Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Isla Hornas, Chile

Sunlight streams through my tiny porthole, a marked improvement over last night’s blue water washing machine view. The seasick rejoin the living and after a light breakfast to settle stomachs , we’re off again to Isla de Hornas, Cape Horn.

Jagged spires stagger away from the islands, all steep cliffs and a thin layer of green covering all but the most vertical surfaces. Rain storms whip through and we make up to 8.5 knots, crashing into waves and sending up white curtains of spray.

Chile maintains a small border and Coast Guard station atop the rocks there, and every shirking gale and howling storms gets a clear shot at the ramshackle lighthouse and low cabins.

We climb the stairs, dutifully pet the dog and wander to the station for an oversized passport stamp and overpriced postcards. A young family of Chileans spend a lonely year here before transfer to a cushy post in a more accommodating climate.

At least for a few minutes, the Horn seems altogether pleasant, with the Jennifer Sepulveda-Quintrileo, the couple’s two-year-old, running through the tall grass. A passing gust nearly bowls her off her feet.

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