Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cape Horners

The picture above (two giant petrels) is by Elias.  

The pictures of his parents below are also by Elias.  He achieves a certain documentary authority from his perch under the dodger. 

Yes, I'm afraid that's how we really looked.  We were trying to get into Caleta Martial, on Isla Herschel, in the Wollaston Islands.

The Wollaston Islands are the archipelago where Cape Horn is found.

We had a forecast for 20 knots of wind on this day, but got much much more at the end of the day.  We ended up going to windward under three reefs and staysail to make Bahía Arquistade and our anchorage at Caleta Martial.

We put up some points on the Unintended Drama Board (I won't go into details) and also managed to strand another aft lower shroud.  Sigh.

But everything ended up OK.  Meanwhile, Elias was as cool as can be, watching his parents at work - see the selfie below:

Visiting Cape Horn was never something I was particularly interested in doing during our time in Tierra del Fuego.  I figured that rounding Cape Horn meant going from 50°S to 50°S in the open ocean, taking whatever weather came along.  Ever since I heard a motorboat owner at a beach potluck in the tropical South Pacific, talking oh-so-casually about his time at Cape Horn, I figured that the modern version, of harbor-hopping down to the Horn and sneaking around on a fair weather day, wasn't something that I needed to do.

Our track around Isla Hornos
But then Alisa (all praise!) said that she wanted to leave Chile behind without any regrets over things that we'd left undone.  And maybe it would be kind of fun to go see Cape Horn?

Elias latched on the idea, and I was very easy to convince.

So last Friday, with a reasonable forecast in hand, we made tracks for the Horn.

It was a fast trip, as we were eyeing the end of our visas and the time needed to prepare for the passage onwards to Uruguay.  The Wollastons are beautiful, and we could have spent a long time happily knocking around the area between Puerto Williams and the Horn.

But the summer is on, it's going to go quickly, and it's time that we want to be a bit goal-oriented about things.  So we came away with a quick visit to the Horn, which was good enough for us.

And, to whit, here are some crew portraits in front of that most famous landmark in the whole aqueous sphere:

Eric, meanwhile....We had very light tailwinds on the morning we were approaching the Horn, with a respectable swell running.  Which meant that Eric was seasick, and not too keen to get out of bed.

Alisa finally rousted him, held a bowl while he vomited, and put his raingear over his pajamas so that he could come up and collapse under a blanket under the shelter of the dodger.

So Eric rounded Cape Horn in his PJs.

The Cape Horn monument from seaward.  The wind had come up from the
northeast by this point, and made the anchorage at Cape Horn untenable,
so we couldn't have gone ashore even if we wanted to.  (Which we didn't.)