Day 24...Cruise to South America...Cape Horn...The End of the World...How exciting!...Ushuaia...


This rock formation connotes where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet at Cape Horn.
"Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising"
Evening photo last night.  The sun didn't fully set until almost 11:00 pm.
It was only around 6:00 am that we were situated in Cafe al Bacio.  The ship is humming with announcements over the loudspeaker with the enthusiasm of the passengers palpable as we sail from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean via Cape Horn, South America.
Tom said he was nearly blown away by high winds when he took this photo early this morning as we approached Cape Horn.
It's hard to believe we are currently in Cape Horn that explorers discovered long ago, an uninhabited weather dominated acclaimed "end of the world," known as the last visible land mass before reaching Antarctica.
Rock formations at Cape Horn.
This is of particular interest to us based on the fact that we'll be heading to Antarctica in a mere 38 days.  Taking this particular cruise prior to the upcoming cruise has proven to be highly beneficial to our understanding and appreciation for this remote part of the world.

Here is a map of this area from this site:
Map of the most southerly tip of South America, Cape Horn, where we're currently sailing.
 From this site, more on Cape Horn:

"Cape Horn (SpanishCabo de Hornos) is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile and is located on the small Hornos Island. Although not the most southerly point of South America (which are the Diego Ramírez Islands), Cape Horn marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage and marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet.

Cape Horn was discovered and first rounded by the Dutchman Willem Schouten, who named it Kaap Hoorn after the city of Hoorn in the Netherlands. For decades, Cape Horn was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. The waters around Cape Horn are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents, and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors' graveyard.

The need for ships to round Cape Horn was greatly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Sailing around the Horn is widely regarded as one of the major challenges in yachting. Thus a few recreational sailors continue to sail this route, sometimes as part of a circumnavigation of the globe. Almost all of these choose routes through the channels to the north of the Cape. (Many take a detour through the islands and anchor to wait for fair weather to visit Horn Island, or sail around it to replicate a rounding of this historic point). Several prominent ocean yacht races, notably the Volvo Ocean Race, the VELUX 5 Oceans, and the Vendée Globe, sail around the world via the Horn. Speed records for round-the-world sailing are recognized for following this route.
Many rock formations are named but with the slow Wi-Fi right now we're unable to do much research.
Cape Horn is located on Isla Hornos in the Hermite Islands group, at the southern end of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.  It marks the north edge of the Drake Passage, the strait between South America and Antarctica. It is located in Cabo de Hornos National Park.

The cape lies within Chilean territorial waters, and the Chilean Navy maintains a station on Hoorn Island, consisting of a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse.  A short distance from the main station is a memorial, including a large sculpture made by Chilean sculptor José Balcells featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in remembrance of the sailors who died while attempting to "round the Horn". It was erected in 1992 through the initiative of the Chilean Section of the Cape Horn Captains Brotherhood.[ The terrain is entirely treeless, although quite lush owing to frequent precipitation. Cape Horn is the southern limit of the range of the Magellanic penguin.

Two lighthouses are located near or in Cape Horn. The one located in the Chilean Navy Station is the more accessible and visited, and is commonly referred to as the Cape Horn lighthouse. However, the Chilean Navy station, including the lighthouse (ARLS CHI-030, 55°57′48.5″S 67°13′14.2″W) and the memorial, are not located on Cape Horn (which is difficult to access either by land or sea), but on another land point about one-mile east-northeast.

