Cape Horn
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Cape Horn


 

In December 2018 we are doing business with the Celebrity Eclipsese a cruise to South American destinations. Winter temperatures prevail at home, and people in metropolises in the southern half of the American continent enjoy early summer. We achieve in brevity Ushuaia, the southernmost city in Latin America, where we won't feel the summer because of the temperatures there

Ushuaia - city center view

Ushuaia - city center view


But before we get to know Ushuaia, circumnavigation of the legendary Cape Horn is on the route list. Low temperatures await us off Cape Horn, and there will also be constant rain. However, the sea is calm. What the heck, we take the weather situation calmly. For us and many of our fellow travelers, the trip around Cape Horn is a circumnavigation North Cape or visiting the Capes of Good Hope in South Africa.

With the cruise ship in the Drake Passage
Isla de Hornos
Isla de Hornos
Rock formations of Isla de Hornos

Cape Horn – Discovery of the Cape

More than 400 years ago, in January 1616, sailors on behalf of the Dutch Australian Company passed through Cape Horn for the first time. The surrounding ocean region is known as the Drake Passage. It connects the Atlantic with the Pacific. Because of its inherent dangers, it is considered one of the most feared and inhospitable sea routes in the world. The alternative route through the Strait of Magellan, also connecting both oceans, had already been discovered in 1520.

Rocks in the Drake Passage

Rocks in the Drake Passage


Cape Horn – not the southernmost point of Latin America

Cape Horn is located at 55°59' south latitude on the Isla de Hornos. The equally symbolic North Cape, on the other hand, is located at 71°10' north latitude, i.e. in a much more exposed position to the North Pole than Cape Horn to the South Pole. However, like the North Cape in Europe, Cape Horn is not the furthest point in South America. It can be found on the Diego Ramírez Islands, approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Cape Horn. Apart from this statement, Cape Horn is generally referred to as the southernmost point of Latin America.

The rock plateau of Cape Horn

The rock plateau of Cape Horn


Cape Horn – a gigantic ship cemetery

Strong winds from the west and rough seas regularly prevail off Cape Horn. Because of these conditions, Cape Horn is not unreasonably considered a gigantic ship graveyard. More than 800 ships wrecked and sank in storms there, and more than 10.000 sailors lost their lives. Since December 1992, the monument of a stylized albatross, visible from a distance, has been dedicated to these sailors on the Isla de Hornos. According to a poem, the bird carries the souls of dead sailors on its wings into eternity.

The Albatross - the Cape Horn Monument

The Albatross - the Cape Horn Monument


Cape Horn - little more than a rock plateau

Stairs lead from the simple pier up to the rock plateau, which is around 250 meters high and ten square kilometers in size. The maximum height of the cape is 424 meters. On the plateau are the lighthouse, a residential building and the albatross monument. Wooden walkways connect the points with each other. As you can read, a Chilean soldier accompanied by his family spends a year serving at the lighthouse. Ships from the Chilean Navy regularly supply the islanders with the necessities of life. Cape Horn is not a holiday region, and it rains more or less heavily 280 days a year.

Cape Horn lighthouse

Cape Horn lighthouse


Huge rocks rise out of the sea in front of Isla de Hornos. The country appears barren and desolate. At least we see the lighthouse, the post's house and the albatross monument.

In heavy rain off Cape Horn
Cape Horn in sight
An albatross
Cruising in front of the Isla de Hornos

Conclusion of our circumnavigation of Cape Horn

Circumnavigation of Cape Horn on board the Celebrity Eclipse is one of the special, possibly unique experiences in our lives. So far we have experienced bad weather conditions in the North Cape and the Cape of Good Hope. However, Cape Horn exceeds our expectations and experiences. Only hardened passengers stay on the outside decks. The rest of the travelers preferably spend the passage in the lounges and other protected places. As the day progresses the rain eases and visibility improves. We have one consolation: the sea is extremely calm and we see several albatrosses. We continually hear information about our respective positions from the bridge. Nice to experience all of this.

Update February 2024


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