All posts by Corey Sandler

Corey Sandler has been a storyteller all of this life. He worked as a newsman for Gannett Newspapers and later as a correspondent for The Associated Press before entering the worlds of magazine and book publishing. He has written more than 200 books on history, travel, sports, technology, and business. He currently is a destination and special interest lecturer for Silversea Cruises, one of the world's best luxury cruise lines. If you'd like to contact him, please send an e-mail to this address: corey[AT]sandlerbooks.com (Replace the [AT] with the @ symbol, please.)

6 December 2017:
Bridgetown, Barbados:
A Pair of Queens

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Barbados, along with Jamaica, is one of the most English-like islands in the Caribbean.

That stands to reason, since its first permanent settlers arrived from England in 1627 and to some extent never left, although the population today are mostly descendants of African slaves or indentured servants from India.

Barbados became an independent state in 1966. But Queen Elizabeth II is still the constitutional monarch.

And so on Barbados they love their cricket and their rum, often combining the both under the Caribbean sun. And you can enjoy afternoon tea in places like Greenwich, Chancery Lane, Newbury, Hastings, or Marlowe.

And the other queen? Robin Fenty, otherwise known as the mega pop star Rihanna, born near Bridgetown and today existing in a world of her own making.

This marks the end of our voyage on Silver Muse, which began  two months ago in Fort Lauderdale. We expect to be back aboard our sister ship Silversea Silver Spirit in the spring of 2018, in the Mediterranean, then Silver Wind in Norway and Iceland, and later in the year back on Silver Spirit for a transatlantic crossing from London and visits to Montreal, Quebec City, Boston, and New York in the fall. I hope you will join us here in these pages. Safe travels!

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

4 December 2017:
Devil’s Island, French Guiana:
Hell in Paradise

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Devil’s Island, L’île du Diable, is one of the most evocative, terrifying, inspiring, and memorable places I know of.

You cannot visit Devil’s Island without some of it staying with you the rest of your life.

The good news, of course, is that we are sailing in on one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world.

And the even better news is that we will be sailing away in the early afternoon, just in time for lunch and a Piña Colada by the pool.

It was not at all like that for the 80,000 or so guests who checked in to Devil’s Island between 1852 and 1953.

We arrived today under bluish skies, but as close to 100 percent humidity as I can imagine. Half an hour after tendering ashore with the first group of guests, the skies opened. I have been less wet inside a shower stall. But eventually the rain ended and we headed for the cells of the convicted, the tighter quarters of the condemned, and only slightly less awful holes for those held in solitary confinement.

Devil’s Island, across the narrow and treacherous strait that separates it from L’île Royale. Photo by Corey Sandler

Devil’s Island and the two nearby islands of L’île Royale  and L’île Saint-Joseph, as well as the mainland of French Guiana was used by the French as a penal colony for 101 years. Collectively they bear the ironic name of Les Îles du Salut (Islands of Salvation).

And to be precise, we visited L’île Royale, which was a general prison camp and administrative center and home to some of the cells.

Photos by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

In 1895, French army captain Alfred Dreyfus was unjustly convicted of treason and sent to Devil’s Island in 1895. The French author Emile Zola helped bring about a retrial, and eventually Dreyfus was exonerated.

The prisons were kept open during World War II, but from 1946 until 1953, one by one the prisons were closed. The Devil’s Island facility was the last to be closed.

in 1970 came the book Papillon, published as a memoir by a former prisoner, Henri Charrière in 1970.

Charriere’s book was an international bestseller, and in 1973 the film Papillon, starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman made the story part of the global cultural DNA.

Historians say not all of Charrière’s recounting is accurate, but the general tone of awful despair is true. You can feel it in your bones when you visit.

I’ve been to hell in paradise half a dozen times, and escaped successfully each time. And yet it draws me back.

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

1 December 2017:
Fortaleza, Brazil:
The Fortress City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our seventh and final destination in Brazil was Fortaleza, the Fortress, population more than 2.3 million, the largest of Brazil’s northern cities and fifth largest in the country.

Here in Fortaleza, we are near the part of Brazil closest to Europe, about 5,608 kilometers or 3,484 miles from Lisbon, Portugal.

On February 2, 1500, the Spaniard Vicente Pinzón landed in the cove here, but he was very much out of place.

The Treaty of Tordesillas, the 1494 papal-organized division of the new world into areas of control for Portugal and Spain put this part of South America on the Portuguese side of the ledger.

Proper colonization began more than a century later, in 1603, when the Portuguese Pero Coelho de Souza constructed the Fort of São Tiago and the settlement of Nova Lisboa (New Lisbon).

