Sunday, August 03, 2008

Rounding Cape Horn!

December, 2007
A welcome sight at last! Raising land aboard the National Geographic Endeavour after crossing the Drake passage from the Antarctic Peninsula to Cape Horn in a moderate sea. This passage covers the “Roaring Forties” and “Furious Fifties” degrees of latitude, where westerly winds build unimpeded and can create HUGE seas!

I have now crossed the Drake passage fourteen times and have to admit that at times I ask myself is it really worth putting yourself through the tossing and turning, all to visit the coldest, highest, and windiest continent on the planet. In a word...YES! There is no way around it, you just have to go through it. The Drake Passage is the cost of admission to the wonderland of Antarctica. Here an adult black-browed albatross on the wing in the Drake passage.

So go ahead...roll the dice! You might get to cross on one of those marvelous flat-calm runs where you are on the "Drake Lake", and think to yourself "I wonder what all the fuss is about!" It is on these crossings that you truly get to enjoy all the seabirds following the ship, like this southern fulmar and these cape (pintado) petrels.

Or you might get a wild ride where the beauty of the Drake is even more magestic. Watching seabirds like this wandering albatross dip and soar on the waves can take your mind off your own imbalances. Photographically speaking, the challenge of capturing a good image of a bird in high seas on a pitching boat has got to be one of the greatest challenges you can face. Just throw in the mixture of wind, spray, salt, and your own naseau and the challenge is complete!
They say misery loves company and I am no exception. If things go as planned I will be crossing the Drake another 12 times in the 2008/2009 Antarctic season and would love to share the wild ride with you! Visit http://www.expeditions.com for more details.

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