Cape Horn

January 23 Cabo de Hornos, Puerto Williams

Cape Horn

When the ship arrived at Cape Horn, there was both no rain and no wind. This is a rare combination here, so we were very lucky. Landing on the island was very easy.

Stairway

The landing place on the island is a small bay at the bottom of a steep slope. There is a defunct freight railway and a steep flight of 104 stairs to the plateau.

Residence

The island is home to a Chilean navy couple, whose tour of duty here lasts for a year.

Chapel

There is also a chapel, which has been on the island for a number of years.

Memorial

Recently this piece of sculpture has been placed on the island, as a memorial to the many sailors who died in the treacherous waters around Cape Horn. It is a simple square, with an albatross—the bird that typifies the Southern Ocean—cut out of it.

Plaque

Cape Horn Monument

  • In memory of the seamen of all nations who lost their lives struggling against the elements in the stormy Southern Ocean.
  • Erected through an initiative of the Chilean section of the Captains of Cape Horn (“Cap Horniers”) on the fifth centenary of the discovery of America.
  • Designed by the national sculptor Mr. Jose Balcells E.
  • Financed by maritime and private entities and constructed by the Navy of Chile.
  • Solemnly inaugurated the 5th of December, 1992, with the assistance of the Senior Commander in Chief of the Navy of Chile, government authorities, and members of the International Fraternity of the Captains of Cape Horn (“Cap Horniers”).
Poem

Cape Horn Monument

I am the albatross that awaits you
at the end of the world
I am the forgotten souls of the dead sailors
who rounded Cape Horn
from all of the seven seas.
But they did not die
in the furious waves.
Now they fly on my wings,
Towards eternity,
Into the last crack
of the Antarctic winds.

 

Sara Vial
December, 1992

 

Herschel Island

As the ship cruised away from Cape Horn, we passed by Herschel Island. This is an unimpressive-looking island, but the world has two islands named “Herschel”. One is here at the southern end of South America, and the other is at the northern end of North America: in the Arctic Ocean just off the northern Yukon coast.

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