Views of Cape Horn from the ship's bow.
On Cape Horn proper is a smaller 4-meter (13-foot) fiberglass light tower, with a focal plane of 40 meters (130 feet) and a range of about 21 kilometers (13 miles). This is the authentic Cape Horn lighthouse (ARLS CHI-006, 55°58′38.3″S 67°15′45.5″W), and as such the world's southernmost traditional lighthouse.  A few minor aids to navigation are located farther south, including one in the Diego Ramírez Islands and several in Antarctica.
The climate in the region is generally cool, owing to the southern latitude. There are no weather stations in the group of islands including Cape Horn; but a study in 1882–1883, found an annual rainfall of 1,357 millimeters (53.4 inches), with an average annual temperature of 5.2 °C (41.4 °F). Winds were reported to average 30 kilometers per hour (8.33 m/s; 18.64 mph), (5 Bf), with squalls of over 100 kilometers per hour (27.78 m/s; 62.14 mph), (10 Bf) occurring in all seasons. There are 278 days of rainfall (70 days snow) and 2,000 millimeters (79 inches) of annual rainfall.
Cloud coverage is generally extensive, with averages from 5.2 eighths in May and July to 6.4 eighths in December and January.  Precipitation is high throughout the year: the weather station on the nearby Diego Ramirez Islands, 109 kilometres (68 mi) south-west in the Drake Passage, shows the greatest rainfall in March, averaging 137.4 millimetres (5.41 in); while October, which has the least rainfall, still averages 93.7 millimetres (3.69 in). Wind conditions are generally severe, particularly in winter. In summer, the wind at Cape Horn is gale force up to 5% of the time, with generally good visibility; however, in winter, gale-force winds occur up to 30% of the time, often with poor visibility.
Ship in the area heading further south to Antarctica.
Many stories are told of hazardous journeys "around the Horn," most describing fierce storms. Charles Darwin wrote: "One sight of such a coast is enough to make a landsman dream for a week about shipwrecks, peril, and death."
Our plan had been to post the story of yesterday's visit to Ushuaia but based on today's sailing to Cape Horn, we decided to postpone it until tomorrow which will be a sea day.  We're excited to share the photos from Ushuaia as well
Cape Horn is not one single spot.  Its a series of islands and rock formations.
Last night, at the Captain's Club party from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, we thoroughly enjoyed the company of another new couple.  We continue to enjoy meeting travelers from all over the world on this cruise, especially during the relaxed and easy environment of the Captain's Club.

I took a break from the group at around 6:30 while management staff from the specialty restaurants stopped by to ask me to meet the chef from two of the specialty restaurants where we'll be dining over the next few days subsequently preparing stories here with photos of the special dining experiences.

Albatross statue at top of a hill in Cape Horn by Jose Balcells as a memorial to sailors who lost their lives at Cabo de Homes, Cape Horn Chili.
At dinner, we sat at a round table for 10, again meeting more passengers we'd yet to meet.  Later, several of us danced at the silent disco party in the area of the solarium pool.  It was freezing cold in that area and we both had to bundle up to stay warm, even with our rambunctious dancing to the music.

Today, we'll need a nap.  We're both a bit sluggish after getting to bed at midnight and arising by 5:00 am.  Tomorrow, we'll be back with our fabulous photos of Ushuaia, one of the most interesting towns we've visited during this 30-night cruise, which ends one week from today.
Lighthouse in Cape Horn.  For this Cape Horn lighthouse fable, please click here.
May those of you who celebrate, enjoy holiday festivities safely and with much merriment
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Photo from one year ago today, December 16, 2016:

Fran and Terry hosted our evening ou at a local cafe. During our evening we met other locals in Penguin Tasmania.  For more details, please click here.

Day 23...Cruise to South America...Pantagonia...The Straits!!!...Today, we're officially at the city known as the "End of the World," Ushuaia, Argentina.


Map of where we've traveled over these past many days in the Chilean and Magellan Straits.
"Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising"
Note the snow-covered pointed peak
Of course, we were disappointed to be unable to post the stunning photos we've taken in this remote part of the world.  Since we're far from satellites, the signal is so weak, we can barely write the post, let alone post photos.
Snow covered mountains left us all in awe of the scenes before our eyes.
After considering a number of "workarounds" we're now able to post with photos and have since gone back to yesterday's post adding the photos we'd earmarked for that post.

