Torres Del Paine

Off the ship and driving through Chilean Patagonia. Very dry and very windy, although we were told that it’s not windy at all. So I guess everything is relative.

We arrived in Porto Natales in the late afternoon. Look at this sculpture, I wonder how much it moves in the wind. So we didn’t have wind but what we did have is rain.

Soaring figures from the front.


Cold American tourist with an object no one ever sees here – an umbrella. The local kids going into the water. No wind, summer – they go in the water.

The town was ok, nothing special, most buildings were none descriptor and painted in bright colors. This was the only decorated building I saw. It is Victorian, I’m guessing there is a plaque saying it is old. Notice the tin roof, easier to repair in the winds. Also, there is some Victorian trim – some of it clearly blew off and was never replaced.

Local cat, in a hostel. There are all kinds of hostels, since this is the last town or really the only town before the national park. I wonder if this cat ever sets foot outside, or is just content watching the world fly by in the wind.

From here on out, it’s the same huge Torres Del Paine mountains. We were so fortunate to see them from many different angles. Some people never really see them because of weather. Did I mention how lucky we were with the weather? We were lucky!

A glacier on the mountain, along with many clouds. These mountain tops are never completely free of clouds.

We got the whole explanation about the different colors. The light grey is granite, which was forced up into the crust of the earth. The darker rock was sediment that formed on top. And then through a million years, erosion, glaciers and yes wind, carved these magnificent peaks. I bet that during those million years there was even some global warming involved, long before humans existed.

Those needles in the background remind me of the minarets at Mammoth in California. Probably created at the same time.

I took so many pictures and really, I’m only sharing a few. Look, the clouds moved!

Paine refers to the deep turquoise color, which is created by the runoff from the glacier melt.

The glacier is way off, 16 miles away at the end of the glacial lake. Chunks are being calved and float around for a few days as icebergs. Well, maybe because they are quite large, they last more than just a few days.

This is a lovely summer morning in Patagonia, with a better view of the glacier. As much as I loved this whole trip, this isn’t summer.

There is the iceberg, being all glacier blue.

I get it, enough with these mountains. On to a new post.

Penguins! (and a few other birds)

We were so fortunate with our weather. The worst was Cape Horn, but that is Cape Horn weather – another group saw it on a calm quiet day, which does happen, but is rare. I think Magellan saw it calm which is why he called the Pacific Ocean – Pacific – because it was so calm.

Anyway, we were warned that if the normal winds were blowing, then we wouldn’t stop at Magdalena Island near Puenta Arenas. Once again, luck was with us.

We had already seen penguins swimming around the boat, but to see them on land is different. These are the Magellanic Penguins, not to big, but like all penguins – so cute!

It isn’t a huge colony, like in Antarctica, but a very healthy thriving one. With a light house of course. Don’t want ships crashing here.

One standing outside his burrow. Or maybe it’s a she, I don’t know.

How’s this for lovebirds?? We were told that penguins aren’t monogamous. Each year they will return to their burrow, if both return, they will mate again. If the female doesn’t come back, a new female will inspect the home and if she finds it satisfactory, she will move in. If the male hasn’t maintained the burrow, then the female will look elsewhere.

It takes three years for the juveniles to mature. When they do, they molt, all those soft feathers come off and then there is that sleek look.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu-QJQlHWGS/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I’m sorry this only embeds as a link! I need to learn more about wordpress, I was trying to embed the video of the marching penguin, and it is only a like. so please, take a look it is fun to see.

March of the penguins! Their knees are inside their bellies, which is why they waddle. They are really formed for spending most of their life in the water.

This is where they are headed, well, next to the obnoxious gulls.

There were plenty of gulls and some other bird. They co-exist as well as steal eggs. The cycle of life.

I keep, mentioning how much I love my Sony A7III. I wasn’t that close to the penguin, this is after a big crop of the image. And yet, the detail! You can see how the feathers are, trapping oil and air, which makes them buoyant as well as keeps them warm. The eyes are suited for being under water, so they rarely open them on land, the light is too bright.

Ok, so he sort of winked at me.

Oh, you’re taking my picture? Let me pose and puff out my chest!

All by myself….

Yeah, me too. I love the texture of the feathers, also, the shape of the wing. Can’t fly but sure can swim very well.

Along with penguins we saw a lot of orange breasted tourists…

Here we are, waiting for the zodiac to go back on board for the last time. One of the most important items I brought on this trip was waterproof pants. I had a pair of water resistant ones. At the last minute I went to REI and bought waterproof ones. Smart move, although they weren’t cheap, it would have been more expensive to buy them on board. Many people had to do that. The zodiacs were wet, without waterproof pants I would have frozen otherwise. Even with all that gear – I was soaked and freezing on Cape Horn, but everywhere else, all the gear kept me nice and warm, not and easy thing for me.

