Antarctica Adventure - 2002

C APE H ORN Day 4 Cape Horn The temperature when we arose today was 50 degrees and the sky was partly cloudy which seemed appropriate for “rounding the Horn.” Cape Horn is such a fabled place, but for such melancholy reasons. Here at the tip of the South American continent is the final toe of the Andes range, rising up sheer out of the sea to face the battling waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Almost always stormy, sometimes ferociously so. Many sailors have lost their lives trying the get round the Horn sailing from East to West. Back in the days of sail, the passage could take a few hours or even months if the Westerlies would not wane. We were shown schematics from ships’ logs outlining their zig-zag routes as they tried to “beat it round the Cape” against the wind. Sometimes, they would literally be blown backward for days. And if you are sailing south rather than West as we were, you are heading into the infamous Drake Passage for two days and nights until you reach the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Passage is 600 miles of tumultuous seas pouring from the West into the narrowing funnel until they can broaden out again beyond the Passage where no more land masses impede their gyres as they rush ever west. “Old Salts” knew what to expect from this ride, but we novices were innocent except for what we had read in books and seen in movies.

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