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.

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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