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VICTORY ADVENTURES 

In early January, Robin Givet and I arrive in Punta Arenas, shuffling onto Chilean terra firma with hands in pockets. The packs on our backs are laden with photography gear, sailing paraphernalia, and a few pounds of chocolate, an indispensable staple to bolster morale eroded by the expected long hours of tedious effort we will soon endure. All the other equipment, including the kayaks, arrived here a few days ago. To supplement the chocolate, we buy a cheap and easily available cache of food consisting mainly of grains, rice, and dried fruit with some cheese and pork sausage. Hopefully, fish will round out our dietary needs as the journey progresses. So, our kayaks are bulging and our spirits are high.

Soon, however, we wonder whether the Chilean bureaucrats will let us hit the water. The fact that we are physically ready but stymied by government officials leaves us feeling despondent and empty. What's more, we feel as though we aren't being taken seriously. To many, the idea of paddling from Punta Arenas to Cape Horn is evidently an insane one. We had heard such repeatedly from friends, other paddlers, and here were more skeptics' same doubts, different country. Given our frame of mind, there's but one thing to do. We quickly brush these warnings and pessimistic asides away. They run contrary to our purpose and our adventure.

After all, the Ushuaia to Cape Horn run had been done in 1978 and perhaps a few times since then as well. However, we are unable to definitively ascertain whether other kayakers have ever started the trip from Punta Arenas and subsequently rounded Cape Horn. But we figure that someone probably has. That would make us sane, right? Or at least not alone in our lunacy. In addition, the native Yamanas people have been sailing this area for decades in canoes made from tree trunks and bark. These Spartanesque native people live naked in this chilly tempestuous climate, only occasionally donning sea lions skins for warmth. The Yamanas also build fires in the bottoms of their boats for warmth as well as for cooking. Women provide most of the food by diving into the 40-50 degree water to fish for crabs and shellfish. Surely, we can handle these waters in snazzy new high-tech, cutting-edge kayaks from Dagger. Nonetheless, at the present moment, the officials remain intractable.

So we hunker down and wait for the bureaucrats to set our fate. The disconnect from friends and family begins to seep into our psyches. We try to keep busy and utilize the long daytime hours of austral summer to see more of this city of 100,000 inhabitants. Though we're anxious to embark on our planned two months of paddling, we set about making new friends and polishing our sketchy Spanish here in Punta Arenas. Every morning we wake at 5 AM and amble bleary-eyed from our Youth Hostel digs down to the Strait of Magellan to look at the ocean and read its mood. It becomes a ritual. Following this ritual provides us both a geography lesson and a more complete understanding of the word "variable". Straightway, we get verification of the standard take on Patagonian weather: one can experience four seasons in a day. Facing the Strait in the early morning chill, we take information and counsel from the Chilean Maritime authorities. "Today's wind orientation?" More or less variable. "How about precipitation?" Well, from day to day, our dawn experience had us either gazing at memorable Tierra del Fuego sunrises or weathering nasty rain showers of "variable" intensity and duration. "Temperature?" It also varies widely 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

After departing from Punta Arenas we begin seeing the summits of the Cordillera Darwin peaks from time to time. The south faces are covered with snow and ice. Through the binoculars, we gasp in awe at long plumes of wind-driven snow scudding like wild white flags off summit ridgelines. At lower elevations the typical mountain vegetation is beaten and ravaged. Having been savaged relentlessly by the Patagonian winds, the trees and bushes cling stubbornly to the rocks and lean decidedly away from windward. Moss covers the slopes from 1,000 to 4,000 feet. From there to the Cordillera's highest summit, the 8,094 ft Darwin Mountain, snow is deep and eternal. We know that somewhere out there two famous English mountaineers (Simon Yates and Andy Parkins, Simon Yates author of "Against the wall") They are attempting to establish a new route. Though oxygen is plentiful, climbers here deal with Himalaya-like conditions. The ascent of a steep, ice-coated couloir is proving arduous and difficult for them.

