Chile (2017) IMG_8094From March 20 to 24, 2017, Melissa and I attended an astrochemistry symposium in Chile. The conference venue was the luxurious Hotel Cumbres in the city of Puerto Varas, overlooking Llanquihue Lake and the volcanoes Osorno and Calbuco.IMG_8240The hotel's front facade. "Cumbres" is Spanish for "peaks".IMG_8092Calbuco, one of the two volcanoes visible from the hotel, last erupted in April 2015. It remained quiet during our conference.IMG_8093The other volcano, Osorno, has been quiet since 1869. Its snow-capped conical peak reaches an elevation of 2652 meters above sea level.IMG_8120Wednesday afternoon featured a group outing to several natural highlights east of Puerto Varas. The first stop was at the Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) near the town of Ensenada at the eastern end of Llanquihue Lake.IMG_8114Volcanic rocks dotting the landscape at the Laguna Verde.IMG_8108Prickly heath berries (Gaultheria mucronata) at the Laguna Verde.IMG_8103Another look at the Laguna Verde or Green Lagoon.IMG_8179The second stop on Wednesday afternoon's tour was at the Saltos del Petrohué or Petrohué Waterfalls.IMG_8174The Petrohué River downstream from the falls.IMG_8160Another few hundred meters further downstream.IMG_8203The third and final stop was Lago Todos Los Santos or All-Saints Lake. Both this one and Llanquihue Lake are of glacial origin, formed when the glaciers retreated to the Andes at the end of the last ice age.IMG_8192-8202_w1600Panoramic view from the western end of Lago Todos Los Santos.IMG_8208We embarked on a brief boat ride on Lago Todos los Santos. Visible on the right is the eastern flank of the Osorno Volcano.IMG_8220Osorno seen on the way back to Puero Varas.IMG_8225Close-up of Osorno's summit.IMG_8228Osorno at sunset on Thursday evening.IMG_8232Osorno and Calbuco together at sunset.IMG_8239The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, in neo-romanesque and baroque style, is one of Puerto Varas's landmark buildings.IMG_8242We stayed an extra day after the conference and went on a day trip to Chiloé Island. Here I am on the ferry trying to identify Chilean birds.IMG_8267A kelp gull (Larus dominicanus, kelpmeeuw) eating a fish.IMG_8371-8376_w1600Panorama of the ocean shore at Chacao on Chiloé Island.IMG_8330And adult and an immature black-necked swan (Cygnus melancoryphus, zwarthalszwaan).IMG_8336An immature black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax, kwak).IMG_8343Two flightless steamer ducks (Tachyeres pteneres, reuzenbooteenden).IMG_8396Kelp gull.IMG_8414The church in the town of Chacao on Chiloé Island. It's made of wood with metal sheets to protect against the weather.IMG_8416A fire-eyed diucon (Xolmis pyrope, vuuroogmonjita) on a monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) in Chacao. The monkey puzzle tree is the national tree of Chile.IMG_8447Black skimmers (Rynchops niger, Amerikaanse schaarbekken) and brown-headed gulls (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus, bruinkopmeeuwen) near Caulin on Chiloé Island.IMG_8457A long-tailed meadowlark (Sturnella loyca, grote weidespreeuw) near Caulin on Chiloé Island.IMG_8473A market in the city of Ancud on Chiloé Island.IMG_8476Seaweed in the Ancud market.IMG_8478Potatoes are native to Chile and many varieties are grown for food.IMG_8491One of many porcelain dolls in a museum in Ancud, portraying various figures from the native Mapuche culture. According to legend, Licarayén sacrificed herself to calm the Osorno volcano during an eruption.IMG_8495Copy of a drawing portraying first contact between the Dutch and native Chileans in 1646. The Dutch spent part of the 1640s trying to establish a trading post at Valdivia, some 250 km north of Chiloé Island. Led by Hendrick Brouwer, the Dutch first landed on Chiloé Island in 1643.IMG_8503This oceanic inlet on the western side of Chiloé Island is actually an ancient volcanic crater.IMG_8504-8510_w1600Panoramic view of the crater inlet.IMG_8550The beach at Islotes de Puñihuil in the northwestern part of Chiloé Island. We had hoped to see penguins here, but atypical weather patterns this year had led to them migrating away earlier than usual. We did see a few Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus, Magelhaenpinguïns) from the ferry on the way back to the mainland.IMG_8548Melissa looking for birds at Islotes de Puñihuil.