I promised other birds, sure this is just a gull, flying over Ushuaia.

Grey goose, the southern counterpart to the Canada Goose.

Look at me!! From much later in the trip, back in the tropics. Some kind of Jay. We had a few birders in the group, but I can’t remember the name. To be honest, I don’t care to, sometimes just seeing the birds was enough without knowing all the details.

Profile view.

Glaciers

It is an incredible experience to explore the southern end of the world. Ushuaia has 80,000 people, there is a tiny town on the Chilean side just a little south called Puerto Williams. We didn’t stop there.

Leaving Ushuaia behind, we doubled back during the night, so I may have seen Puerto Williams, or maybe I just saw this view again.

So the four days we spent in the Beagle Channel, it was just us and another Ship from the same company. I’m sure there was some Chilean Naval activity, but really no other humans around. Each day we would stop and see one or two glaciers, just a few among many.

We didn’t get off in zodiacs to see this one, it was rather incredible how close we got onboard our ship. I have the names written down, but really, it doesn’t matter what these are called.

Glaciers are amazing, on the right side of the photo you can see a tributary glacier coming into this large one.

As we left this glacier, the water is strewn with ice from the caving.

Another one, this one doesn’t calve much anymore it is in retreat. I’m going to say something that will probably lose me some readers. I’m sick and tired of the religion of Global warming. Some of the glaciers are retreating and others are growing. But everywhere, at every stop we were preached at about global warming.

With its’ own reflection.

I’m not saying the earth isn’t warming, actually I’ve been reading that it might be cooling. Are we humans responsible? I don’t think so. Nature is always changing. At every stop we were told about ancient history, where glaciers grew, then receded and left this amazing landscape of fjords. So why is it that now any kind of change is forbidden? That it must spell catastrophe? Maybe the world is always changing?

This is a growing glacier, sure it calves a lot, that is what glaciers do, but the fact that there is pure clean water pouring out of bottom of the glacier – means this one is growing rapidly.

When the Doomsayers who claim that the world will end in 12 years start living like they truly believe it – then maybe I’ll pay attention. The way I see it, this is simply a way to control the little people and make our lives miserable. Meanwhile, if it’s because of the sun that we are either warming or cooling, there is nothing we as humans can do and I intend to simply enjoy life.

The zodiacs got pretty close, we floated among the ice.

As for being green, another ploy, a way to virtue signal. I live my life in a very simple manner, I don’t advertise how amazing I am. Instead of tooting my own horn, I simply live a good life. As a Jew, we are commanded to be stewards of the earth. There is a difference between being responsible and making nature and global warming a religion. I am eternally grateful that I am able to take a trip like this and I’m not going to pretend that I can ‘buy’ indulgences in the form of global warming credits. Some members on our tour seemed to feel that they have bought absolution that way.

Another glacier, another waterfall.

Rant is over, now it’s on to simply more pictures of our amazing world. I know that very few people will actually be blessed to see these wonders.

How cute is the guy holding this block of ice? It is crystal clear because the pressure of the glacier forces every drop of air out of the ice, which is also why there is so much blue in a glacier, no air to interfere with the blue light bouncing back at us.

I really love my camera. Often I didn’t have time to really set up shots and doing everything manually. It was either on aperture or speed setting. But boy did the camera perform well. I have many pictures where I cropped the image in editing, and the crop is as sharp as the whole image. Case in point, I was able to capture this window in the ice.

Reflections are an amazing thing. Especially when the camera is so good.

I do have more glacier pictures, but I’m going to wait for another post, and share something other than ice in the next one.

On board the Stella Australis

I’m going through more than 500 pictures now, so this will take time. Once we left Ushuaia we boarded the Stella Australis.

This is what the ship looks like on the water. Only this company, which owns two ships is allowed to do expedition tours within the Beagle channel. This may have been the sister ship, we were at the same glacier at the same time.

Our first stop was Cape Horn. Later we were told that we were very lucky. Our captain was an experienced captain who fills in from time to time. Our regular Captain never would have stopped at Cape Horn with the awful conditions there. But he did. It was cold, raining and very very windy. This tiny rock at the end of the world has a monument, a lighthouse and a chapel. The next three pictures are those I took from within the chapel looking out. Honestly, if Joel didn’t hold onto me I probably would have blown over.

I have no idea who this is, fellow traveler on our boat. Look at his hair. The wind may have been 60 knots, it was ferocious.