However, we gaze at this ineffable scenery from the relative peace of our kayaks. Though we are often at odds with the elements, we remind each other to enjoy these moments of tranquil beauty. Taking full advantage of the wind and sunshine, we dry our sopping gear and soak up the scenery. A tenth of the Earth's glaciers migrate from the Darwin Cordillera and calve-off into this ocean. Glaciers are metamorphosed beings: massive slugs of ice, then huge tenuously-balanced seracs, then ocean-ferried icebergs. Glaciers here are like over-sized icy blue tongues thrust upward over the waters until their mass causes them to fracture and crash into the frigid austral waters. They carry the homeland monikers of the early European explorers: Romanche, Allemana, Hollanda, Italia and Francia. Once ponderously marching to the sea at a sloth-like pace, they eventually become hapless riders of the oceans currents' helmless yachts careening about in roisterous waters. Other bergs waft in secluded fjords, serenely bobbing abstract ice sculptures. Paddling up these fjords affords us an incredible view at close range. We beach and take advantage of these magnificent sights: ice blocks the size of houses, first crashing into and then floating on this pristine and remote ocean water. Everyone should experience such a sight once in life.

Further on, close to Ushuaia, we confront the two possible passages to Cape Horn. The first and shorter pass is through the Murray Channel which is flanked by Hoste Island and Navarino Island. It is controlled by the Chilean Navy and foreigners are forbidden. The second passage skirts around to the east of Navarino Island before heading south to the Cape. This route requires the crossing of Nassau Bay and is known for notoriously horrendous ocean conditions due to nearly constant gale force winds. Our only real choice is to forge a passage through the Murray Channel. We set out not wanting to defy the ban, but just hoping to avoid more weather battles and time delays. Our attempt is futile and short-lived. We are forced to paddle back to Puerto Williams because military authorities spot us. We arrive in this tiny village of 2,000 people on a Sunday evening after paddling a tough forty miles. We soon learn that the Chilean president, Monsieur Lagos, is set to make an official visit at the end of the week. Consequently, the processing of our case is summarily pushed to the backburner. We are told, much to our dismay, that perhaps we'll get a hearing at the beginning of the following week.

Nonetheless, we try to fabricate a positive mindset. With a mixture of reluctance and relief, we take advantage of yet another bureaucratic conundrum to rest and fatten our ravaged bodies. In addition to having half-starved bodies, our skin isn't too attractive either. It is dry enough to look like desert salt flats. The constant and pervasive exposure to salt water has taken a toll in strange ways. A scratch becomes something more. A minor cut on my ankle was particularly irksome. Because it hadn't adequate time to heal, it repeatedly broke open when bumped and developed into a gaping ravine of a wound. This respite from saltwater gave it a chance to improve. In addition to regaining physical vigor, we verbally bolster our optimism on the hiking trails of Navarino Island and on the dirt streets of Puerto Williams. We are only one hundred miles from Cape Horn now, and only the Chilean officials can thwart our success. We're ready for the final stage.

The Chilean bureaucracy takes ten days to grant us authorization to travel Since there's not a whole lot going on here, it's our feeling that we'd been held up to justify the existence of these bureaucratic positions. It seems the officials are flaunting there power a bit, and there's nothing we can do until they tire of the game. Finally and unexpectedly, the captain of Puerto Williams gives us an official military send-off. We have a meeting with him at the Puerto Williams military base. We lay out two possible routes to Cap Horn. If the weather is good we will cross Nassau Bay and if not we will paddle along Navarino Island and Peninsula Hardy and then finally cross to the Wollaston islands. The captain tells us the best idea is to wait for good weather and then cross Nassau Bay because there would be no sailors in the Hardy Peninsula area, and, consequently, we would be out of radio contact if we ran into trouble. He emphasized how unpredictable the weather is in this area. He made us promise to make contact with any boats we happen to pass. He graciously promised to transmit one weather forecast specifically for us every evening at 9:30 PM. (We were never able to pick-up this transmission.) That afternoon, a soldier comes to check our safety gear, warm clothes and food supply. Everything is OK so they decide to let us go. We then go to the harbormaster's office to sign a departure authorization form. Freed again. We're relieved and appreciative because the process could have been held up longer. Apparently, however, it was expedited because a major debriefing was called after the El Presidente's visit. So, we don't have to worry about any further impediments thrown our way by the Chilean navy until we get back to Puerto Williams.

