Cape Horn

Travel Guide South America Chile Cape Horn

edit

Introduction

Cape Horn, named after the city of Hoorn in the Netherlands, is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island. Although not the most southerly point of South America (which are the Diego Ramírez Islands), Cape Horn marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage and marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans collide. For decades it was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. The waters around Cape Horn are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors' graveyard. The need for ships to round Cape Horn was greatly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.

Top

edit

Geography

Cape Horn is located at 55°58′48″S 067°17′21″W, on Isla Hornos in the Hermite Islands group, at the southern end of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. It marks the north edge of the Drake Passage, the strait between South America and Antarctica. It is located in Cabo de Hornos National Park. In a typical example of false cognates, the Hoorn became known in English as "Cape Horn", and in Spanish as "Cabo de Hornos" (which literally means "Cape of Ovens"). It is commonly known to English-speaking sailors as "The Horn."

The cape lies within what are now Chilean territorial waters, and the Chilean Navy maintains a station on Hoorn Island, consisting of a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse. A short distance from the main station is a memorial, including a large sculpture made by Chilean sculptor José Balcells featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in remembrance of the sailors who died while attempting to "round the Horn". It was erected in 1992 through the initiative of the Chilean Section of the Cape Horn Captains Brotherhood.

The terrain is entirely treeless, although quite lush owing to frequent precipitation. Cape Horn is the southern limit of the range of the Magellanic penguin.

Top

edit

Weather

The climate in the region is generally cool, owing to the southern latitude. Annual temperature is 5.2 °C. There are 278 days of rainfall (70 days snow) and 2,000 mm of annual rainfall. Precipitation is high throughout the year: the weather station on the nearby Diego Ramirez Islands, 109 kilometres southwest in the Drake Passage, shows the greatest rainfall in March, averaging 137.4 millimetres, while October, which has the least rainfall, still averages 93.7 millimetres. Wind conditions are generally severe, particularly in winter. In summer, the wind at Cape Horn is gale force up to 5% of the time, with generally good visibility; however, in winter, gale force winds occur up to 30% of the time, often with poor visibility.

Top

Cape Horn Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Cape Horn

This is version 1. Last edited at 8:42 on Oct 7, 15 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License