Cape Horn

One of the highlights of our cruise was our visit to Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. Although the crew kept referring to Cape Horn as “the end of the world” and “the southernmost spot in the world,” those names ignore the existence of Antarctica and therefore seem inaccurate.

There was beautiful scenery as the cruise ship approached Cape Horn, although it looked a little stormy in one direction.

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The passengers assembled and waited to board the zodiacs that would take us to the land.

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We saw a Russian sailboat, one of only three other boats we saw the whole cruise.

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We walked up 157 steps, past a memorial to those who lost their lives attempting to “round the horn” (the term for vessels passing around Cape Horn), and past old rails that had been used to move supplies from ships up to the top.

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The view from the top was great.

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Until November of last year, the Cape Horn Monument looked like this, with the outline of an albatross in the center.

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After a devastating storm, it now looks like this, with the left half of the monument having been destroyed.

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Behind Brian and me, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans come together, and Antarctica is just 500 miles away, across the Drake Passage.

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We visited the memorial to British Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy (capitan of the Beagle during Darwin’s voyage), a plaque to commemorate all who have successfully rounded the Horn, and a poem in honor of those who failed.

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Here is a translation of the poem:

I am the albatross that awaits you at the end of the world.

I am the forgotten soul of the sailors who died rounding Cape Horn from all the seas of the world.

But they did not die in the furious waves, for today they fly on my wings towards eternity, in the last crevice of the Antarctic winds

We walked to the lighthouse and met the Chilean Navy captain who lives on the island with his wife and two sons, ages 2 and 4. I can only imagine how hard it would be to live there year-round with two busy little boys.

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There is a chapel next to the lighthouse.

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We walked back down to the zodiacs to return to the ship.

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We enjoyed one last view of Cape Horn before we left.

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