Cruise Days 23-26 Going to Cape Horn

There were several relaxing days in a row cruising channels, fjords, and the Strait of Magellan.


The Strait is a navigable sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans below Chile and above Tierra del Fuego. I wondered why ships would even go around the dangerous waters of Cape Horn but learned the Strait is difficult to navigate due to unpredictable wind and dangerous currents.

This is Cape Froward, the southern most point on the South American continent. I purposely used this picture to tell you how we did laundry for 31 days. By hand!  Unlike many other cruise ships, Norwegian ships have no laundromats because they want you to pay $20 a bag (a small bag at that) to have them wash and fold (ironing not included). We knew this in advance so brought along a collapsible canvas bucket, clothes line and pins, and a shampoo bottle filled with liquid detergent. It is safe to say we saved ourselves at least $200.
The television in our cabin had a map that displayed our route in varying zoom lengths. It would be so easy to get lost here due to the many waterways and islands.
Strait of Magellan
The Beagle Channel

The Beagle Channel, also known as the Avenue of the Glaciers, is a strait in extreme southern South America that separates islands of the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago. The channel is one of three navigable passages in South America between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The channel was named for the “Beagle,” a British ship that Charles Darwin used to explore the area.

Look closely behind the shoreline mountains in the center and there is a glimpse of a much taller mountain. 
Glaciers galore along the Beagle Channel
Beagle Channel
The passengers on the first half of the cruise to Valparaiso were mostly North and South Americans. The southern half had to be at least 75% German speaking, 20% South American and other countries, and maybe 5% English speaking.
Ushuaia, Argentina

We cruised the Beagle Chanel in the morning and by noon docked downtown in Ushuaia, the southern most city in the world. It is located on a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego with mountains in every direction.

Ushuaia is the gateway and re-supply point for ships going to the Antartica
For several years, we talked about driving our former small motorhome to the tip of South America and know a couple who did just that. This rental RV is parked on the waterfront along with two others. Flying down and renting an RV would certainly be a lot easier.
I judge every country by what is in their bakeries and Argentina gets a B+ based on looks. However I can’t grade on taste because fortunately I still did not have an appetite. I think I am the only person that always loses weight on cruises. Nine cruises to date = five times ill. 
Ushuaia, Argentina

Our ship pulled out at 8 in the evening for the trip to Cape Horn where we would arrive in the morning.  I tried to find reviews and information on cruise ships going around the Horn and what would happen if it was really rough, as these waters are considered to be the most dangerous in the world.  I did find a video of a Holland America cruise ship on a wild ride in an unexpected storm 2010 but our forecast called for decent weather.

Cape Horn was fairly calm but our Captain explained if the seas were rough then we could quickly duck behind the cape in a channel. We stayed near the cape for an hour while the Captain turned the ship around so that every side could get views. This was one cruise that I am so glad we had a balcony as most of the decks had plexiglass shields.
A much smaller cruise ship, the Hurtigruten, was able to get closer to the cape.

It had been chilly for over a week and now we start heading north to warmer weather. Everything is in reverse in the southern hemisphere. It is summer in December and the days are very nicely long.