Rounding the Cape!

Cape Horn Travel Blog

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Approaching Cape Horn from the East

This was a day at sea with the main attraction being Cape Horn, which were scheduled to reach about 5:00 PM. We were just waking at about 8:45 when Gus called and invited us to join them and Frank & Pat for breakfast in the Donatello at 9:00. We hustled on down to some pretty lousy eggs benedict. Vic was speaking in the Princess Theater at 11:00 so the whole gang of us attended that together.

Afterward Lin & I chilled in the room for a while until I bundled up (not enough) and headed for the sun deck to write and read. As I write these words I'm sitting all alone in an area at the bow that is partially blocked from the strong wind. The seas are actually quite mild given our location but the bow of this huge ship is still dancing quite a bit due to some low-frequency swells.

Approaching Cape Horn from the East
This is a kick! Still, I wish it was a lot rougher; this is much too calm for the infamous Cape.

We had lunch in the Donatello and I had to run off to a meeting, leaving Lin at the table. The meeting was simply a gathering of pilots in the Promenade Lounge. A Princess staff member was there just to serve as a focal point to get things going but he was not a pilot and left as soon as conversation was flowing. Of course, that doesn't take long with pilots! There was quite a collection including a Vietnam helicopter jockey and a guy from Panama who also flies choppers. Frank and I both attended but Gus was AWOL. There were about a dozen folks there and it started breaking up after about an hour.

Back in the room, I could see Cape Horn in the distance from the balcony.

Approaching Cape Horn from the East
I watched it from there for quite a while but eventually the ship made a right turn and the Cape disappeared beyond the bow. We’d wanted cabin on the starboard side because I naturally assumed we'd leave the Cape to starboard. However, the ship circumnavigated the island counter-clockwise so the port side was the favored one! This time I bundled up properly with long underwear top and bottom, cords, wind pants, flannel shirt, lined jacket, wind shell with hood, woolen skull cap and boots. I only wore one pair of medium weight socks. The one thing I neglected was gloves but I'm not sure I could have worn them and used the camera, anyway.

The cape was WONDERFUL but even the pictures won't tell the story. As we rounded the southern tip, we were probably no more than a mile away.

Cape Horn Weather Station
I had not dreamed that we'd get that close! It was a beautiful day; not totally sunny but bright enough for some good pictures. I was a little disappointed that the sea was so calm.  Now, you must realize that "calm" is relative; water was splashing out of the pool!  However, the Captain said they've seen 60 foot seas with waves crashing over the bridge and filling the pool!

Unknown to me, Lin spent the time in the Horizon Court.  By the time I came down I was frozen but exhilarated! We danced in the Wheelhouse before and after dinner. However, because we were unsure what time our tour started in the AM, we quit when the band broke at 11.

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Cape Horn was awesome! I must admit that part of my awe was simply because it IS Cape Horn. Because I am such an avid sailor and have read countless stories of voyages around Cape Horn, my visit was a bit of a pilgrimage. I knew it was an island; what I did not know was that there is a deep, wide passage around it and that we would be completely circumnavigating it on this trip. Just being there was a rush. My only disappointment was that the sea was so calm. I was really hoping for more excitement. I'm afraid I was part of a very small minority on the ship as most people were delighted that their anxiety was for naught.
Approaching Cape Horn from the East
Approaching Cape Horn from the East
Approaching Cape Horn from the East
Approaching Cape Horn from the East
Approaching Cape Horn from the East
Approaching Cape Horn from the East
Cape Horn Weather Station
Cape Horn Weather Station
If you look closely, youll see th…
If you look closely, you'll see t…
At the Northwest tip of the island
At the Northwest tip of the island
At the Northwest tip of the island
At the Northwest tip of the island
Cape Horn from the West
Cape Horn from the West
Cape Horn from the West
Cape Horn from the West
THE Southern tip of the Americas!!
THE Southern tip of the Americas!!
Cape Horn looking Westward
Cape Horn looking Westward
Cape Horn
photo by: cmgervais