Thursday December 7th, 2000

Location

In Paso Piction (Chile), entering the Beagle Canal

Course

Variable between islands – at present NW

Wind

Light

Sea

Smooth

Air temp

12 deg C

Sea temp

5 deg C

Barometer

1002 mbs and rising


1100 hours: We had a grand start to our day when we passed Cape Horn in the dawn at approx 0345. The visibility was good even though there were passing snow showers – but it was very cold on deck at 1 degree C. I went and woke the crew about half an hour before, and with most dressed up in their full thermals, including gloves and hats, we watched in awe as the snow-flecked cliffs slid slowly past to port. A Cape Horn fruit cake and some special coffees with a dash of rum helped keep the cold at bay. Some dolphins were our only escort at that early hour.

It wasn’t just Cape Horn that had us captivated and I must admit that I have never seen it with a snow topping before or looking so menacing in the early morning light; it was the background of other islands, other more distant and jagged mountains covered in white, that have continued to unveil themselves as we turned left and headed north towards the Beagle Canal. We are now in brilliant sunshine and a light northerly breeze, the surface of the enclosed waters blue, smooth and sparkling with penguins, shags, and other birds appearing everywhere. There are forests and beaches and almost no sign of human habitation – yet.

We all feel we have accomplished something. And we are now looking forward to arriving at Puerto Williams and tying up at the “yacht club” with some other cruisers.

This is a short log today there is navigation to attend to and I want to spend as much time as possible soaking up the scene. Because it is incredible. As a destination after 5000 miles at sea through the Southern Ocean, you can probably guess we are not displeased. After racing past many times, to now be able to stop and look at what I have only seen fleetingly through the binoculars, fulfils a void.

Over the next few days we will be arranging our cruising permit with the Chilean Navy, and getting ready for an influx of crew and a television team from different parts of the world.

So there will now be a break of a few days before the next Log.