Round the Horn

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I thought this morning that we were going to be in for some stormy weather but, as the day progressed, calm descended on the seas and we approached “The End of the World’ in totally flat waters.

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The cold was biting as the wind blew straight off the Antarctic unimpeded by land, but what an amazing experience.  The commentator told us about the thousands of lives that had been lost where the oceans meet and seas of up to 100 ft have swept ships onto rocks or simply swallowed them.  I thought about the single-handed round the world yachtsmen and women who have gone through these waters in dire conditions whilst we stood out on deck fearing no threat whatsoever.

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The most southerly lighthouse on Horn Island had no role to play today.  We launched a tender and crew members took our papers to the island to record our passage.
An interesting piece of information was also broadcast… any sailor rounding Cape Horn was entitled to put one foot on the table at dinner time.  If he had also rounded the Cape of Good Hope, he could put two feet on the table! I wonder how many people we will see with a foot on the table tonight?!

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Whilst I am very grateful not to be sailing into the teeth of the Furious Fifties, in many ways I am sorry not to have seen the storm lashed seas predicted for me.  My photos are rather tame.  There are vicious rocks to be seen and you can imagine the wicked currents which can pull ships towards them, but this calm millpond with a gentle wake must be the Captain’s dream.  We have sailed right around Horn Island and done a ‘Cook’s Tour’ to see if we could see the puffins, penguins, sea lions and whales (which make their way to the Antarctic at this time of year).  We didn’t see any but neither did we see any icebergs, which can be an additional hazard.

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I am still left feeling, “Wow, what an experience” and am so privileged to have had the opportunity.  Now heading North for Ushuaia and the currents have caught up with us causing the ship to rock and judder.  Perhaps a night of heavy seas after all or merely rock ‘n’ roll?

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