Something that few people have ever done, we have sailed around Cape Horn from East to West then we turned around and sailed from West to East!!! Eat your heart out Captain Bligh!!! Captain Bligh spent over a month with the Bounty "trying" to sail around Cape Horn. He eventually gave up and went to Tahiti by going around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope - his crew was not amused.
Apparently, this is the first time that the Seabourn Quest has done this as well.
This entry is out of order, because we have been doing the typical cruise itinerary, eating, drinking and sleeping, punctuated by the occasional excursion. There are more entries to come, but I have to have a break from all this inactivity.
We had some fantastic excursions to Antarctica itself, more on that later. The place is a sea of cocktail ice overrun by thousand upon thousands of short waddly things in tuxedos - aka the "Penguin Set". On the first excursion, Karen lost her identification arm-band (lovely purple one with Karen's name and room number) and we have had a picture in our minds ever since that outing that there is a penguin on board with the arm-band impersonating Karen and having all sorts of cakes, ice cream and cookies.
After four excursions to Antarctica we had to cut short the portion of the trip to Antartica as two of the passengers became ill. The problem with being in a remote place like Antarctica (is there any other place like this?) is that it literally can take days before you arrive at a place where help can be provided. We do not know exactly what happened, but we are fairly certain that one of the passengers did not make it. A very sobering and somber experience.
We arrived a couple of days early to Ushuaia, Argentina, the Southernmost city in the World - sometimes called the "End of the World".
At Ushuaia, we had rebooked to an earlier date the prison/train excursion. Ushuaia was originally a prison colony as it was a natural island and was remote from everything else (sort of like Devil's Island, Australia and Roseburg, Oregon). Hardened criminals and political prisoners were lodged there. The place was very dark, cold and depressing - the local guides seemed to love it as there did not appear to be any other reason for Ushuaia to exist and the prison has now been closed for close to 70 years. The setting of Ushuaia is very beautiful, but the town itself is a bit on the used side of disrepair. It is one of those places which appear nicer the further away you are - we are testing this theory by heading far away. Ushuaia promises to be lovely when we return to Oregon.
Because of the change in itinerary, we ended up in the area of Tierra del Fuego with an extra day. The weather promised to be fairly nice (for this area, winds around Cape Horn of 60 nautical miles per hour - lovely Summer's day) so the Captain told us we were going around the Horn.
We woke up early (around 6 a.m.) to the Captain telling us we were approaching the Horn. We went from East to West first, so the Horn appeared on the Starboard side (and our cabin is on the Port side) so we went up to deck 10 at the bow of the ship to see. I went outside, but the wind made it difficult to even stand.
At the Horn (well, technically, on an island near the Horn island), there is a permanent residence lighthouse manned by Chileans (part of the Chilean navy) who stay there for a few months at a time. There is also a beautiful monument to the many sailors who have lost their lives at the Horn (thousands of ships have wrecked on the Horn) which is a huge metal sculpture of two albatrosses. We made it all of the way around the Horn and then the Captain brought the ship around and sailed from West to East. At that point, we went back to our cabin and were able to view the Horn from our private deck (where it was just the two of us and the wind was not as much of an issue).
The experience was amazing!!!!
Frankly, I thought that Cape Horn was named Cape Horn because of its shape. We come to find out that it is named after a town in the Netherlands, Hoorn. Who knew?