Now, at almost 1:00 pm Friday, December 15th, we're back in business and able to post properly.  It's a huge relief!  We were both concerned and frustrated being unable to complete the posts, not only for the disappointment in being unable to stay in touch with all of our readers but also for the fact we'd get behind with backlogged photos and stories.
We imagined how exciting it would be to be on a small boat maneuvering through the fiords.
As of today, we'll be caught up.  Early this morning, we disembarked the ship to visit one of the most exciting ports of call during this cruise, Ushuaia, Argentina.  Knowing we'll be returning to Ushuaia in 39 days to board the Antarctica cruise made being here today all the more exciting.
The fiords create their own weather system which was always changing.
Tomorrow, we'll share the Ushuaia photos but today, we feel its important to share the photos and story of the outstanding passage we made through the Chilean and Magellan Straits, one of the most memorable scenery experience in our five years of world travel.

With the utmost of awe and wonder, for days our eyes were constantly peeled out the windows and decks (albeit in bitter cold) taking in every fantastic scene of the remote and untarnished area of the world, Patagonia, as shown in the above map.
A patch of blue sky at a distance.
There was no port of call stops.  There were no shops, no restaurants, and no trinkets to buy.  There was only the finite remoteness of a land we can only imagine like neither of us had ever witnessed anywhere in the world.
Many of the rock formations have a grayish cast.
I feel breathless in attempting to describe this desolate place near the "end of the world" where one snow-covered mountain and glacier after another caught or attention, leaving us in a state of utter wonder over the magic of the world around us.
We sailed over hundreds of miles (KM) through the Chilean Fiords and The Strait(s) of Magellan.  The views are breathtaking!
Our photos cannot do it justice. How does one take an entrancing photo of a glacier or mountain when "up close and personal" as we were hour after hour? We sailed through it all from morning until dark which didn't come until almost 11:00 pm each night.
Each snow covered mountain is more beautiful than the next.  Photos don't do it justice.
A few photos we previously posted of the two of us were indeed taken outdoors around 10:00 pm.  The air is cold and fresh.  We saw no evidence of human intervention; no trash, no debris, no remnants of human life in any form.  
Gorgeous glaciers.
We observed a variety of seabirds but there was little visible of wildlife although we anticipated hidden within the rugged terrain, therein may live a vast array of wildlife we may never see.

We'd heard snippets of the Chilean Fiords and the Strait of Magellan.  Also, we've seen similar settings in other parts of the world, for example, the "sounds" in New Zealand.  We've anticipated the Norwegian fiords and others.  But, no way can we conceive of those being more astounded than that which our eye beheld over these past days at sea.
A glacier in the straits.
Thus, dear readers, with a bit of trepidation we share today's photos, knowing full well that there's no way our amateurish photos can depict what our eyes beheld.  Know that...within our heartfelt words expressed here...it was astounding.  We'll never forget.
This photo was taken through the glass window in the dining room resulting in the blue tint.
In a mere eight days, we'll disembark this ship, the Celebrity Infinity, for a month in Buenos Aires, a vast difference from our time aboard the ship but surely we'll enjoy in an entirely different manner.


Be well.  Be happy.
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Photo from one year ago today, December 15, 2016:
This pretty horse caught our attention as we drove through the countryside in Penguin, Tasmania.  For more photos please click here.

Day 22...Cruise to South America...Punta Arenas, Chile, port of call has been cancelled due to rough seas...


Punta Arenas would have been a great port of call to visit but bad weather prevented the necessary use of the tenders.  We sailed away.
"Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising"

Tom captured this rainbow when we were in Punta Arenas, Chile.

 A few frustrations popped up this morning.  One is due to rough seas, we won't be able to visit today's port of call, Punta Arenas, Chile one we'd very much looked forward to visiting during this cruise.

Secondly, the Wi-Fi signal aboard ship this morning is outrageously slow, making it impossible at the moment to upload our awaiting photos for today's post.

Another view of Tom's rainbow capture.

Well, missing the port isn't so crucial for us when we plan to return to South America for an extended stay in 2019-2020.  Thus, we take that in our stride.  However, being unable to upload photos is an entirely different scenario altogether.  

