On Sunday, we tried to make a landing on Cape Horn, the small island at the very tip of South America. The only man-made structures on Cape Horn are a lighthouse and a monument marking this most southern point. The only inhabitants are the lighthouse keeper, his wife, and son. That certainly must be a very isolated existence. The weather looked good.
We had dropped anchor, the tender pit doors were open and the zodiacs were ready to launch. Just then the wind started to pick up and the waves started to roll, and within thirty minutes the wind went from calm to gale force and the waves from flat to crashing across the tender deck. So, as you can imagine, we didn’t get to Cape Horn.
Here we had a great example of how quickly the weather can change here in these southern regions. In fact, when we get to Antarctica, on each landing the expedition crew must first go in and survey the landing area. Then ferry ashore tents, sleeping bags, and food for a couple of days just in case we were ashore when the weather turned and we needed to spend a couple of hours (or a couple of days) there before they could pick us up again.
We spent these two days on board ship preparing for Antarctica. There were safety lectures, photography classes and presentations on the animals and landscape we will encounter. We also needed to take whatever outer clothing we were going to wear ashore to be vacuumed. This is to prevent any foreign seeds or contaminants from entering Antarctica.
We have already experienced many wonderful things in Chile, but excitement is running even higher on board ship as we anticipate what is ahead in Antarctica.