THE METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL OF FORTELEZA

The Cathedral, begun in 1938, was finished in 1978. It seats 5,000 people. Photos by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

The French, who were not included in the pope’s division of the new world, were poking around this part of the world—including in what is now French Guiana and Guyana—and fought a battle against the Portuguese here in 1612.

After a victory over the French, the Portuguese expanded their fort, renamed as Forte de São Sebastião.

But the fortress could not withstand a Dutch invasion which began in the Brazilian Northeast in 1630.

And then in battles with the Portuguese and natives in 1644 the fort was destroyed.

In response, the Dutch West Indies Company—a government licensed private company that operated with war powers—a new fortress on the banks of the river Pajeú was erected.

Fort Schoonenborch, or “graceful stronghold” opened in 1649.

When the Dutch were forced to pull out of Brazil in 1654, the Portuguese renamed the Dutch fortress as Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora de Assunção (Fort of Our Lady of the Assumption), the source of the name for today’s city of Fortaleza.

On a tour today we visited the Cathedral as well as the Theatro José de Alencar in Fortaleza. Named after a prominent playwright, the imposing structure–built mostly of wrought iron–was completed in 1910.

While we were there, a ballet troupe was practicing for a performance of “The Pharoah’s Daughter”,  or “La Fille du Pharaon,”

This is a well-regarded but not often-produced work choreographed by the Russian master Marius Petipa to the music of the Italian composer Cesare Pugni and using the libretto of the French writer Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges.

It was first presented at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1862.

And now this cosmopolitan mix was on stage in Fortaleza, Brazil.

I explored the theatre from bottom to top, including the attic which contained the stained glass signage for this national treasure.

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

29 November 2017:
Maceió, Brazil:
Dutch Retreat

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Cruises

When we start a cruise, the captain is given his instructions. The navigator prepares charts (mostly electronic these days) that are intended to take us to each of the ports of call. And a computer program calculates the necessary speed for the ship to make it from point to point.

And then stuff happens.

High winds, rough seas, whales in our path, the occasional mechanical problem, and traffic getting in and out of ports.

It’s all part of the adventure of going to sea.

We were scheduled to go to Natal, up on the shoulder of Brazil. But a few days ahead of our call, our captain was informed that the port was doing some work on the pier and we had no place to dock.

So instead, we headed for Maceió, a dot on the map of the huge country of Brazil. Few of us had even heard of the place.

Brazil is the largest country in South America, and home to more than 208 million people.

That dot on the map that is Maceió, is home to more than a million people.

Brazil never ceases to surprise.

Oh, and one more thing. A few days ago in the small seaside village of Buzios, the chain attached to one of our ship’s 7-ton anchors snapped. The chain and the anchor disappeared into the silt on the bottom of the harbor and despite several hours of searching by divers they could not be found.

We sailed on without the anchor and hundreds of feet of chain.

We have a second anchor and chain, on the port side. And we carry a spare anchor on the foredeck of the ship.

And so part of the day in Maceió—for the crew—was devoted to working with a shoreside crane to lift the extra crane onto the pier and then attach it to the chain.

The process is much, much more complex than changing a flat tire.

A crane on the dock attaches to the spare anchor on the foredeck.

Captain Marco Sangiacomo, master of the Silver Muse, watches the initial lift.

Over the side to the dock, where the anchor was attached to chain from within the ship,

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

WHY IS MACEIȮ HERE?

Maceió is an indigenous word that means puddles or ponds of water, and there are many.

Some form lagoons and others flow into the sea.

The reason for the water is prodigious rainfall up in the hills.

The reason for Maceió and Natal was location, a straight shot southwest about 1,800 miles from Dakar, Senegal.

The Dutch moved south from Suriname and set up sugar plantations and mills in the early 1600s. They also attacked and occupied parts of Natal and Fortaleza,

And the story is that local Portuguese settlers took to the hills to avoid the attack.

And then came a prodigious rainfall, which caused landslides and flooding and pushed the Dutch away.

Along the coast are local sailing boats, called Jangada, which once existed in most of Brazil before the Europeans arrived.

They have a high, curved bow which allows them to breach high seas, and a sail—similar to a lateen—that allows sailing very close to the wind.

They are very advanced in that feature but that design dates back all the way to Ancient Greece.

When the Portuguese came to Brazil they banned the use of the jangada because they were deemed to be a threat to the colonial power’s ability to govern. The only area to hold onto the design was norther Brazil, a region that went back and forth between Portuguese and Dutch control many times in the early 17th century.

Later today—we hope with a new anchor in place—we plan to move on to our final destination in Brazil, Fortaleza.

Another dot on the map: more than 2.3 million residents, the largest of Brazil’s northern cities.

————

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 November 2017:
Salvador de Bahia, Brazil:
Carnival and Candomblé

  • By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Salvador de Bahia is Brazil’s third most-populous city, behind São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Salvador is home to about 3 million residents in the city and about 4 million in the metropolitan area.

