February 4, 2020, Beagle Channel between Chile and Argentina
I mean that literally. We actually sailed (motored, steamed) around Cape Horn Island allowing us to see the cape from every possible approach. I suspect that with the power of Amsterdam and the AziPods’ maneuverability we got a lot closer to the cape than most sailing vessels would dare. At around 6:30 this morning the pilot came out from the cape and guided us around the island. We had a good view of the lighthouse (It still has a keeper who has a wife and three kids, 5, 4 and 2 years old) and the Albatross monument to mariners lost doubling The Horn. It is made, in the 1990s, from plate metal from the hulls of ships that have gone “around the horn.” It has been blown over in one storm and has had to be replaced. And several Albatross glided with the ship on our circuit. How cool is that? (The other bird following us is the sooty shear wing. Don’t say that on the air fast.)
As we circled the island the light played games with the rock as fog moved in and out. The north end of Cape Horn island is particularly interesting with jagged pinnacles sticking out of the water along with a stone arch. There are white patches, guano, from places on the island that serve as bird rookeries.
And since I have “’rounded the horn” again, I guess I’m entitled to wear another gold earring. Sailors who rounded the horn got to wear a gold earring, rounding the Cape of Good Hope entitles you to another. They were your burial expenses, or your emergency fund, if you will. I saw one other passenger sporting a gold earring today, a clip-on like mine.
Our crossing of Drake Passage continued to be very calm, no great windstorms and no seas above about 10 feet. Now that we are out of Antarctica our water restrictions are lifted. We can do laundry again and can take showers. I really want a shower. There was no way they would really stop me from taking one but they politely requested. There is no dumping of even treated water in Antarctic waters so, while we could make fresh water, we cold not get rid of it. We’ll unload our tanks in Ushuaia.
This is February 4 and we’ve been on the ship a month. Most other cruises would be over but we’ve yet to cross a time zone in a westerly direction. To get around South America we needed to “backtrack” and go east to get around the bulge of South America. By this time two years ago we had crossed several time zones. In a sense our around the world trip has not even started. We have 97 days left to go.
Today we had our last three lectures from our Antarctic Expedition team. They were outstanding. At the end of the final presentation they were called on stage for a standing ovation. As I write this we are standing off of Puerto Williams, Chile, the southernmost town in the world. It sits on the Beagle Channel and is a little smaller in population than Sitka and at roughly the same latitude except south rather than north. Ushuaia in Argentina is further North and claims to be the southernmost city in the world. They will have to work that out themselves.
Suzi and I are wondering what will be the next highlight. The calls I was excited about were all front loaded, Rio, Iguassu Falls and Antarctica. The cruise is only a quarter over. Can it be we have hit the highlights? I suspect not. The Great Barrier Reef is ahead!