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Arrival in Talcahuano

In the atmosphere, while motoring our way northwards, we find ourselves under the effect of a large and stable High-Pressure System. But things were about to change for a little while. Just below this High, a small but strong Depression is taking over the Talcahuano region. 

It was by nighttime and early hours of the day when it hit us first. A southerly breeze veers all the way to a northerly wind, picking up as the hours pass by. 

Braced sharp on Starboard tack we set sail!  

Squares up to Top Gallants, Lower and Middle Staysails, and Headrig take over the engines to pull us towards the city of our destination after making a sharp turn to Starboard.  

Manoeuvring under sail we managed to arrive until the Port pilot came on board for the last bit. Sails come down and with the help of many are stowed away. 

The small but quite fierce Low-Pressure center turns the wind around for a short period of time, but for the last few days, the characteristic following breeze has been paired in the Ocean with the flow of the well-known Humboldt Current. This relatively cold water current flows north along the western coast of South America, extending from southern Chile (45º S) to northern Peru (4º S). The water from this flow and the upwelling it produces increases the biological productivity of the system along almost all of the South American coast. This oceanographic structure is named after the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who in 1846 reported measurements of this cold-water current in his book Cosmos.  

… in the South Pacific, where a current prevails, the effect of whose low temperature on the climate of the adjacent shores I had an opportunity of observing in the autumn of 1802. It brings the cold waters of the high southern latitudes to the coast of Chili, follows the shores of this continent and of Peru, first from south to north, and then deflected from the Bay of Arica onward from south-southeast to north-northwest. 

… On the part of the shore of South America south of Payta, which inclines further westward, the current is suddenly deflected in the same direction from shore, turning so sharply to the west that a ship sailing northward passes suddenly from cold into warm water. 

Alexander von Humboldt. “Cosmos: A Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universe” 

Observations and writings from the early to mid-18-hundreds, an era when natural science was strongly compartmentalized into its different branches, which were treated separately; when geology focused just on rocks and not processes; when biology was based primarily on taxonomy, trying systematically to categorize, recognize and catalog species, Von Humboldt had a broader idea of Nature. 

A true voyager, talented and of a brilliant mind, he opened the until then segregated boxes of science to a holistic approach, to understanding and representing the natural world as one great whole.  

… the observer who earnestly pursues the path of knowledge is led from one class of phenomena to another, by means of the mutual dependence and connection existing between them 

Alexander von Humboldt. “Cosmos: A Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universe” 

He opened the door to the perception of nature through the relations and connections between the environment, the climate, the landmasses, and the oceans, the geology and the living organisms, and the relationship between specialties and wider general branches of knowledge. The inclusion of humans into the natural systems too. 

A door with two hinges, the scientific one and another one working on the effect of this science-explanatory world on ourselves, our imagination, and artistic thinking. 

Humboldt savored the grand view of studying the geographical distribution of plants and animals on the planet according to the specific location, the Latitude, Altitude above sea level, Landscape characteristics, and Oceanography. Factors that at the same time determine climatic areas and different meteorological processes. How the environment affects life and how life has an effect too on the environment. 

… 

Why during our first days at sea the woods around were thick but still manageable, turning into something like a green wall as we got just a bit further north? 

Why the difference in vegetation diversity as we came along Southern Patagonia to more northerly regions? 

Why the wildlife diversity has been changing too as we traveled north? 

Why it seems like we have seen the majority of whales during the trip aggregated in a couple of specific areas? 

Why we are still in temperate waters even though we sail in subtropical latitudes? 

Why not so long ago we were in the rainiest area in the world, while now we are in a relatively dry zone? 

Why the coastline where we arrived today is suddenly less vegetated and drier? 

… 

Humboldts are the ways that gave us tools to figure out these sorts of doubts, inquiries, and debates that sure come to our minds after thinking about what we came across on our fantastic trip. 

We are shaped by the past. Nicolaus Copernicus showed us our place in the universe, Isaac Newton explained the laws of nature, Thomas Jefferson gave us some of our concepts of liberty and democracy, and Charles Darwin proved that all species descend from common ancestors. These ideas define our relationship to the world. 

Humboldt gave us our concept on nature itself 

Andrea Wulf. “The Invention of Nature”  

A voyage that today reached its end.  

Anchor goes down at the waters of Talcahuano for our last night on board. In the morning the Europa will come alongside in the port. 

For dinner, a full barbecue is prepared on deck. Stories come and go, music plays, and drinks flow. A little celebration of our successful trip. 

After we leave the ship, she will go through weeks of shipyard and maintenance before venturing into the Pacific for her new adventure. 

Written by:
Jordi Plana Morales | Expedition Leader

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Comments

Thanks Jordi for your logs. They are enjoyable and interesting reading. Full of information.


Sigmund Fest√ły  |  08-04-2024 22:53 uur

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