So, our wilderness trip returns to the wild; we're back on the water. Our first two days out are gorgeous and sunny. We are stout, warm, and happy. However, on the 3rd day, the wind is blowing straight out of Hades again: tempestuous and demonic. We are forced to land at Punta Guanaco and weather it out for a full day atop a cliff. A rage-filled storm moves in, and we hunch down and wait it out for two full days before we can get on with it. The tent is constantly lashed and whipped by the winds, but secure inside, we read and play chess with jagged pieces of ripped paper. We plan our big crossing of Nassau Bay. By 10am on Saturday, March 3rd, the winds have tempered to a slight breeze from the NE. With frustration fueling determination, we hit the water running. We make the twenty-plus mile open ocean crossing of Bahia Nassau (Nassau Bay) in six hours and finally reach the Wollaston Islands. While searching for a campsite, we are drawn to the visual incongruity of stark white arches on a distant sandy beach. Drawing closer, we realize the sun-bleached vertebrae of a whale. We set the tent close to this wondrous reminder of deep wilderness and sleep deeply.

For the next five days we can paddle only every other day. The routine becomes a pattern: paddle one day, read and play chess with soggy paper pawns and rooks the next. During one of the paddling days, four dolphins dazzle us with a jazzy, unpredictable display of aqua and aero-dynamic grace. A simple escort would have be inadequate but their darting turns and gamboling jumps were pure joy.

After a week, we bivouac on Herschel Island, the last shelter before starting the circumnavigation of Horn Island. Suddenly the weather goes inclement again. It takes us two grueling days of paddling through the different islands before we finally spot Horn Island at the exit of "Paso Mar del Sur" between Herschel Island and Deceit Island. We have dreamed of this moment for years. If everything goes well, we will be paddling in front of the Horn pyramid in a couple hours. The thought that we will soon reach the most storied and notorious cape in the world fills us with both anticipation and anxiety. However, as we set out, the wind switches to the southwest so we beat a hasty retreat to Herschel Island. As expected, in two hours we are hunkered down in gale force winds once again. We stay buttoned in for twenty-four straight hours before the weather gods release their grip. Circumnavigation becomes our prompt and cue again.

The story of the Horn includes not only the European explorers of the Renaissance period fighting the elements, but also the pirates, vagabonds, scientists, and merchant sailors of the past two centuries. The strategic route around the Horn from Europe to the Pacific has been used since 1850. Americans built the first clippers to quicken the trip between New York and San Francisco. These clippers ranged in length from 70-100 yards. At full sail they reached cruising speeds of20 knots and were able to complete the trip in less than 100 days. Europeans with these ships could now open up markets with Australia, Japan, and the west coast of the New Land. Guano, grains, coal and animals were packed into the holds of these ships to stabilize them during the long and treacherous journeys. And the toughest part of this epic trip was most often the southern ocean and the rounding of Cap Horn.

Many called it "Tough Cape", a far too subtle and milquetoast moniker for a place that is automatically associated with chaotic seas, physical exhaustion, and the kind of mental stress that has tipped more than a few sailors over toward complete lunacy. Yet, we're here and presently hale and hardy. As we paddle along the northwest coast of Horn Island, the scenery we are passing is worthy of the most grandiose film noir setting. Rock spires rise precipitously out of the frigid waters. We are obliged to slalom between them out of curiosity and awe. The place is grim and gray' even the moss. The ocean has an inky blue hue. The waters converge from two oceans and roil unpredictably into pyramidal swells. It's as if we have entered a hurly-burly cosmos. We accelerate each paddle stroke in order to hasten our way through this dastardly and dank labyrinth.

