Rounding Cape Horn


No this is not an island you want to visit for a vacation. This is small Hormos Island at the southernmost tip of Chile, South America. It known as Cape Horn. In 1616 it was found and navigated by Willem Schouten a Dutch sea captain, and navigator. He was exploring to find a way to get from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, to break the monopoly of the Dutch East India Trading Company. The area is also known as the Drake Passage. Named for Sir Francis Drake.  The need to make this dangerous passage became much less frequent with the opening of the Panama Canal in 1913.

The far Southern area of Chile is called Tierra del Fuego. It is a very rugged area and is cold because it is so far south. In the old days when wooden sailing ships, that were not so sturdy it was much more difficult with strong winds, heavy seas, and some icebergs.  Later sailing ships were square rigged and better able to handle the heavy weather. Now with modern large cruise ships and fighters, rounding the horn is much less difficult and dangerous.

In August of 2008 I was on an extended trip to South America, and while cruising on a Hollad America ship we were told that the next day we would be sailing around Cape Horn.  At about 4:30 AM the ship’s crew announce that if we wanted to see us pass the Horn we needed to get on very warm clothes, and get out on deck. We bundled up and went out to see and record this historic event. It was just barely light out, and a bit foggy, with cloudy skies. I grabbed my camera, and got a few shots as we passed lands’ end. On can see a lighthouse, a monument and a flag. I lightened the picture so you can see it clearly. It actually looked rather foreboding. All passengers received a certificate signed by our ship's captain, to commerate our passage around the Horn.