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Cape Horn! The Southern Ocean! Gulf of Mexico! Beagle Channel! Glaciers! Tierra del Fuego!

Key West! Bahamas! Virgin Islands! Panama Canal!  Sailing Adventures!

For a sailor this was the trip of a lifetime!  Rounding Cape Horn in 43 to 65 knot winds and 8 to 10 meter seas is an experience that is truly rare. The photos on were taken in April, 2001 by my daughter, Tiffany Hanson, and me.  Tiffany thought the scenery was spectacular, but felt that a trip around Cape Horn should be only for men. Her reasoning was that women weren't dumb enough to do something like this if they had another option -- any other option!  Tiffany likes a hot bath with a shampoo at least once a day. (Sissy!)

NOTE: Last updated on: Tuesday December 15, 2009 10:30:27 PM

 

 

 


 

William K. Spence, etc.

Comments? Questions? WKSpence@Spenc.com

Photo taken ~08-27-07 at The Glenlivet Gathering in Aviemore, Scotland.

Cape Horn! The Beagle Channel! The Glenlivet! Scotland! The Old Course! Sharing life with friends! Reaching a few lifetime goals! Does it get any better? Life is always good, sometimes great -- but it's not always easy. Life is made from one experience at a time. Make good ones that your grandchildren will love to hear.

 

 

   The Archipelago from the Beagle Channel south to Cape Horn is spectacular! The isolation is profound! For days you will see scenery like the photos posted here. No people! No boats! No buildings! No lights! No cars! Nothing that wasn't here in the last millennium!

   This is not just a visual experience, it's a total sensory experience. It is vast, stark, rugged, and beautiful!  A few pictures can't do justice to the colors, contrasts,  mountains, ruggedness, and raw beauty of this area.

   The photo on the right, taken from atop Hermite Island, captured a  rare moment when the sun peeped through the clouds. Down here, weather rules. Respect the weather! Within an hour after this photo was taken it was snowing granular snow and the wind was blowing about 40 knots.

   We can talk about strong winds and big seas, but until I experienced the fury and force of the wind and seas in this area, it was an abstract concept. In my sailing experiences aboard my own boat, I've been caught in one extended storm (36 hours) and beaten up by several squalls while on the open sea. However, the weather down here is another story. There's a wind demon behind every mountain and island, waiting  to kick the crap out of anyone or anything. The wind can be 5 knots one minute and 70 knots the next minute..

    As the wind increases from  30 to 40 to 50 to 60 knots, the increase in force is astonishing! At 50 knots, rain can be painful and it becomes impossible to hear anything but wind and rain. At 60 knots, wind is a weapon!

   Although I experienced pretty good winds  in Hurricane Betsy in New Orleans in 1967 (up to 115 mph), I wasn't in a sailboat -- just trapped in a hotel. When you're in a sailboat, you can't just say, "OK, time out! Let's go inside and wait until this blows over." Well, maybe you could "say" it, but doing it would be a real trick!

     

      

             The Beagle Channel -- simply awesome

      Click on a photo to supersize it.

 

 

Another glacier calving into the channel. 

Some of the calves don't move when they're bumped.

 

 

The small chapel at Cape Horn is simple and immaculate. 

Say a prayer here for the sailors who died while trying to round Cape Horn.

It's an experience you will not forget. Photo by Tiffany Hanson.

 

Looking NNW from atop Hermit Island, Chile. We're about 20 miles WNW of Cape Horn. April 29, 2001

Photos (except where noted) by: William K. Spence
Click on a photo to supersize it.

While waiting for reasonable  weather before attempting to sail around Cape Horn, we climbed to the top of Hermit Island, which is NW of Cape Horn and  belongs  to Chile -- as does everything south of the Beagle Channel. While there, we took several photos as the weather system moved in. Not long after this photo was taken, it began to snow. Winds at this elevation, approximately1,550 ft, gusted up to about 40 knots while we were here.

 

Looking west from the top of Will Spence mountain.

The clouds are being reflected from the surface of the Tres Manos fjord. We turned from the Channel into this fjord and anchored in a beautiful little cove. 

 

 

 

I AM THE ALBATROSS THAT AWAITS YOU
AT THE END OF THE WORLD.
I AM THE FORGOTTEN SOULS OF THE DEAD MARINERS
THAT ROUNDED CAPE HORN
FROM ALL THE SEAS OF THE EARTH.
BUT THEY DIDN'T DIE
IN THE FURIOUS WAVES,
TODAY THEY FLY ON MY WINGS,
TOWARD ETERNITY
ON THE LAST CREVICE
OF THE ANTARCTIC WINDS.

                              SARA VIAL
                           December 1992

 

Marble monument on the trail to the steel albatross on Cape Horn.

Photo & translation by Tiffany Hanson: April 29, 2001

 

 

 

Sadly, the light house on Cape Horn is no longer used. 

Photo by Tiffany Hanson: April 29, 2001

 

The beauty of the Beagle Channel.

Tonight we will anchor behind the low island ahead. There, we will go ashore and cook huge, delicious steaks over a blazing fire as we drink wonderful red Merlot from Argentina. As we marvel at the scenery, we hear sharp cracking sounds as the glacier calves. This is a MOST EXCELLENT adventure! Life is good!