By Corey Sandler
We flew south all through the night from New York to Santiago, Chile. We left the wintry East Coast of the United States and landed in summery South America.
Viking’s Viking Sun will spend the next 28 days heading northwest and then north, calling at ports in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and then San Diego and Los Angeles in the United States.
This is just one month in a record-setting eight-month-long World Cruise. We will cross the Equator as we sail along the appropriately named nation of Ecuador. In fact, across the eight months of this cruise, this ship will cross the Equator four times heading south then north then south then north again. A hearty few dozen guests will be aboard for the entire journey, while others will partake of various segments.
I’ll be posting photos and comments here throughout this cruise. I hope you’ll join me here.
9-10 December: Valparaiso, Chile
11 December 2019: Coquimbo (La Serena), Chile
As is typical for coastal towns in this part of the world, dawn arrived gray and cool. By midday, it brightened just a bit, and then–almost as if controlled by a clock–the sun broke through at 2pm. By 6 tonight, we can expect warmth and a rising wind.
Except for the occasional semi-tropical storm, local weathermen don’t have an awful lot more to talk about.
I went with guests on a trip up the coast to the market town of La Serena, perusing barrels of olives. This is somewhat close to a Mediterranean climate; Chilean wine is better known that their olives, but both grow up in the hills. A local favorite is aceitunas sin amargo, large black olives said to be without amargo or bitterness.
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The content of this blog is entirely mine, and is not endorsed or approved by any cruise line or other entity.
13 December 2019: Iquique, Chile
It’s hard to have more contrast in one day than we did today, and that’s an extraordinary thing.
We arrived early this morning at the port of Iquique in Chile, an uncommon sight in this place. They receive only about eight cruise ships a year here.
And then I went with a group of guests from sea level– because that is where oceangoing ships generally sail– up into the altiplano, the high desert. About two hours drive brought us into the Atacama Desert and the spectacular Huasco Salt Flats.
The flats are at about 3,830 meters above the sea, or about 12,565 feet.
We had a bright sun and tolerable temperatures and pink flamingoes and llamas and alpaca. Oh, and I took some pictures….
The altiplano is home to some of Chile’s abundant mineral wealth. It all began with saltpeter a century ago, used at first for gunpowder and then as a fertilizer.
Today, copper is king, along with valuable metals and minerals including molybdenum and lithium. That last substance is an essential component of batteries for things like cellphones and tablets.
Our trip back to the port in the afternoon was delayed because of a convoy of some of the largest machines on land: mining excavators, gigantic dump trucks, and support equipment.
They would make great beach toys.
Here’s some of what we saw today: