Monday, March 21, 2016

Cape Horn- South America

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the history of ships sailing around Cape Horn. I read stories of sailors fighting the seas for survival but losing and going down in horrendous weather. I always wondered what it would be like to actually be there, what it would feel like. Fast forward to today and I'm on a ship purposely sailing to the Cape. 

We arrived at the break of dawn and my wonderment was on high alert. The weather was cloudy, foggy and dull. And even though the technology in boat building has changed significantly and all safeguards are in place, I couldn't help but wonder if the seas could do any damage to our ship.
The ocean was definitely choppy but we were relatively steady. And then the Captain stopped the ship about a mile out, allowing us to view the unique Island marker that was in front of us. Feeling fearless, I ventured out to the observation deck. I felt I could have been blown away with gale-force winds as a bunch of us tried to open and close the door. So much for being fearless.

Cape Horn is actually a small island and marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans collide. The closest humans are back at Ushuaia or the scientists and military down in the Antartica. There's actually a lighthouse on the Cape with a family living there. Can you believe it? Having an argument with your better half would be futile as you couldn't just slam the door and go for a drive. Come to think of it, you couldn't even go for a long walk.

Although the Cape was a major milestone in the 1800s and 1900s for sailing ships carrying trade around the world, when the Panama Canal opened, the importance of the route declined significantly. Now it is really only a marker for sailors participating in races around the world and as a tourist site for cruise ships. But for me, I found it fascinating. 

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