Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More from My Big Trip 2009 - Cape Horn

I know, you've almost given up on ever seeing more from my cruise, but never fear, I am working on it, slowly but surely.

My story left off in Antarctica a few weeks ago, so now we have to cross the Drake Passage again.  This time we did it during the day and let me tell you, there is nothing to see LOL  It was a whole lot calmer going north - only gale force winds and waves instead of hurricane force.  I tried to take some photos out of the window at the cafe on deck 5, but didn't put a whole lot of effort into it so they suck.  Just imagine great big grey waves crashing and swamping the windows as you look out!

The first land we came to after our crossing is Cape Horn at the southern tip of Chile - it's part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. 

We were blessed with calm waters, but the skies were once again flat grey and overcast.  We had a little spitting rain, but it wasn't too least at first.  My fingers were pretty frozen by the time I finally went inside to snag another cup of hot chocolate!

Arriving at Cape Horn, we first stop off the Chilean Naval Station so we can take on a new pilot to help us navigate through the new waters. The station isn't on Cape Horn itself, but Cape Horn towers behind it

There's a military ship at the base of the cliff and the pilot comes to us on another little zodiac.  I'm sure they were just as thrilled as we were to have calm conditions!

Perspective is a tricky thing around these islands. There is a very cool memorial to all of the sailors who have lost their lives rounding the Horn. The sculpture has a silhouette of an albatross cut from the middle of the metal and the memorial itself is huge. It's also not next to the station, as it first appears

It stands on a remote hilltop between the station and Cape Horn

and it's not until you come all the way around the island that you can see it in isolated beauty. They tell me that the memorial is east-northeast of the real Cape Horn, but my sense of direction was all screwy and it felt like it was south of it!

Tierra del Fuego is rough and rugged country covered in lush vegetation, but no trees, thanks to lots of precipitation. As we cruised all the way around Cape Horn, we saw some the ruggedness that had claimed so many vessels and lives; even in our calm conditions, it didn't take much imagination to envision some pretty deadly waves.

It took us quite a while to cruise all the way around this island and there weren't many people left on deck by the time we finally got straight on to Cape Horn itself. It was nice to have space to myself on the Promenade! It's a pretty scene

and I can see why the Horn itself isn't inhabited!


Maeve said...

Wow Kris, your blog posts are coming fast and furious. I'd not seen one for a long time and now I can hardly keep up. Love your pix and the seemingly exciting life you lead.:)

Kristin said...

Hi, Maeve! Nice to "see" you :) I'm trying to be a better blogger but sometimes it's hard to fit everything I need to do into the short week I have LOL