And its Carnival celebration—not Rio de Janeiro’s—is claimed by some to be the largest party in the world. It would be difficult to perform an actual count, but it certainly is very, very large and involving nearly everyone in town plus visitors for a full week. Just the organizing of the event involves about 100,000 people.

COMING IN TO SALVADOR

Photos by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

Salvador was founded by the Portuguese in 1549 as the first capital of Brazil, making it one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas.

Salvador’s considerable wealth and status during colonial times can still be seen in the magnificence of its old palaces, churches and convents, most of them from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The colorful Pelourinho district of the upper town, the Historic Center of Salvador, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a well-preserved Portuguese colonial town with a somewhat off-color back story.

As the first capital of Portuguese America, Salvador was a center of slave labor and had its pillories, or “pelourinhos” installed in open squares to administer punishment.

The local cuisine is mostly based on African recipes and spices. Many dishes are prepared with azeite-de-dendê, an oil extracted from palm trees brought from West Africa in colonial times.

Here in the Salvador region, most of the slaves were brought from Sub-Saharan Africa, especially the Yoruba-speaking nation, present-day Benin.

The enslaved were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism, but their original religions came into the mix, forming the syncretic religion Candomblé, which survived despite prohibition and persecution.

The slaves managed to preserve their religion by attributing the names and characteristics of Yorùbá deities to Catholic saints with similar qualities.

Candomblé is considered to have originated in Salvador, and it continues to be centered here; about two million followers are in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela.

The most obvious place where Candomblé and Roman Catholicism come together is at The Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim (Our Lord of the Good End.)

The most famous Catholic Church of Salvador, inaugurated in 1754 on a hill in the Lower Town, and is the site of a famous festival held each January.

The veneration of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, represented by the crucified Jesus in the moment of his death) is an old tradition in Portugal that was imported to Brazil during colonial times.

Faithful make an 8-kilometer or 5-mile procession to the Bonfim Church, led by by Bahia women in traditional white costume with broad skirts.

When they reach Bonfim, the women wash the steps and the square in front of the church with perfumed water, while dancing and singing chants in Yoruba.

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

26 November 2017:
Buzios, Brazil:
From a Tank Top and Jeans

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Armação dos Búzios  is about 105 miles or 170 kilometers northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

Armação can refer to a small armory, or to a frame erected for the processing of whales.

You can call it Buzios.

Its history reads somewhat like an improbable beach blanket movie script, but it has the advantage of being true.

In the early 1900s, the sleepy little fishing village with at least two dozen beautiful beaches became a favored getaway for Carioca high society—the moneyed people of Rio.

And then, in 1964, the rest of the world caught on.

In that year, a not-very camera-shy French actress, famous for her face, figure, and credited with popularizing the bikini swimsuit—as if that needed any assistance—came to town and almost everything changed.

I’m speaking, of course, of Brigitte Bardot, who made a vacation trip to Rio with her Brazilian boyfriend of the time.

When they arrived in Rio, they were hounded by paparazzi. So they broke away to a quieter place: Buzios.

At the time, the small town had no electricity and life there was very simple.

And Bardot liked it very much.

Today there are streets, a movie theater, shops, and other places named after Bardot. There’s even a bronze statue of her along the beach—one of the few, if not the only one  in the world that shows a woman in blue jeans and a tank top.

Today, Buzios is home to about 24,000 people, although that number can swell greatly with visitors, mostly from Brazil and Argentina.

It has a string of beautiful beaches on an 8-kilometer or 5-mile-long peninsula. And some of the sun worshipers wear (if that is the word) beach apparel that would make Bardot blush.

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

23-25 November 2017:
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
A City of Marvels

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We are here in Rio de Janeiro for three days, Thursday through Saturday night. I wonder if there’s a party going on somewhere?

That may be the silliest question ever posed about Rio de Janeiro, the River of January.

Rio to the world.

Cidade Maravilhosa, or the Marvelous City to local boosters.

Whatever you call it, Rio–Brazil’s second largest metropolitan area, after São Paulo, is its most famous city to many people.

It is one of the relatively few places on the planet whose name immediately conjures up a spectacular image that combines natural beauty and human exuberance.

Say Rio and you think of the harbor framed by the dramatic Pão de Açúcar or Sugar Loaf peak, and also Mount Corcovado, topped by the colossal statue Cristo Redentor, Christ the Redeemer.

Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer. Photos by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

Sugarloaf, as seen from Urca Hill. Photos by Corey Sandler

Corcovado from Sugarloaf. Photos by Corey Sandler

In between, the beaches of Copacabana, Leblon, and Ipanema, usually populated by natural attractions barely covered from the sun.

