Our ship sailed south from Ushuaia to Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos National Park), the actual southern tip of South America and the point at which the Atlantic Ocean meets the Pacific Ocean. We were lucky and it was unusual that we had almost no wind. The guide told us that it is often too rough to go ashore here. We transferred from the ship to a Zodiac which took us to shore on Hornos Island.
Cape Horn is a rocky promontory with a height of 1,394 feet that dominates the landscape of Drake Passage. The Chilean Navy maintains a permanent lighthouse in the island, inhabited by a navy officer and his family, as well as the small Stella Maris Chapel, and a monument honoring the albatross.
From the beach we climbed to the Cape Horn monument and then hiked to the lighthouse and chapel. It wasn’t hard to imagine clipper ships rounding the island as they sailed from New York to San Francisco.
From Cape Horn the ship went back north to Wulaia Bay. We got to visit the ship’s bridge and see how the ship is steered and navigated.
Our second disembarkation of the day was at Wulaia Bay. It is a sheltered bay that had one of the largest Yaghan settlements in the region. It was described by Darwin and illustrated by Fitz Roy during their journey to the Beagle Channel.
We hiked about a mile up to a lookout overlooking the bay. Our guide talked about the history of the area and the plants and animals.
Beavers were introduced onto the island in the 1940s. The beaver population has exploded and they are doing considerable ecological damage.