Antarctica Adventure - 2002

There is a poem chiseled into a plaque next to the metal sculpture which says in Spanish that the albatross awaits the souls of drowned sailors and so that they can fly with the bird always above the Southern sea. It is a lonely, but fitting, place for a memorial to the world’s sailors. The top of Cape Horn is windswept, treeless area, which receives very few visitors. The actual face of the Cape is about 400 feet high with no beach at its foot. There are some lone islets of rocks out from the Cape in three directions, but they only add to the dangers of the place. The sea relentlessly crashes against the rocky visage as though intent on wearing it away. But even this violent and riotous ocean has a lot of work to do before there is no more Cape Horn to affright the souls of modern sailors. Some of the birds we identified at the Cape were: black-browed albatross, grey-headed albatross, sooty shearwaters, giant petrels, imperial cormorants, and capepetrels. We all got back on board the Hanseatic with no problem with a system they have for getting even the frailest of the passengers on and off the ship safely. Two strong able bodied seamen are stationed at the side-gate and help you down into the Zodiac or pull you out of the Zodiac. It matters not how strong or agile you appear, whether you are male or female, old or young, the seamen take your arms and put you in and out. Lunch was somewhat a mixed blessing to several folks on the passenger list; though hungry after the morning’s exertions, many were too queasy since the Drake Passage was already beginning to show us that its fearsome reputation for heavy seas was not unearned. Many people ate little or nothing, including Kay, who was a bit queasy. The rocking and rolling afternoon passed with reading for me and sleeping for Kay, except when both of us tuned into Channel 2 on our TV to watch the lecture on “Plate Tectonics and Species Distribution.” It was interesting and went a long way towards explaining why we see similar animals in strangely disparate places on the globe. Afternoon tea was not on Kay’s agenda, nor was supper that night. As luck would have it, my stomach stayed quiet and I managed to make all the meals; so much for making this cruise a weight loss occasion. The ship was pitching and tossing sufficiently this evening that I saw two ladies fall over in their dining room chairs, even though the seats seems to be quite stable sitting on widely spaced legs. However, the ship rolled and these two ladies were spilled out on the floor. Neither was hurt but both were surprised, embarrassed and none too interested in completing their

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