GEOGLYPHS OF THE AZAPA VALLEY

From there we proceeded to the Museum of San Miguel de Azapa which includes some of the finest artifacts of the ancient Chinchorro people. The mummies of the Chinchorro are believed to be the oldest in the world, as old as 8,000 years–the mummies of Egypt are about 3,000 years old.

MUSEUM OF SAN MIGUEL DE AZAPA

The grounds of the museum were beautifully landscaped. I’d welcome an identification of the flowers below:

The city of Arica includes some handsome colonial structures as well as two buildings designed by the engineering firm of Gustave Eiffel in Paris and shipped here for reconstruction. Here is the St. Mark’s Cathedral, made of iron:

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

27 October 2017:
Matarani, Peru:
The Deep South of Peru and La Ciudad Blanca of Arequipa

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Matarani is the deep south of Peru, a thin strip of desert with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the spine of the Andes to the east.

Peru’s second largest city (after Lima) is Arequipa, about 75 miles or 121 kilometers from Matarani, about two hours up in the foothills of the Andes,  at altitude 2,350 meters or 7,710 feet.

It’s a dramatic setting, and also about as close as many cruise passengers are likely to get to landlocked Bolivia.

And it’s not Mount Fuji in Japan, either, but it probably could pass for it in a movie background. Looming over the city is the El Misti Volcano, rising to 19,098 feet or 5,821 meters above sea level.

It is a stratovolcano, the type that is somewhat like a pressure cooker. It lets off a bit of steam every once in a while but mostly sits around in seeming quietude until it explodes violently.

And yes, it is still active, it last major eruption in 1985.

I traveled today with guests up to the base of the Andes to Arequipa, on a two-lane highway thick with trucks and buses and thin with asphalt and guardrails.

Here’s what we saw along the road:

ON THE ROAD

AREQUIPA: LA CIUDAD BLANCA

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

25 October 2017:
Pisco, Peru:
The UFO Refueling Station?

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Pisco is an island-like city in the midst of a desert-like stretch of southern Peru.

The surrounding desert was the home of the Nazca people…and, according to some, an airport for UFO landings.

And perhaps not coincidentally, it is the world headquarters for a very strong grape-based brandy.

An island in the desert with breweries for high-octane alcohol and an airport for aliens. Makes sense to me. (Just like Las Vegas…)

Speaking of booze, the firewater of this region is called Pisco, a colorless or yellowish brandy made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high-proof spirit.

It was developed by 16th century Spanish settlers as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was being imported from Spain.

Annual pisco production in Peru is about 10 million liters, but they don’t much drink it here.

Like the asparagus crop, though, Peru makes the product mostly for export with neighboring Chile a major consumer.

Here in Pisco, they prefer to offer visiting aliens a whiskey to refuel their spaceship.

Sadly, Pisco was all but leveled in the earthquake of 2007.

Pisco, An island in the Desert. Photos by Corey Sandler

LOS ISLAS BALLESTAS

On this visit, I went with guests on a boat trip due West offshore to the amazing Ballestas Islands, a mini-Gallapagos that is home to uncounted millions of birds, sea lions, and other creatures.

Along the way we sailed abeam of El Candellario, an ancient figure drawn into the sand and soil of the coast, a cousin to the better-known Nazca Lines inland. No one knows what the drawing means, although it almost certainly does not represent a candelabra, since the ancients had no such device. It may represent a cactus, or it may be a road sign pointing the way inland to Pisco or out to sea toward the Ballestas.

Here is some of what we saw:

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

23-24 October 2017:
Callao, Peru:
The Port of Lima

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Here’s the answer to a question for team trivia: residents of the major Peruvian port of Callao are known as chalacos.

The city was founded by the Spanish in 1537, just two years after Lima. It soon became the main port for Spanish commerce in the Pacific.

At the height of the Viceroyalty, virtually all goods produced or plundered in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina were carried over the Andes by mule to Callao.

From there the cargo was shipped to Panama. It was nearly four centuries too early for a passage through the canal, so a land route was used instead.

Cargo was carried overland across the isthmus, and then loaded onto galleons to be transported to Spain. The Spanish maintained strongholds in Cuba and in Cartagena in what is now Colombia.

Lima, Peru
Lima, Peru

A COLONIAL TOUR

Today I went with a group of guests on a tour concentrating on the Spanish  Colonial history of Lima.

Our first stop was at the amazing Casa Aliaga, a home which has been in the hands of the Aliaga family for more than 17 generations from 1535 through today. It is furnished with items including some dating back to the times of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

Here’s a bit of what we saw:

CASA ALIAGA

Photos by Corey Sandler

SAN PEDRO CHURCH

Nearby was Presidential Palace of Peru, guarded by a squad of ramrod straight soldiers:

CASA SAN MARCO

And then we visited a small portion of the sprawling San Marco University, the oldest university in the Americas, dating from 1551. We were greeted by several actors in period dress, including a young woman who showed the connection between Peru and Colonial Spain and the Moorish influence in Andalusia.

