Early this morning (5:50 am), we set our alarm to get up and throw on warm clothes to go out on the balcony to see Cape Horn. The Captain woke us up with an announcement a few minutes early and we looked out to see a stark island that looked very similar to Bear Island, Svalbard. Cape Horn is rugged looking,with a few hills and covered with peat miss and lichens and with very little large vegetation. It was larger than I expected. The seas were calm, so we were able to circumnavigate the island and cross between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We are so lucky that we booked a starboard side cabin as we did not have to leave to see everything.
Cape Horn has a lighthouse and very small naval station. Apparently the current Chilean officer stationed there has his wife and two children with him in this desolate place, but an assignment here is popular due to 300% pay for the position and rotates often. There is a large monument on a hill near the lighthouse, known as the albatross monument, that was constructed in the early 1990’s in memory of the hundreds of sailors who have died in ship wrecks around Cape Horn. The souls of these sailors are said to inhabit the beautiful and huge albatross birds that follow ships In this part of the world.
We went back to sleep for a couple of hours and woke up to the Drake Lake!! The notorious Drake Passage is almost as smooth as glass, with partly cloudy skies and no waves or white caps. Thank you, Lord! I hope the weather is at least this good tomorrow when we cruise into the Schallert Channel, Paradise Bay, and the Gerlache Strait.
We haven’t see very many of our Roll Call folks. Apparently, they all like trivia (which we are avoiding on this cruise) and 40 of them went on a private tour yesterday in Ushuaia to Marillo Island, where they walked among Magellan, Gentoo and a couple of Emperor penguins. Sounds like it was a lot of fun but would have been challenging for me, so hopefully we’ll see a few of the comical flightless birds on the shores in Antarctica and in the Valdez peninsula.
Steve posted a few photos (yay!), so you have something other than my blathering to enjoy.