Look at that flag! I bet they have to replace it every few days. I am actually glad that we were able to experience Cape Horn like this. Yes they do have calm days, but this blustering wind it what the Cape is known for.

We all made it back safely and visited the bridge. I love maps and navigating. What is so fascinating is that they still use basic tools to navigate. They even have a Sexton, which in a pinch they will use.

This is how we’d go on excursions. Many layers of clothes, seeing how cold the winter on the Beagle Channel is. Then put on the life vest. We met two lovely Israeli couples. Here we are with Sari. They went on to Easter Island. Of course, Israelis get to every corner of the world.

How cute is Joel?

Twice a day, we’d be loaded onto these zodiac and taken ashore.

visiting one of the many glaciers

Our whole group on two zodiacs.

Hiking past one of the few structures this far south in Patagonia. Wualia Bay. Darwin was here.

And the view from above. It is summer time down here. Which is why it’s so green. I can’t imagine winter here. It is so cold. This tip of South America is the furthest south, except from Antarctica which is just a block of ice. So the winds howl across the globe with nothing to stop them. And it is cold!! Beautiful and cold.

Next up, glaciers.

Sorry for the long break

Vacation has been amazing, but WiFi hasn’t. Patagonia is incredible, now back in Buenos Aires. Tomorrow we go on to Igassu falls. If any of you are still checking out this blog, there will be long amazing posts in the future

This is Ushuaia, summer in Ushuaia Even for them this snow on the mountains is rare in summer.

I haven’t downloaded all the pictures I took, which is another reason not to be writing posts.

We were in the southernmost city in the world. Yes in Chile there is a small community called Port Williams that is a little further south. Ushuaia is a real city. 80,000 people tourism isn’t the largest industry, it’s only busy with tourists 5 months out of the year v

More of the surrounding snow covered mountains.

We were hosted for lunch by a lovely local family, great experience. Great lentil stew. Look st their view! So many days here are grey. A week before our arrival, they had 80 degree weather, people actually went into the water

Further north, in Porto Natales Chile, we saw this in action. It was raining, but there was no wind that day….

This is us, only tourists would use an umbrella, the kids gave us a high five.

And in the harbor, the Stella Australis, our home for the next five days. In about five days from now we will be on our way home. We should have a few hours and the I hope to share more of the journey

Argentina

I have a big birthday this year. 60. So an impressive trip was planned. Once again we signed up with OAT. My birthday, my choice. So it’s off to Argentina and Chile. Most of the trip will be in Patagonia, some of it will be aboard a small ship, sailing through southern fjords.

Although I’m turning 60, I’m the youngest one in our group. I’m a little surprised, seeing that this is a rigorous trip.

We are spending two days in Buenos Aires, and yes Tango is everywhere. We were taught the basic steps, but no way could I dance like this. This was just out on the street, right as the rain started. We have seen other dancers, so beautiful.

We visited La Boca, us and hundreds of other people in the rain. It is an adorable tourist area. But 45 minutes was enough. When I was younger I loved picking up souvenirs. Not saying I won’t buy anything, but I’m enjoying my photos as souvenirs. Of course, if I come across real handmade items, I might purchase, especially if it is textile related.

Originally these haphazard buildings were built out of found materials. This area was by the old port, so not only did some of the materials come as ballast on ships. The residents would pick up the leftover paints as well, these days the buildings are kept bright and colorful because it makes the area recognizable.

Many cities try to create fun tourist areas. It’s nice when the unique characteristics are based in the history of the area. It’s also nice that tourism is keeping these traditions alive. Otherwise they would have bulldozed these buildings long ago and built bland office or apartments in their place.

Loving the details!

We went to Tortino cafe. An Art nouveau cafe that is 160 years old. We waited about 40 minutes to get inside. It was beautiful, the food was meh. I’ve had much better empanadas in Los Angeles. Often the experience isn’t about 5e quality of food.

We have been having some very interesting history lessons, the mothers of May Square. These are the brave mothers of the 30,000 Argentinians who were murdered and disappeared under the dictatorship from 1976-84. Originally they wore a cloth diaper on their heads as they marched around the square, this became their symbol. It is fascinating to get historical context, of high Argentina has plenty!

Arte de Mexico

I discovered this place over 20 years ago. At the time the area was pretty sketchy, there was no walk way on Chandler, there were now pretty murals.

They own two large buildings right across the street from one another. This one is a great example of industrial Art Deco. The curved glass window. The wooden shutters. Btw, that glass is back.

I only took a few pictures inside, this place is heaven for those who love over the top dramatic furnishings, and lights.

I tried to concentrate on the simpler items. I really love this, it is something I’d even buy. For now, I just took a picture.