And she did so in a very coy way.

THE KON TIKI CONNECTION

Norwegian explorer and author Thor Heyerdahl believed that people from South American could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.

Norwegian explorer and author Thor Heyerdahl believed that people from South American could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.

In 1947, it was from Callao that Norwegian explorer and author Thor Heyerdahl set sail in his balsa wood raft Kon Tiki, on a successful voyage to Polynesia to support his theaoty that people from South American could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.

Today that theory is subject to some questioning, but no one questions the seamanship and bravery of Heyerdahl and his crew.

Lima, the capital and the largest city of Peru, lies about 9 miles or 15 kilometers to the south.

With a population of almost 10 million, Lima is the second-largest city in the Americas, behind São Paulo and before Mexico City.

That puts about one-third of the entire nation’s population in and around Lima, a handsome and bustling city that brings together things colonial and modern.

UP TO MACHU PICCHU

Up in the interior of Peru, along a magnificent mountain pass from the city of Cusco, lies the mystical city of Machu Picchu. You cannot sail there by cruise ship (or any other waterway).

Some of our guests headed there on an extended land excursion. Here is some of what I saw when last we made a pilgrimage there:

Machu Picchu. All photos by Corey Sandler
Machu Picchu

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

22 October 2017:
Salaverry, Peru:
A Visit to the Chimú Capital of Chan-Chan

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

In relative terms, Peru is a South American success story. Peru is classified as upper middle income by the World Bank, moving upward.

Its total GDP is somewhere around the 39th largest in the world, with a per capita GDP above $12,000.

But there is a major divide between the relative prosperity of the coast and abject poverty in the high Andes.

The economy is based mostly on exports: copper, gold, zinc, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, services, and fish meal.

Silver Muse docked at Salaverry, a small industrial port town.

There’s not a lot to recommend in Salaverry, other than a parking space for our ship.

The focus of our visit is the old Spanish Colonial city of Trujillo, about 14 kilometers or 8 miles north.

Also, the amazing ruins of the adobe cities of the Mocha and the Chimú capital city of Chan-Chan.

Today, on a pleasant early spring day in Peru, I went with guests to Chan-Chan, a huge Chimú site. We toured one of the sprawling temples and explored the artwork and architecture of a place frozen in time from about 1450.

CHAN-CHAN

Some of the internal artwork under preservation at Chan-Chan.

Watching over us, a pair of buitres, vultures whose ancestors probably were here six centuries ago.

CENSUS DAY

As it happened, today was the day of the Peruvian National Census, conducted once every 10 years. In an interesting arrangement, all citizens, residents, and tourists are required to stay in their homes or hotels between 8 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon as census workers spread out across the nation.

In a last-minute ruling, the government altered the rules slightly, allowing tourists arriving on the day of the census to come ashore and spend time (and money) in a few select places. And so we did.

At Chan-Chan, I came across a special representative of the Tourist Police, hard at work.

TRUJILLO AND SALAVERRY, PERU

Trujillo, Peru. Photo by Corey Sandler
Coastal Peru. Photo by Corey Sandler
Trujillo, Peru. Photo by Corey Sandler
Trujillo, Peru. Photo by Corey Sandler

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

20 October 2017:
Manta, Ecuador:
Take Your Hat

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Here in Ecuador (as in Equator) you need a good hat. It’s not a fashion statement; it’s an essential.

Manta, the largest seaport in Ecuador, is a bit less than one degree south of the Equator, about 65 miles or 105 kilometers below.

It is nearby the place where a famous type of millinery for men and women is made, but that article of clothing bears the name of another country. The famous Panama Hat was first made here, and exported to the workers laboring in the hot sun.

Panama Hats in Ecuador. Photo by Corey Sandler

Today they still make some very fine Panama Hats in Ecuador. But if you don’t look very closely at the label, you might find that your sombrero nuevo was hecho en China.

Though you may never have been here, chances are pretty good you’ve opened a tin of food that was packed here. This is one of the major sources of canned (and fresh) tuna.

Just ask Bumble Bee, Van Camps, and a half-dozen other major companies with canneries here. And the most valuable fresh tuna are packed in ice, loaded on jets, and shipped around the world to connoisseurs.

Tuna coming ashore in Manta. Photo by Corey Sandler
Street vendor in Manta. Photo by Corey Sandler

And although huge, goofy-looking Manta Rays are indeed found in the waters near Manta, they’re also quite common in many other places.

Manta Rays get their name from the Spanish word manta which means blanket, which is a reference to their shape.

Manta, Ecuador gets its name from the Manta tribe, a group of people that was subsumed into the oncoming Inca tide in the 15th century.

Back to hats.

I am fond of a quote from Henry David Thoreau, the champion of simplicity. He too, though, prized his hat: “Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.”