Cape Horn itself is now only 3-4 miles away. We are already partially spooked and realize that we could turn back and still consider the trip an hellaciously good effort. Despite our trepidation and anxiety, however, the prospect of turning back is quickly squelched. There is no shoreline anywhere in the area due to the lurking and looming cliffs, and, the eerie swells and ragged reefs would negate any possibility of a landing anyway. We do not turn back. We paddle on victims of mean geography and our self-imposed obsession.

We have to continue paddling further south to pass the Cape and to finally disembark on the east coast of the island' the only place where we can set our feet on land. At this moment the feeling of insecurity dominates the satisfaction associated with reaching the expedition's main objective. Will our temerity cost us dire consequences?

After fighting for one hour to exit the Dedale-like labyrinth, we arrive in front of the rocky pyramid that marks the head of the Cape. The wind is light, but we see a squall on the Hardy peninsula twenty miles to the west. We have to make the most of this window of opportunity. After 700 miles of paddling, we have hit our mark. Facing us down, however, the Cape Horn sits imposingly like the Druid King of the Oceans. Years ago, I saw a black and white photo of this place in a book by the famous French skipper, Eric Tabarly. I was only 10 years old. Today, Robin and I are facing the real thing, and again, the weather reminds us of just how real it is.

We withdraw to the east coast of the island just before the squall reaches us and begins to sweep the Cape with frigid rain. We temporarily hang tight in a bay the size of a tennis court. Then we beach the kayaks and ascend a wooden staircase that rises 400 ft to a plateau covered with grass and moss. From this perspective, Cape Horn is more inviting than from the water. The east face, leeward, is covered in verdure and the 1394 ft summit peak of the island is rounded in a thin misty coat. Below the monument "Cabo de Hornos", 2 groups of 5 sheet of metal four meters square was unveiled in 1992. In the middle of these 2 groups, the shape of an albatross is outlined against the sky.

The albatross symbolizes the brotherhood of all sailors and here especially commemorates those sailors who died in this austral Chilean ocean, fighting the big water and bad elements, while attempting to round the Horn. Amazingly, after weathering 50-70 knots or more of wind every day for almost ten years, the memorial still stands.

Inspired by the history of the place, Robin and I consider piercing our ears upon returning to the civilized world. Traditionally, all sailors who survived the trip around the Horn put a gold earring in their right ear. At any rate, we are caught up in the gravity of what we've accomplished and touched by the rich history of this extreme outpost. We happen upon the cabin of two Chilean navy personnel that night and subsequently stay with them. Even though the cabin was tethered to the rock with a thick cable, the cold and fierce S-SW wind rocks the cabin all night long.

Early the following morning, we give visit to the very tip of South America. Standing on a concrete pedestal, we are looking straight south in the direction of the Antarctica peninsula, 560 miles away. At our feet, water of the Strait of Drake seems to move into infinite distance. We sense being at the outermost boundary of the world. After a protracted journey of obstacles and fear, we are now feeling an emotion alcatharsis. All uncertainties about the prudence of such a far-flung journey are eased. At the end of the afternoon, we finish the task begun yesterday: the actual rounding of Horn Island. Undoubtedly, it is the most satisfying moment of the journey. But as it turns out, we are soon again reminded that satisfaction and serenity are emotions quickly displaced by intensity and turmoil in Patagonia. Winter is coming and we still have a long paddle North.

Motivated to quickly and safely complete the final portion of the trip, we begin the paddle back to the northern part of the Wollaston archipelago. We are not relishing the thought of more paddling, but we do want to get back to civilization as soon as possible. Enough is enough. Nonetheless, we know that caution is in order. Our success has not extracted us from danger. It is analogous to there treat following the summit of a major peak. The confluence of exhilaration and exhaustion that occurs after summiting a big mountain compromises the climber's skill and focus. This is when the majority of life-threatening mistakes occur. In spite of fried minds and wilting bodies, we must focus on a safe retreat. And sure enough, as soon as we set out, the weather gods are back out to challenge us. A storm moves in quickly and it takes two attempts over the course of the next three days before we can cross Nassau Bay.