There are all kind of horses here, big, little. Unfortunately, this is the only picture of a horse that came out any good.

Here is something I love about this new camera – this could pass for a Still Life piece of art. Complete with fake flower.

In all the years that I have been aware of this place, I have yet to buy anything here, one of these days, that will change.

I have been watching a lot of You Tube videos about my camera and about how to use the Macro lens. One suggestion is to go to a Botanic garden and take pictures of flowers. One of the blessings of SoCal is that all I have to do is walk around my neighborhood. Pretty good shot of this Brugmansia, otherwise known as Devil’s Trumpet.

What a beauty.

A yellow one, slightly different variety. What I love so much about this is first of all, the little curlicues on the ends of the flower. Second, Joel held it upright for me and unbeknownst to both of us – I caught a bee in action! I guess he felt that Joel was there to help him as well.

Overview of a bright yellow succulent flower.

A wonderful close up, why I know I’ll have a lot of fun with this macro lens.

Just for fun, a little orange.

Red and white quilt top – done!

After a lot of trial and error, it is done. Like most of my quilts, this one isn’t bed size, it’s great for wrapping up on the couch. Of course it works very well on a bed as well, just not as a bed spread that covers everything.

The final border is 4.5″ wide. Once I quilt and bind it, it will be more like 3.75″. I’m deliberately making it wider so that when I quilt it, I’ll have that extra room to square up the quilt.

And here we are – finished. I am very pleased.

What really pleases me is that this was my inspiration. Although I did you the basic block, mine looks nothing like this. This is definitely a case of inspiration, not copying.

Not just because of the center Mariners compass.

Which is quite lovely if I say so myself.

It was a lot of trial and error to get these full stars.

I like how the darkest red is something of a frame, but it doesn’t overwhelm the quilt. You can see here how the border is going about an inch beyond the point of the diamond. My plan is, once this is quilted, I’ll have the binding right at the points of the diamond. That is the plan. It’s going to take a while to get this quilted. I was hoping to get my new Koala tables soon, looks like it will take them longer than expected. I may end up quilting this using the old crummy table.

Since the topic is red, here is a cute owl and a red pomegranate.

As well as some red camellias. They will be gone very soon, I’m enjoying them while I can since soon they will be gone.

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Loving my family

A big birthday lies ahead, in just a few weeks. Yup, the big 6-0. We will be traveling to Argentina and Chile, I am hoping that I will be able to post while I’m gone. But who knows what WiFi will be like. If not, I will flood the blog after the fact.

So most of the family got together to celebrate my birthday. Once branch was out skiing, which they enjoyed thoroughly.

Oh boy did my son love my new camera. He couldn’t get over how sharp the images are in low light. Meanwhile I was having fun with his son doing one of these sticker art mosaics. Notice how the younger boys have other toys that interest them.

Fun with uncle.

And with aunt.

These guys love books and reading.

They are happy with Grandpa reading too! Oh and they both made it very clear that another sleepover is in order! Soon, boys, soon!

NoHo sights

It may be pretentious, but we’ve all gotten used to North Hollywood being called Noho. Heck, it was originally called Lankershim after the developer who planted a lot of fruit trees here. Now the only thing named after him is the diagonal street the cuts from south to northwest in the east Valley.

Back entrance,

We are going to Argentina and Chile to celebrate my 60th birthday as well as 40th anniversary. I got a recommendation of a specific book, about Darwin and the Beagle (name of his ship), since we will be retracing part of his voyage. Couldn’t find an e-book, and these days, Amazon isn’t that reliable. It wasn’t clear we’d get the book before we leave. So off to our wonderful used bookstore I went.

I didn’t find the book, although Irving Stone’s book on Darwin was there. I read it over 30 years ago. Every morning when they open shop, they pull to boxes of books, these are all free.

The good books go quickly. Of course I browsed here. I did see one excellent book for free – The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara – about the Civil War, thing is I have it as an audio book. So if anyone is interested… Corner of Cahuenga and Chandler. It really is a lovely store to browse, inside and out.

There are store cats, more than one. A beautiful tan cat came up to demand attention. This fellow wasn’t too interested in me.

The trolly car used to run down the middle of Chandler. Today the Orange Line bus takes up part of that space, but in this eastern section of NoHo into Burbank – it is a lovely walkway and bike path. Many people were out enjoying the sun. Me, I couldn’t help but take pictures of peoples gardens.

Someone’s prince has come. Me,I just have a frog, mine doesn’t have a crown.

Day of the dead sculls, used as planters year round.

A sad reminder, that no everyone came home from Vietnam.