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

18 October 2017:
Transit of the Panama Canal:
Floating Across the Continental Divide

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Silver Muse arrives at the Miraflores Locks at the Pacific side of the Panama Canal, 18Oct 2017. 

Early Wednesday morning, before sunrise, Silver Muse took her place in line for a trip through one of humankind’s greatest adjustments to the face of the earth: the Panama Canal.

We arrived outside of Limon Bay in the Caribbean Sea and then moved slowly south to the Atlantic Approach of the canal.

Yes, south. Although we are moving from the east coast of the American continent to the west, at the narrow isthmus through Panama the land bends nearly 90 degrees. And so we enter from the north and exit into the Pacific Ocean sailing south.

Map data (c) OpenStreetMap (and) contributors, CC-BY-SA

That’s just one of many things around which mariners and travelers need to wrap their mind. The most astounding is the fact that our ship—for the very first time in her young career—will rise about 80 feet in three steps at the first set of locks and then descend about the same distance at the end of the day as we enter the Pacific.

Silver Muse makes her maiden transit of the Panama Canal. Photos by Corey Sandler

In between, we sailed the fresh water of Gatun Lake, created in the early 20th century by the construction of a dam across the Chagres River.

The Panama Canal itself is nearly unchanged from the way it was when it began operation in 1914. Last year, a new set of wider and longer locks were opened alongside the original ones; think of them as new entry ramps to an existing watery highway.

I have made the passage many times, and it always is a thrill to view the technology and relive the history of its construction.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

 

17 October 2017:
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica:
The Atlantic Side of the Rich Coast

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Buenos dias.

¿Cómo vas?

¿Pura vida?

Muy bien, gracias a Dios.

There’s your basic meet-and-greet for Ticos, also known as Costa Ricans.

Good day.

How are things going?

Pura vida?

Very well, thank God.

The one phrase you might not have recognized is one that pretty well sums up the Costa Rican character.

Pura vida.

Literally, it translates as pure life, except in proper Spanish that would be vida pura.

He looks cool, at least from a distance.

The Costa Rican expression is the rough equivalent of “full of life” or “real life” or “cool.” Or perhaps, hakuna matata.

It’s an all-purpose phrase, used as a greeting and a farewell. You can use it to say thanks, or to express satisfaction. It’s hard to use it wrong.

The phrase arrived in Costa Rica in 1956 in a Mexican movie. In that film, pura vida was the expression of eternal optimism by a character who can’t seem to do anything right.

Here is Costa Rica, though, they seem to be doing many, many things quite right.

It’s a special place, notably different from its neighbors in Central America in lots of good ways.

Since 1948, Costa Rica is arguably the most stable democracy in Central America and among the better-functioning longstanding governments in the world.

Nearly universal literacy, national health care, an economy that has moved on from agriculture to ecotourism.

No army, no navy, no air force. Just a civilian police force.

It helps to have some friends with benefits, including the United States, available in an emergency.

We’re coming in to the Atlantic or Caribbean side of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica (the Rich Coast) is one of eight countries to have ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific: Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia…and Panama.

And when we leave Puerto Limon, it is to Panama where we shall head, for our luxurious passage between the seas.

A STEAMY FIELD OF DREAMS

In a typical Major League Baseball game in the United States and Canada, an average of 100 baseballs are used.

Why so many? Some become scruffed or dirty in play, some go into the seats as foul balls, and a few make their way over the fence for a home run. The average lifespan of a baseball is just two plays.

And it is essential that—as much as possible—that all baseballs are close to identical: the same size, weight, and construction.

A Rawlings factory was established in Costa Rica in 1987, and it served as the exclusive provider of baseballs for the major leagues until 2013.

The factory is in Turrialba, east of the capital city of San Jose up in the mountains of Costa Rica and they make about 2.4 million baseballs per year, the vast majority of which are shipped to the United States.

The baseballs are mostly made by hand by three hundred qualified sewers, the best of whom can make three balls per hour. They earn less than $100 per week, making balls for athletes who earn many millions of dollars throwing, catching, or hitting.

The balls are made of horsehide or cowhide, tightly held together 108 hand stitches around a rubber wrapped cork center. Each ball, between 9 and 9¼ inches in circumference, weigh 5¼ ounces. must have 108 perfect stitches.

Despite the major production of baseballs, the sport itself is not very popular in Costa Rica. The leading sport is football, although many athletes here are very well aware of the success of players who have come from nearby Panama (Mariano Rivera), Nicaragua, Cuba, and hundreds from the Dominican Republic where the production of baseball players is a major industry.

Earlier this year, the Houston Astros signed 19-year-old pitching prospect Bryan Solano, born and raised here in Puerto Limon. He likely will have five or more years of work in the minor leagues, with hopes of someday taking the mound in a major league game.

But I could not pass up the chance to visit El Estadio de Beisbol in steamy Puerto Limon today to pay homage to a field of dreams.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Cruise Photos and Stories by Corey Sandler