Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crossing the Drake Passage

22 & 23 January 2010

Crossing the Drake Passage was a "piece of cake" on 22 January. Generally, we enjoyed very calm seas. Most of us were out on deck, watching the seabirds drifting by and, perhaps, reflecting on our most successful voyage. The evening of 23 January the forecast report was for tougher seas. So, our captain turned our course toward the northeast. Finally, about 2 pm, we turned again, and we were in quiet, following seas. This course diversion brought us within six miles of Cape Horn.

Cape Horn is widely considered to be the most southerly point of South America, and marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage. For many years, it was a milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. It is a notorious sailors' graveyard. But, our passage and views were in remarkably calm seas.

The authorities at Cape Horn would not allow us to approach any closer. Nevertheless, we were able to make out the Cape Horn Memorial. Captain Pruss brought his laptop out and showed pictures of this memorial from a trip where he was able to get much closer. Morten, our Expedition Leader, read the inscription, both in English and Spanish. It goes as follows:

I, the albatross that awaits for you at the end of the world...

I, the forgotten soul of the sailors lost that crossed Cape Horn from all the seas of the world.

But die they did not
in the fierce waves,
for today towards eternity
in my wings they soar
in the last crevice
of the Antarctic winds

Sara Vial
Dec - 1992

And, so the ending of our voyage was nearing. This evening, in the lecture room, one last time, Debra showed three different slide shows, set to music of our adventures together. These would be the shows on the final voyage DVD given to each of us in remembrance of our special travels together.

Long live the Southern Oceans,

Debi Shearwater

Professor Multinovsky, charter voyage

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