Copacabana. Photo by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

Ipanema Beach. Photos by Core Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

There’s also the Sambódromo, ground zero for the largest Carnaval celebration in the world, and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums.

Maravilhosa indeed.

Europeans first encountered Guanabara Bay on New Year’s Day, January 1 of 1502, and apparently running short of saints’ names to apply to places, the Portuguese expedition under explorer Gaspar de Lemos called the beautiful inlet Rio de Janeiro, January River.

The city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro was founded on March 1, 1565. Sebastian was the namesake and patron of the Portuguese monarch Dom Sebastião I.

The Portuguese installed sugar plantations, which were very profitable as long as you didn’t have to pay wages to the many workers required to plant, harvest, and process the cane.

That, of course, meant that millions of slaves were brought to Brazil, the single largest destination of that sorry trade.

One of the reason why different islands in the Caribbean, and different nations in Central and South America have differing cultures is that the vast numbers of slaves brought to each area came from different parts of the vast continent of Africa.

In Rio, most of the slaves came from Angola or Mozambique, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in West Africa.

The samba (from Bahia with Angolan influence) and the famous local version of the carnival (from Europe) first appeared under the influence of the black community in the city.

All of this is on display at this little party, Carnaval, which is held 40 days before Easter, starting on Friday and ending on Fat Tuesday.

Dating back to about 1723, by most accounts it is the biggest carnival in the world, with something on the order of 2 million people on the streets each day, some of whom probably do not go home for the entire celebration.

There are tons of feathers, thousands of drums, and acres of uncovered skin.

And the preparation goes on almost all year. Here’s a street scene we observed near one of the warehouses where costumes and floats for Carnival are prepared and stored. I’m still not sure what exactly was going on.

Photo by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

And then along the waterfront, where our ship is docked, many of the old warehouses have been decorated in celebration of the melting pot that is Brazil.

Street Art and Culture Near the Port. Photos by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

Among the new additions to the marvelous city is the Museum of Tomorrow, an eclectic collection within another extraordinary building designed by the Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava.

And then tucked into many of the hills of the city are reminders of the vast disparity between the haves and the have-nots, the favelas that hold hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who can glimpse but not partake in most of the marvels.

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 November 2017:
Paraty, Brazil:
Reflections of Gold and Diamonds

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Paraty,  our second port of call in Brazil, is about 240 miles east of Rio de Janeiro .

Yes, east.

We are nearing the shoulder of Brazil where it extends out from the South American continent.

Without studying the globe, it is easy to overlook the fact that easternmost Brazil is much farther east than anywhere in North America.

Brazil’s furthest east point, near Recife, it is at about the same longitude on the globe as the center of Greenland. Eastern Brazil is a full hour ahead or later than New York or Florida.

Paraty is a well-preserved Portuguese Colonial and Brazilian Imperial town, with a population of about 36,000.

This place reminds us more than a little of our home island of Nantucket, thousands of miles above us in the North Atlantic. Nantucket, like Paraty, was once a place of immense wealth. And both places came to a shuddering halt about the same time, in the mid-19th century, when their core economies collapsed. Both places went into a near-abandonment and both places have had the wisdom not to allow urban renewal in the modern age.

Paraty is essentially an unchanged Portuguese Colonial port town of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Here is some of what we saw today, on a hot and drizzly day. I found reflections everywhere I looked.

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

Paraty is located on what the tourism folk would have you call the Costa Verde (the Green Coast), a lush, green corridor that runs along the coastline of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

The town is located on the Bay of Ilha Grande, which is dotted with many tropical islands.

Rising as high as 1,300 meters or 4,300 feet above sea level behind the town are tropical forests, mountains, and waterfalls.

More than 80 percent of Paraty’s territory is protected by conservation strictures of one sort or another, with about two-thirds of the town itself within Serra da Bocaina National Park.

In 1696, extremely rich gold mines were found in the mountains of Minas Gerais, inland.

Paraty became an export port for gold to Rio de Janeiro and from there on to Portugal.

The ensuing gold rush led to the construction of the “Caminho do Ouro” or “Gold Trail”, a 1200-kilometer or 750-mile road, paved in steep areas with large stones, which connected Paraty to Diamantina, a diamond mining center that connected onward to the gold mines.

The Gold Trail was used to transport not only the precious metal to Paraty, but also to convey supplies, miners, and African slaves by mule train over the mountains.

The Gold Trail fell into disuse because of attacks on ships carrying gold to Rio de Janeiro by pirates who frequented the islands and coves of the Bay of Angra dos Reis.

Eventually a safer overland route from Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro was created.

And then the gold itself began to run out in the late 18th century, and Paraty declined.

Two substantial sections of the original Gold Trail have been excavated near Paraty and are now a popular tourist destination for hiking.

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 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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