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Rounding Cape Horn, South America

Approaching Cape Horn - the Southern tip of South America. This is the closest point to Antarctica.
Look closely for the Lighthouse, the Lighthouse-keeper's House (left) and the sculpture (right) of the giant albatrose . Click to enlarge.

Today we rounded the southern tip of South America - Cape Horn, named by a Dutch navigator for his hometown, Hoorn in the Netherlands. We circumnavigated this small island on which there are two lighthouses, a huge statue, and a lighthouse-keeper’s house – that’s it! Kind of a lonely place. But someone needs to man the lighthouse, so the Chilean Military selects an officer each year to spend one year at the lighthouse. The officer has to be married with kids. They feel it would just be too lonely out here without some others around. So, the family moves and lives here on the Cape for one year manning the lighthouse.

Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile and is located on the small Hornos Island. Cape Horn marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage. For decades it was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. The waters around the Cape are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors' graveyard.

Our friends, Ken and Gail, receive their initiation to the 'Order of the Drake'. Ken with the ice water and Gail with the cream on the nose.

Viking, of course, has a special ceremony for those rounding the Horn for the first time. It consists of ice water poured over your head, a dab of cream on the end of your nose and then a shot of Aquavit or Ginger Ale.

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