For the first try, we left Cabo Ross an hour before sunrise. Cabo Ross was named after internationally-acclaimed explorer James Clark Ross. Ross discovered the magnetic north pole in 1831. Due to his Antarctic expedition from 1835-1843, the Ross Sea and "Victoria Land" were named by him and for him. A north breeze, which is supposedly a harbinger of good weather, is blowing on Nassau Bay. The ocean, however, is getting bigger and rougher. Leaning forward in our kayaks, we are pulling every paddle stroke with all of our strength, yet progress is practically nil. We are barely holding our own and Navarino Island is still ten miles away. We are yo-yoing in the huge waves the crest of the breakers hitting the bow as well as the sides of kayaks. We set our boats parallel and support each other. We confer, yelling over the roisterous sound of wind and water. We decide to paddle four miles to the Daedalus Islands. We reach the first island after a two hour full-on fight with the elements.

Trying to set-up a camp here would be ludicrous. The only possible beaching area is covered with massive basalt boulders. We are in a tiny bay surrounded by cliffs one hundred feet high. We hang out, drinking tea while watching an otter play in the weeds near shore. The warm tea energizes us somewhat and we paddle another mile to the next island. As we approach it, a multitude of panicky penguins either dive into the ocean or do their scurry-waddle to a broad shelf up from the rocky beach. We hike the island, which is only a quarter mile squared, then set up the tent under cover of some bushes. The streaming melt-water tempts us but since the penguins have colonized the entire island, we realize their droppings have fouled all the water. We go to bed without eating or just a few dry fruits. So, after a full night's sleep, we put back out to sea the next afternoon with dry throats. This will be the last major crossing of the trip. Nassau Bay is calm now and sparkles in the mid-day sunshine. The majestic mountains of the Hardy peninsula are covered in new snow brought down by yesterday's tempest.

By sunset, we reach Estancia Bevan. On the short grass where sheep and cows graze, a cover of white and purple flowers take advantage of the last warm days before the long nights and cold days of the austral winter. Nobody is here to greet us. Wooden and sheet metal cabins stand alone and unoccupied. Inside one, two old dogs sit patiently in front of the cold stove, waiting for their master's return. He has "gone to the city", Puerto Williams. On the table under a piece of glass are the yellowed mementos of this estancia's history: the shaving of sheep, the cutting-up of butchered meat, a cavalcade in the surrounding prairies, and portraits of visiting travelers with Juan, the estanciero. This photo-montage poignantly depicts the lifestyle of the people who colonize this remote region. We regret not being able to meet Juan, a symbol of this vanishing lifestyle. It would have been nice to celebrate our return to civilization with him. But finally a proper celebration is brought to fruition 30 miles away, with some of the hearty and hospitable fishermen of Puerto Toro. It is nice to be back and full of memories to relish and share


http://capehorn.free.fr/Articles/contenu/SeaKayaker.htm

 




"With the only exception of a young and beautiful woman
nothing is most beautiful than to see a vessel
navigating by sail"


 VALPARAISO, Chile  TO CAPE HORN ABOARD A SQUARE RIGGER

INTRODUCTION

The story that is written as follows deals with an experience lived on board The Frigate Khersones, a floating school of the Technological Sea Institute of Kerch, Ukraine, rented by a Maritime Agency called INMARIS PERESTRIKA SAILING from Hamburg, Germany to perform a voyage from Europe to South America, including the navigation through the oceanic route from Valparaíso to Buenos Aires through the Cape Horn.

The Khersones, was built in Gdansk, Poland in 1989 the last from a series of six twin ships that are kept as floating schools, sailing with around a hundred passengers called on board trainees who financed the trips and allowed to keep the ships in service and their crew members in their work.

