22.02.2017 12 °C
Pretty cool to ring in my next 365-day journey around the sun by an early morning landing on Cape Horn. Turns out we don’t head to Ushuaia today but tomorrow.
Yesterday was pretty spectacular; we headed out in the afternoon to hike up a viewpoint of Pia Glacier. The Glacier is magnificent and hard to describe, imagine Lake Louise but it flows all the way down to the ocean. It was 11 degrees or so pieces were constantly falling off with loud bangs and filled the bay with bergy bits. The zodiacs had to work to navigate the ice, which added to the excitement and uniqueness of the adventure. Once ashore we wasted no time heading up to the viewpoints. The hike we chose was “challenging” and offered fabulous views of the area. Well worth enduring the mud and at times unstable rock falls.
We returned to the boat to get our hot chocolate and whiskey (really the only way I will drink scotch) before heading to the bar to grab a table for our passage through Beagle Channel and Glacier Alley. Living up to its name the passage features several glaciers flowing down from the Darwin Mountain Range with most of them named after European Countries (Germany, France, Italy and Holland). The ship served a local drink and snack to represent each country, beer for Germany, Champagne for France, red wine for Italy (I am not sure what Holland was). The glaciers were impressive and the viewpoint from the ship was fantastic.
After an afternoon of drinking and dinner we received our brief instructions on today’s hopeful disembarkment on Cape Horn (Hoorn actually or Cabo de Hornos). As you can tell from the opening sentence we were able to land (often the seas are to rough) and I can now say I have stood on most southerly tip of South America next stop would be Antarctica. We were one of the first zodiacs to arrive to the island so were able to wander around at our own pace before the birds started “chirping” (the term coined for when the ladies in the group start to get hungry, happens pretty regularly) and returned to the ship for breakfast.
The remainder of the morning consisted of napping (another “rock and roll” night getting to the Horn) and a great documentary on Shackleton’s expedition and attempt to the first to cross the land surface of Antarctica. Traveling with a Shackleton fan has made this adventure even more special. Ernest Shackleton was truly a leader and for those of you who may have never heard of him, he is worth googling. Shackleton’s 1914 expedition is a fascinating story of triumph against all odds from pure human perseverance and positive attitude. I could learn a thing or two from him (we all could).
The afternoon consisted of a fantastic hike in Wulaia Bay which historically home the Yamana people. Was a great way to get some exercise and see some incredible views. Once back aboard the ship (after our hot chocolate and whiskey) we headed to dinner where the ship presented the 3 of February 21 babies with cakes, complete with candles. 20 nationalities sang Happy Birthday, it was a pretty surreal experience and likely will be hard to top.
We concluded the evening with the auctioning off of the navigation map used to chart our course (90% of the people's cruise ends in Ushuaia ours continues back the different route to Punta Arenas) it fantastic fun. The crew had put together photos from the first half of journey and we celebrated my birthday in style. Tomorrow we have a free day Ushuaia (and wifi!).
Until next time,