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Around 7am, we arrived at Isla Hornos, which is home to the famed Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn). As the southernmost point in the Americas where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet, this (in)famous headland today evokes thoughts of adventure and romance from the Age of Sail. However, I doubt it was anything closely approaching romantic to those sailors. In reality, Cape Horn was the site of misery, deprivation, and terror, which claimed a thousand or more ships and many multiples of that number in terms of lives lost. Moreover, even a successful rounding of the Horn (measured in tens of kilometers east to west) would take many days—and often months—to accomplish by tacking north and south (for hundreds of kilometers in total) in order to beat into the prevailing winds.

Of course, contemplating the miseries of Cape Horn requires some imagination when you’re standing on a modern ship that’s able to circumnavigate the entire island in about an hour, which is what we did this morning. Moreover, we had exceptionally good weather… that is to say, only low clouds and mild winds (15-20mph). Clearly, this made the remote, barren island seem less treacherous. And, while Cape Horn stands proudly defiant against the tempests from the Drake Passage, I can’t say that I found the 400+ meter cliff particularly majestic. Yet, some fellow passengers seemed to differ in opinion. In fact, I heard one woman describe it as “exquisite,” making me think she was either attempting to be poetical or is just prone to hyperbole. Or, perhaps, she’s not seen that many rocks or coastlines? No matter.

Here’s a photo of Cape Horn.

Cape Horn

The rest of our day was spent like most others at sea: meals, naps, lectures, reading, etc.

Tonight was the final formal night, which we again skipped.

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