Day 10 |
Mar 09, 2012

Niebla/Valdivia, Chile

By Chris Srigley, General Naturalist

Coordinates: 39˚ 52’ 26” S, 73˚ 24’ 36” W
Weather: Overcast skies with heavy mist.

Arriving in The Restaurant just after 0800 this morning, I could see that most on board were taking advantage of our morning at sea.

By 0900 those who would, had made their way through The Restaurant and up into The Theatre. This morning our Expedition Leader and Director of Expeditions Conrad Combrink was giving a talk ‘The World of the M/V Silver Explorer’, a look at the history of our wonderful ship and how Silversea develops their itineraries. Also a peek into plans for future voyages. Many guests came out of The Theatre with piqued interest in future travel with Silversea Expeditions.

During Conrad’s lecture an executive decision had to be made, considering the boss was on stage. Should or shouldn’t we interrupt his talk for some whales? With excitement in his voice Ornithologist Will Wagstaff called Assistant Expedition Leader Danill from deck 6. ‘Danill, Danill, Will. I have a Blue Whale in sight!’ Without hesitation an interruption was made and all ran out onto the outer decks to get a once in a lifetime glimpse of this giant of the sea. After a short time our friend made a dip dive, and with this, Conrad’s lecture continued.

Arriving at our anchorage position off the shores of Niebla at noon, Zodiacs were lowered and the shore party headed off to make sure our buses had arrived. Just after 1230 with the buses loaded, we headed off on our tour.

A short drive from the pier we stopped at ‘De Las Pura y Limpia Concepción de Monfrot de Lemus’. A fortress at the mouth of the Valdivia River built by the Spanish in 1671 to protect the city of Valdivia from attack. Strategically placed with another fort across from it, no ship would be able to enter without being sunk. After a short visit it was time to board our buses and start the 18-kilometer drive into Valdivia.

With a blend of influences from the native Mapuche, Spanish settlers and German immigrants, Valdivia is full of intriguing legends and an abundance of history. Diving into this history we stopped at the anthropological museum, Maurice Van der Maele, which houses important pieces from all of the city’s influences.

Across the river Calle-Calle and into the heart of the city we strolled along the water’s edge to the local fish market, which was bustling with activity. We enjoyed the sights as the local fishermen and farmers sold their bounty. I took advantage of the fresh avocados while some indulged in the tasty raspberries and blueberries. With the market nestled on the edge of the river the fisherman threw their scraps into the water behind them as they trimmed their fish, however this was not done in waste, thee scraps were quickly snatched. Behind them, like the family dog waiting under the kitchen table, large male South American Sea Lions lay in the wait. It was a sight to be seen.

Through the market we gathered together for a visit to the CECS (Center for Scientific Studies). Greeted by three of the center’s scientists, we entered the auditorium to hear about the work they are doing. They covered a wide variety of subjects from Glaciology and Biology to Physics.

Leaving the CECS, we made our way through the city’s main square to ‘Club de la Union’ for what would be the last of our Pisco sour cocktail parties of the voyage before boarding the buses once again to make the return trip to the Silver Explorer. Arriving just before 1830 to the awaiting Zodiacs, we made our way onboard after another wonderful day.

With just enough time to tidy up, we then joined our Captain Adam Boczek in The Theatre for his farewell cocktail party before all retreated to The Restaurant for another splendid meal.