I'll continue to try but if I can't get them uploaded, we'll have to post our story for today, adding the photos as soon as we receive a better signal.  Since all passengers are staying onboard today, they are busy on cellphones, tablets, and computers. 

A cruise ship, a freighter and a fishing boat in the harbour in Punta Arenas.

Plus, many passengers had booked private tours for Punta Arenas and are busy attempting to cancel them in order to receive refunds for monies they may have paid in advance.  That must be frustrating.

In these circumstances, the cruise line automatically reverses all charges for ship-sponsored booked tours without the necessity of passengers heading to the guest relations desk.  But, they do not reimburse passengers for any lost funds they aren't able to recover from private tours.

What a pretty city view.
Hopefully, the tour company operators understand the weather conditions and will refund all monies paid in advance.  None the less, it's quite an inconvenience for those passengers working on that today.  Luckily, we hadn't planned anything specific when we would have grabbed a taxi for a few hour tour of the area.

Instead, we're now leaving Chile to be on our way to Ushuaia, Argentina for tomorrow's port of call.  Oddly, we'll be back in Ushuaia on January 23rd, when we fly from Buenos Aires to board the Ponant Antarctica Cruise.


View of Puneta Arenas from the bow of the ship.
When we arrive on January 23rd, we won't have much time in the most southerly city in the world so we hope to disembark the ship tomorrow and explore on our own.

We're so fortunate to have this upcoming Antarctica cruise since we've been wearing a number of items we purchased for that cruise, in order to stay warm, especially during these high winds rough seas in the area.  


A ferry making its way to the port.

The ship keeps the indoor temperature very cool to control the spread of germs.  As a result, most passengers including us are bundled up in warm clothing with many wearing heavy jackets.  We haven't needed to wear our jackets but certainly, are taking advantage of sweaters and nice sweatshirts we have on hand.  Safari luck.

Last night, again, we stayed up very late having too much fun!  I don't think I slept for four hours.  Tom's slept a few hours more than I did and is feeling well after his pesky cold subsided. 

On the other hand, I may have dodged a bullet by not catching Tom's cold but today, I feel a bit raggedy.  Perhaps a short nap will be on today's agenda, later in the day.

As we sailed away from Punta Arenas...


At the moment, we're in the Cafe al Bacio doing the usual, writing to all of our worldwide readers while enjoying the delightful conversation that periodically ensues with passengers stopping by to chat.

May you have a great day engaged in delightful conversation!
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Photo from one year ago today, December 14, 2016:
Last year at this time we called Pyengana Dairy Company in Tasmania to order 10 packages to be shipped to us in Penguin, Tasmania as a holiday time treat since we don't eat traditional Christmas baked goods and candies.  For more details, please click here.

Day 21...Cruise to South America...Whoa!...Videos of rough seas as we approach the Strait of Magellan!

 
This morning's video of the water splashing out of the pool
during the rough seas as we approach the Strait of Magellan.

"Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising"
This is just the beginning of what is yet to come as we approach
Cape Horn, in the next few days. one of the windiest spots of the planet.
We traded photo taking with another couple while on the deck last night around 9:00 pm. 
Whew! What a start to the day! Around 5:00 am this morning while awake as usual, I felt the familiar rolling of rough seas. As soon as it became light, I opened the drapes to find some rough seas.

It was a "smart casual" night so we didn't have to figure out what to wear for a dressy night. 
Tom was still sleeping and I didn't awaken him knowing he needed every moment of sleep as he's quickly recovering from his six-day cold, now almost completely gone.

Snow-capped mountain.
How I didn't catch the cold baffles me but I won't "look a gift horse in the mouth."  I'll take whatever good health comes our way as we continue on our journey.

