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  • Writer's picturePaula Cooper

30 0ctober San Pedro, Chile: Slow Sleepy Snoozy Starry

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Opting for the late night stargazing trip, we took “5” (as our kids’ grandma would say) with a slow sleepy start to the day! Lovely to have another sleepy moment or five. Another laze by the pool followed by finishing up our fruit and nuts for lunch. Age catching up, turns out neither mango nor orange are easy to share or eat when not pre-cut!

The hot tub turned out to be remarkably cold! So we played in the chilly Chilean hydro pool; think we need assistance! After drying (or snoozing) in the hot but slightly windy afternoon sun, we showered and headed off for ice-cream! Desert first, my sort of day! In the main square ice cream store, we had chañar (a fleshy sweet stone fruit often boiled making a syrup) and algarroba (carob); both delicious.

San Pedro de Atacama was the cradle of the Atacameño people, creators of the San Pedro Culture, which developed in the area more than 11,000 years ago. The town spread through the high lands and Atacama Desert, eventually settling in the oasis. Doesn't appear to be much Spanish influence other than the adobe Catholic Church!

Dinner over donning every layer I possessed, it’s off we headed for the stars! Previously downloading camera+ to take starry photos, I’m all set.

Arriving at the star camp we made offerings to Pat’ta Hoy’r, around a fire and had some biscuit, dips, nuts and tea; no way was I trying wine again, even if I could see the bottle!

Interesting results! As in, I clearly am hopeless with the long exposure photo app! However we did see a shooting green star/meteorite, and the surrounding desert lit up by moonlight; very pretty and surreal. Simon managed a starry picture, unfortunately it was too close to full moon, apparently for good photography. Despite the moon and ambient light we did have a great view of the stars and imitating the Michelin man, I was warm enough!

Moon was too full for a really spectacular sky in the desert disappointingly, but Simon managed a nice shot of Orión - even if it was upside down! Apparently the locals call it the poncho constellation.

Through the telescope we viewed splodges of nebula, near and far, and the planets Jupiter and Saturn, appearing just like white versions of nasa photos. At the end we saw the moon, too bright to view with my contact lensed eye but great through the iPhone! Not as good as we hopped, but fun nonetheless.

Morning Poolside again

Playing with the somewhat chilly Chilean hydro pool; think we need help!

Snoozy Afternoon!

Ice cream trip in San Pedro central square

(Church; municipal buildings; ice cream flavours we had chañar ( Andean stone fruit) & algarroba (carob))

Late night Stargazing trip

(Star camp snacks; viewing the telescope with San Pedro and the mountains lit up; the moon and the meteor - more like the guides pointer!; ambient light; the moon)

Simons star pictures to follow.

(Orion & the poncho)

Video to follow if technology back home allows.

We stayed at Casa Atacama San Pedro, Chile

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