• Day26

    Cape Horn, Chile

    January 28, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    This morning at 08:00 we arrive at the Cape Horn National Park. The Wollaston Islands, which together make up this protected area, are the southern-most tip of South America.

    The islands are imposing and weather-beaten. Save for a few lighthouses, there’s little evidence of human impact here. Yet there is still plenty of life—the lone albatross from yesterday has been joined by a whole host of friends. More than 20 are now circling the boat and resting on the sea surface. Imperial Shags (stop laughing) are a frequent sight too, along with a host of other seabirds. A pod of whales has been spotted, but sadly we’re not quick enough to see them.

    The weather changes very quickly here. Sun one minute, pounding rain the next. Even so, the captain informs us that our crossing here has been unusually calm, so one can only imagine how bad it gets.

    Our route this morning was an odd one, mainly for the purpose of giving us all a view of Cape Horn. We approached around the north coast of Horn Island, then headed south, before performing a figure of eight movement, then headed north-east. The red line shows our route until now, and from here we will head north (the green line), passing between the islands of Lennox and Nueva, then we will enter the Beagle Channel later this evening for the west-bound transit back out to the Pacific Ocean.

    This evening we’re booked into the Sindhu restaurant for the tasting menu again. Which I suspect will be much like the last one, except this time we won’t be dressed like idiots.

    At 18:07 (Dad was late) we are seated for the 5-course tasting menu. It promises to be just as good as the last one, and this time maybe I’ll get around to taking some pictures. We begin with hot and spicy prawns, garlic and ginger chicken served with Vietnamese pork satay and a stir-fried pepper and asparagus salad. Mine is served without the satay, as a slow death would put quite a crimp in the evening. It’s absolutely delicious, very delicate flavours from south-east Asia, all rounded off with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce.

    Next up is a spiced chicken and coconut laksa soup. We had this last time, and it’s highly anticipated tonight too. The flavours in this soup are staggering. When they say spiced they mean it—it’s a very fiery soup. But it’s simultaneously creamy, with a sour note that gives it a strong aroma, yet which is entirely absent in the flavour.

    By now our mouths are ablaze. Mum is a red wine drinker, so has been recommended to try an Indian red wine from their selection. Now, maybe we’re uncultured in the world of wine, but we weren’t aware that India has much of a reputation in winemaking. However, this particular variety, made from Zinfandel grapes, marries very well with the spicy flavours we’re getting tonight (well, so I’m told - I hate red wine) Dad’s so taken with it that he’s planning to order a case of it when we get home.

    Our third course is seafood: lobster tail and scallops, served with peppers, onions and a black bean sauce. I’m no huge fan of seafood, especially if the damn thing still has a face on it, but even I have to admit that this is delicious.

    After a requested 15 minute pause for Mum to retrieve her wrap from the cabin (she’s gone cold, lord knows how, as my mouth and body are presently on fire), we get to the main event: slow cooked lamb rendang. It’s all phenomenal. And then to close the meal, a dark chocolate sphere, containing white chocolate mousse, covered in a warm chocolate sauce. This, dear reader, is why I’m fat. And why I am likely to lose a foot to diabetes.

    As I retire to my cabin, the bridge announces that there’s a pod of dolphins following the ship, so I drag my curry-infused bulk up to the top deck as fast as my overburdened legs will carry me. Not the best picture, as they were quite far off the port side of the ship, but I’m still delighted to have seen them.

    Sunset down here is late, as it’s summer, and the scenery is just as spectacular by twilight.

    All in all, a pretty much perfect rounding of Cape Horn. Tonight, we continue westwards, before entering the Pacific Ocean briefly, then turning north-east into the Straits of Magellan.

    Goodnight from the Beagle Channel!
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