I was invited to participate in this voyage because I worked in the planning of this trip to Cape Horn, being asked to serve as Minister of Faith, certifying the legs that the ship had navigated exclusively by sail.

NAVIGATION FROM VALPARAISO TO CAPE HORN

The trip from Valparaíso to Buenos Aires had been programmed considering the navigation from Latitude 50° South in the Pacific at the altitude to Trinidad Channel, until Latitude 50° South in the Atlantic at the altitude of Santa Cruz Port will be done exclusively by sail via Cape Horn. With her 108.6 meters length, 14 meters width, 6.5 meters of draft and a height of 49.5 meters and a sailing surface of 2770 square meters with 26 sails, the frigate Khersones under the command of Captain Mikhail Sukhina with 42 crew members, 64 cadets and 79 trainees, got underway at the dawn of the 17th January 1997 heading towards the WSW in the search of favourable winds reaching Long. 80° West around 300 miles from the coast.

At the altitude of Chiloe, the ship had to face severe bad weather, that took place with much violence through Cape Pilar with winds from the NW with force 8 and 9 and rough sea experiencing tilts up to 35°, with periods of less than 8 seconds.

At sun set of the 26th of January the Khersones sailed South of the Fuegian archipelago, heading towards the Atlantic with long winds of the NW force 7, rough sea from the port side with a speed over 12 knots.

Little after midday we saw from our port side the Ildefonso Islands and there was great expectation on board because we were expected to cross Cape Horn meridian just before the austral sunset.

The distance to the nearest insular coast was about 10 miles. The typical and changing visibility in that area allowed to see once in a while the steep and terrifying cliffs of Hoste Island. In spite of this situation we all trusted that we would be lucky to see the mythical Cape Horn, the principal aim of this part of this trip.

At 18.30 hrs. we heard in the speakers the announcement " Cape Horn at sight" which `produced the running of crew members, cadets and passengers to the upper decks, due to the fact that the traffic for the principal deck had been transitorily prohibited because of the intensity of the waves, which swept this deck, keeping it wet and slippery and to the violent balances of the Khersones.

An improving of the visibility allowed to clear out that the piece of land that we had in front of us was the False Cape Horn, the same that in the old times had caused great loses by making this mistake.

THE CROSSING OF CAPE HORN

When this situation was cleared we started the preparation to solemnise the crossing , because according with the statistics available, no ship had ever navigated by sail in 40 years from Lat. 50° in the Pacific up to Lat. 50° in the Atlantic and the Khersones had accomplished it from the 24th of January at 0800 hrs. when she crossed the first parallel in longitude 78 07 W.

One officer hoisted at the top of the mast the flag from Ukraine, an horizontal blue strip over a yellow one, which represents the blue of the sky and the important production of wheat in that country, while I hoisted the Chilean flag and the flag of the Chilean Brotherhood of the Captains of Cape Horn at the top of the foremast and Captain Uwe Koch - the representative of INMARIS - hoisted the flag of his company in a halliard of the mainmast. It was 7.15 PM when, from the mist that nearly shadowed the coast, suddenly appeared the impressive silhouette of Cape Horn, still lighted by the afternoon sun. There it was, "loud and clear", the main objective of our trip. We were seeing it - thanks be to God - after travelling almost 1.600 miles to admire its impressive magnitude.

It was 7.40 PM when a radio call to the bridge from a naval plane was heard :" Khersones, Khersones. This is naval 146. My position over Wollaston Islands. Report your current position, course and speed". The answer was immediate and minutes later the Captain of the aircraft reported: " We will overflight you in ten minutes more". This announcement was executed exactly and the CASA 146 overflow the vessel from all imaginable directions.

On board the aeroplane a team of photographers and reporters existed and were contracted by the ship. The flight had been authorised by the superiority of the Chilean Navy and was planned by the Commander in Chief of the 3rd Naval Zone, placed in Punta Arenas.

