Day 14 |
Oct 31, 2009

Valparaiso, Chile

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 33° 02,22S, 71° 37,51W

Weather: cloudy

After we left Coquimbo yesterday and the arid northern part of this country, the Prince Albert II made its way along the Chilean Coast down to the port of Valparaiso. Even on this last half day at sea of the journey, the Humboldt Current showed our guests how nutrient rich it is and how favorable this is for the fauna along the coast. Three species of albatrosses – Wandering Albatross, Gray Headed Albatross and the Black Browed Albatross – were accompanying the ship on the way down. Good sightings for our birders on board.

At 10:00 o’clock in The Theater, our onboard photographer Richard showed the second part of the movie to this voyage. As always an excellent piece of documentation and a beautiful memory on this interesting country.

Punctually at midday, we were alongside in the port of Valparaiso. For the afternoon, a guided city tour through Valparaiso and Viña del Mar was planned for our guests. The tour started with a drive around the old part of Valparaiso. The main architectural structure was old colonial houses, mainly in English and Spanish 19th-century style. Unfortunately they were mostly in bad shape and sometimes even deteriorated, but still one could imagine the flair of this old and richly historic town. A short photo stop at the naval headquarters completed our city center tour.

From there, the bus brought our guests up to the 21st of May Boulevard situated on one of the 45 hills that surround the town. A beautiful view and good shopping opportunity were the attractions in this part of the town. 

Thirty minutes later we reached the neighbor town of Viña del Mar. Originally this place was a wine yard in former centuries and slowly it was transformed to what it is now is: the center of summer tourism and upper class living resort for Chile. The small Fock Museum was the next stop on the city tour. It specialized on Easter Island and Mapuche cultures with some really interesting exhibits regarding this era. On the second floor, a natural history exhibition gave an impression of the extraordinarily rich fauna of the country. After half an hour, we left the museum and a short 15 minutes stop on the beach avenue completed the tour.

On the way back to the ship, guests could enjoy for the last time the bird life of the western South American coast with Peruvian Pelicans, Kelp Gull and Neotropical Cormorants flying around in the port area.