Cape Horn is located in Chilean waters at the southern tip of South America and is the place where the Pacific, Atlantic and Antarctic Oceans all meet. With strong currents, strong winds and icebergs it has been a notoriously dangerous area of the oceans and throughout the centuries has claimed many a sailors life.
As our ship ’rounded the Horn’ (the usual term) the water was fairly calm with a wave height of only 1 foot (0.3 m). Although the weather was cloudy and overcast apparently this is good weather for Cape Horn! Roberto, the Ships director announced that we were indeed lucky to have such good weather as it is usually much rougher. This is one of the roughest areas of sea in the World.
The ship rounded the Horn at 7 am although we were ‘rounding’ for nearly an hour as the ship went along one part, then back again and then did a 360 degree turn so that all passengers had a good view.
We had a full commentary from Roberto as the ship rounded the Horn… These are some of the interesting facts we learned…
Cape Horn is actually an island and is not to be confused with Cape Froward which we passed a couple of days ago. Cape Froward is the Southernmost tip of mainland South America.
A memorial in the shape of an albatross was erected in 1992 to remember those who lost their lives whilst trying to round the Horn.
In September 1578 Sir Francis Drake on his circumnavigation of the World passed through the Magellan Strait to the Pacific. However a storm blew him south to Tierra del Fuego. The expanse of open water led Drake to discover that Tierra del Fuego was in fact an island and not another continent as previously thought. This is remarkably like the Wikipedia description… probably where Roberto was reading from…
In 1616 a Dutch ship was the first to round the Horn. Cape Horn is named after a Dutch town called Hoorn.
In 1788 the infamous HMS Bounty took 31 days to make only 85 miles of progress in an attempt to go from East to West so gave up and went around Africa…