Half an hour later the pilot of the plane informed that having accomplished his mission he would return to his base. Upon his departure to his base I expressed my gratefulness from Khersones for his mission accomplished and the pilot answered : " We are the ones that we should give thanks to you for the spectacular scenery that we observed. The vessel looks splendid sailing with all her sails to the wind". The distance to Cape Horn was decreasing very rapidly and the cameras consumed rolls and rolls. During that instant something incredible happened: A double rainbow with its left side illuminated the Cape from the port side, extended over the top of the ship crossing her over the masts to the starboard side, leaving the ship in the centre.

It was something extraordinary... incredible... unreal ...something that only the Creator could do in that precise instant.

The happiness, the fortune and the joy to see a so spectacular scenery touched everybody on board driving themselves – in spite of the European moderation – to hug one to each other and there were no few persons that even cried.

Everybody took a picture with the rainbow at the back, with its colourful shape illuminated the Cape. The Captain Koch, after handing his camera to one of the passengers to be taken a photograph insisted " shoot, shoot all the roll, this will never will be seen again!!"


At 21.09 hrs. with the sun still over the horizon, a long whistle was heard, indicating that the ship was crossing exactly the meridian of Cape Horn, with its longitude of 67°16’W. Following this, the Captain of the ship pronounced through the speakers a shortspeech in his own language, outlining the importance of the mission accomplished, finishing his words with three hoorays for Khersones, which were repeated by the crew members. Immediately afterwards an old Russian song was heard in the speakers from the author Vladimir Vysotskiy who states that the sailing vessels will never disappear and will never be replaced by motor ships. The letter of this song also remembers to the youngsters that when they will be Captains they should never forget that one day they were "sailors of sailing vessels".


After hearing the song, the ship sounded her horn with three long whistles in memory of the 10,000 seamen died in 800 lost ships in their struggle against the elements of Cape Horn and in homage to the all Cap Horniers around the world , keeping respectfully a minute of silence for the people who died, finishing with a short whistle to announce that the honours had concluded.


The ceremony finished when the Captain – along with representative of INMARIS and myself – threw to the sea a beautiful wreath made of manila, made on board by a trainee and a group of cadets, in which in its upper part contained miniatures of the flags of Chile, Ukraine, and Germany

When the ceremony was over, all the passengers – in its vast majority German- gathered in the superior deck to celebrate their own ritual.


The German tradition establishes that all participants must begin the celebration having a toast in the same glass, and the first drink must be thrown into the water, in memory of RASMUS, a spirit of legend of the sea and the wind, in the gratefulness of all the favours received, imploring favourable winds and a secure navigation, but the second, third and fourth toast with the famous "Stolytchnaya" vodka were drank with no restrictions.

The doctor of the passengers went down to his cabin to bring a bottle of "Proseco", a foamy Italian wine that kept as a "holy bone" for this occasion, a delicious taste that we shared together.

Our course changed NE. We clearly saw the flashing of the Monumental light house of the Cape Horn and by radio we saluted with affect the people of the light house – the guards of our sovereignty in that island – and to the people at PVS (look out men) Wollaston.

The night which was just starting invited to celebrate when we were away from the Cape the weather conditions improved and the heavy sea was reduced and so as the balances.
The Captain Sukhina invited Captain Koch and myself to have supper in his cabin to memorize the unforgettable moments lived in that day and to drink Chilean wine of the best quality for this mission accomplished.

In their flourishing enthusiasm, during the celebration, the trainees modified slightly the old and popular melody of the German Cap Horniers as follow:

Und wir segeln unter’m
regenbogen durch ) it is sang three times
Und wer weiss denn schon
es was doch Kap Hoorn! ) it is sang three times

Its translation would be :

"And we navigated by sail
through a rainbow.
¡And who could believe
that that happened in the Cape Horn!

Valparaíso, October 2001.
http://www.caphorniers.cl/cuentos/cabo_vela_ING.htm

Victory Adventure Travel represents some 20 special sailboats which make the tours of Cape Horn, the glaciers and fjords of Tierra Del Fuego and in addition, Antarctica.

End of April, 2003
issue of the Patagonian News

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