Antarctica Adventure - 2002

The little settlement atop Cape Horn is a perpetually cold, damp collection of primitive buildings where the Chilean Navy stations one sailor and his family for a year’s duty. The young man who had just assumed the post in November had brought his schoolteacher wife and 5-year-old son with him. The boy will be homeschooled on this improbable school campus. The various structures on top of the rock massif include the snug cabin for living quarters, a little chapel, storage houses for food, fuel, weather and other scientific equipment for the tests the Navy man must perform throughout his year’s posting. The Chilean flag is painted on top of the buildings’ roofs so that there is no mistake about the fact Cape Horn is part of the half of Tierra del Fuego that belongs to Chile—not Argentina; - the two countries share the large island uneasily. There are rickety white wooden steps leading up to the top of the rock, a vertical climb of about 100 feet through tussock grasses, lichens, mosses, wild strawberry and blueberry plants, with seabirds nesting in all the ledges, cracks and crevices along the way and on the rock face all around the staircase. Supplies are brought up to the top by a pulley arrangement beside the stairs.

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