Day 3 |
Nov 16, 2011

Niebla, Valdivia, Chile 

By Luciano Bernacchi, Naturalist, Birder, Glacier Guide

Co-ordinates: 39 51 59 S, 73 23 09 W
Weather: Mostly clear, some clouds
Air Temperature: 5ºC
Pressure: 1006 hPa
Wind: Calm, a bit windy in the afternoon

After the day at sea, leaving from Valparaiso at the start of our voyage, I was looking forward to a day out in the area of Valdivia as we head south to explore the Chilean Fjords.

I woke up as the Silver Explorer was dropping anchor in the area known as Niebla, which in Spanish translates as fog or mist. The place is usually quite tricky when the fog settles, however today we are lucky as the day is clear. It is a big bay with numerous islands at the mouth of the Valdivia River, also known as Corral Bay. The Spanish built various fortifications here back in the late 1600s. So the area is quite rich in history.

A quick breakfast was followed by lowering of Zodiacs, and soon I was behind the wheel of a Mark 6, one of the Zodiacs in our fleet on board Silver Explorer. These small boats are an essential part of expedition cruising. Together with our Expedition Leader, Robin, and other colleagues, we disembarked all our guests to meet the buses for our day’s activity.

Three buses were waiting to take us on an excursion into the town of Valdivia and the surrounding area. The bus headed for downtown Valdivia, with a few photo-stops along the way, and the local guides passed on some interesting information about the history, geography and everyday life in this part of Chile. I was particularly interested in the stop at the CECS (Centre for Scientific Studies) a private corporation dedicated to the development and support of various scientific disciplines. They do promote glaciological research in southern Chile, and I am familiar with their work with some of the glaciers we will visit later in this voyage, like the Pio XI Glacier.

Back on the landing site, and back on board a Zodiac. A few runs to the Silver Explorer were enough to get everyone back on board for lunch time; I was hungry and enjoyed the buffet in The Restaurant.

The afternoon was spent sailing to our next destination. I attended the lecture given by Expedition staff member, Michaela Mayer, “Sea Life Beneath the Surface”. Michaela is one of our biologists and she talked about various forms of invertebrate life that inhabit the depths.

In the evening I joined all other Expedition Team members, Captain Adam and other officers for the first timer cocktail party. It was good to meet and talk to some of our guests. The voyage is just starting and we have exciting days ahead of us.

As usual on board the Silver Explorer, the day ended with a great dinner and lively talk.