Off to South America - From Alaska's North to the Tip of South America travel blog

Cape Horn - rocks all around pose danger for ships

Albatross Memorial for all mariners who have perished in this area

Chilean Naval Post - small military installation on Cape Horn


The ship completed its scheduled cruise around Cape Horn from 8:30-9:30pm on January 12th. The rough seas around Cape Horn are created by a combination of low atmospheric pressure troughs and the confluence of the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean. First mentioned by Francis Drake in his 1567 sailing (headed to rob gold shipments) the north side of Cape Horn borders Drake Passage. Many mariners over the years perished in this area as their ships and navigation tools were not able to handle the submerged rocks and challenging seas. Thus in 1982 the first Albatross Memorial was established (see picture). It has blown down a few times and had to be reconstructed. The archipelago islands of which Cape Horn is one have mountain ranges on some of the islands, and large rock formations, but Cape Horn has no trees, only rocks and ground covering. It has 280 days a year of rain so the green ground growth happens. We are farther south at the south end of Cape Horn than you would be at the furtherest point of South Africa or the furtherest point of the tip of New Zealand. It is 650 miles to Antarctica. Icebergs start showing up at 45 degree latitude at times, and we were farther down than that at almost 56 degrees. Mostly tourists and pleasure boats come this way now since the building of the Panama Canal stopped most traffic from making this long journey. There are several short cuts to getting from the Atlantic to the Pacific if you are smaller ship than ours - three possible ways that can cut off 350 nautical miles and much better sea conditions. It was interesting to see this -- it happened near sunset with on and off squalls so the visibility of the island was challenging at times. That is all for now. Roxa



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