Most often its foggy and cloudy when sailing through the Chilean Fiords.  We were fortunate to see some blue skies.
I'm hoping that with all the care I've taken these past few years with the gastrointestinal illness that perhaps my immune system has recovered and I'll be less prone to coughs, colds, and flu.  On at least half of our 21 prior cruises, I've fallen prey to the "cruise cough," a sore throat and/or cold or flu.  My fingers stay crossed for this one.

The scenery is breathtaking through the fiords.
This morning, after taking the two above videos, we're comfortably situated in Cafe al Bacio with cruise-mate Don with whom we've shared many delightful conversations over these past many mornings while I busily prepared the day's post, all the while listening to the conversations between Tom and Don.

Snow-capped mountains in the Chilean Fiords.
The captain of the ship continues to keep us informed as to the development of the storm we're currently experiencing. However, we have no doubt the seas will worsen over the next several days.  With our past cruising experience, we aren't intimidated by rough seas.

We took this photo last night, close to 10:00 pm.
Instead, we're fascinated with where we've been these past many days and anticipating what is yet to come over the remaining 10 days until the cruise ends.  This has been an amazing cruise thus far.

There wasn't much vegetation on the islands in the cold weather climate.
For a bit of information about the Chilean Fiords where we've been sailing over these last many days:


"Fjords and channels of Chile


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The southern coast of Chile presents a large number of fjords and fjord-like channels from the latitudes of Cape Horn (55° S) to Reloncaví Estuary (42° S). Some fjords and channels are important navigable channels providing access to ports like Punta ArenasPuerto Chacabuco, and Puerto Natales.

History


During colonial times, the fjords and channels of Patagonia were first explored by the Spaniards. There were a number of motivations for their explorations, including a desire to Christianize indigenous peoples, to prevent intrusions of any foreign power into territory claimed by Spain, to increase geographic knowledge of the zone, and finally, to search for a mythical city called the City of the Caesars. In 1792, the viceroy of Peru ordered the exploration of the Patagonian channels in order to find an entrance to the interior of Patagonia. The said order was carried off by José de Moraleda who led an expedition that visited many of the main channels of the zone. In the early to mid 19th century, explorations by hydrographers like Robert FitzRoy and Francisco Hudson increased knowledge on the channels. The channels south of the Isthmus of Ofqui were explored in detail by Chilean government agent Hans Steffen in the late 19th century.

Climate and geography

This route is mostly used by vessels desiring to avoid the heavy seas and bad weather so often experienced on passing into the Pacific Ocean from the western end of the Strait of Magellan. The large full-powered mail steamers generally at once gain the open sea at Cape Pillar (at the west entrance of the Strait of Magellan), as experience has shown that time is thus saved to them; but vessels of less engine power, to which punctuality and dispatch is not so much an object as avoiding possible danger, will find the Patagonian Channels the best route.
The general features of these channels are high, abrupt shores, with innumerable peaks and headlands remarkably alike in character, their bold, rugged heads giving an appearance of gloomy grandeur rarely seen elsewhere. The shores are generally steep-to and the channels, for the most part, open and free, while the few dangers that exist are usually marked by kelp. The tides are regular and not strong, except in the English Narrows.
In the case of the two above mentioned and some other fjords, these waterways proved of value as transport lanes when western Patagonia was settled and incorporated into Chile. On the other hand, the fjords have served as a natural barrier preventing north-south land travel in Chilean Patagonia."
Overview of Channels in South Chile: North to right and South to left side
Map of the Chilean Fiords.
By 2:00 pm, less than three hours from now, we'll be entering the Magellan Strait (aka, the Magellan Straits or the Straits of Magellan).  In tomorrow's post, we'll be posting information, videos, and photos of this majestic part of the world.
The rough seas didn't start until the middle of the night. 
Please stay tuned for more as we make our way through this stormy part of the world filled with excitement and adventure on this fascinating journey to the southern end of South America.
A ferry moving through the Chilean Straits.
Have a great day, dear readers!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 13, 2016:
Gerard and his High on Penguin holiday home in Penguin, Tasmania, overlooking the town and the sea.  For more details on this rock and roll memorabilia themed property, please click here.