Antarctica & Patagonia Dispatch

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Ultimate Antarctica & Patagonia Dispatch

December 10, 2013 en route to Valparaíso, Chile

Last day at sea aboard Quest, we feel sad with the idea of disembarking tomorrow in Valparaiso our last port.

In the morning the Expedition Staff were on the outer decks in search of whales and seabirds and in the observation lounge with charts to provide us with to position of the ship.

Valparaíso’s arts district is an open canvas for the city’s talented muralists.

We share an afternoon conversation with the Professor David Walton and Geoff Devito our Port expert. They gave us a very interesting lecture in relation to the “Beginnings and the End: Origins of the Falklands Conflict and Valparaíso Our Final Port”. David discussed the circumstances that led up to the 1980’s British and Argentine conflict in the Falklands while Geoff shared a history of Valparaíso with hints on the best ways to enjoy our final port as well as highlights of Santiago. Valparaíso means “Paradise Valley” and this city draped across the coastal hills above a secure harbor must have looked like Paradise to travelers arriving by sea after an often-terrifying rounding of Cape Horn. Many understandably vowed never to set foot on a ship again, and settled here for good. Aside from its maritime importance, it is a university town, and has a long history as a fertile center for the arts. The Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda maintained a home here, which is now a museum overlooking the sea. In the valleys between Valparaíso and Santiago lie many of Chile’s fine vineyards and wineries.

Many of the murals carry messages, sometimes obscure to outsiders.

Later, Dr. Roger Hewitt talked about “The Antarctic krill fishery - defining an ecosystem approach to management” How do you manage a fishery when you don't know the size of the population, how long individuals live, how fast they reproduce and how many are eaten by natural predators? He described the visionary concepts contained in the international agreement established to conserve the living resources of the Southern Ocean, how these concepts were translated into a practical management scheme, and how the scheme can adapt to new information.

At night we enjoyed dinner, some of us were at The Colonnade and some others at The Restaurant. 

Dr. Mariano Albano, Lecturer

The city’s steep slopes call for creative architectural solutions.

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