Cape Horn (cruise-by), Chile cruise holidays

Cape Horn is a point on Hornos Island, in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago at the southernmost tip of South America. It was first navigated by Jakob Le Maire and Willem Schouten in 1616 and it was Schouten that named the point after his Dutch town of birth - Hoorn. The body of water that passes the point and rounds the island was notoriously treacherous for the ships of that era which were buffeted by storms and strong currents as they attempted to sail around the huge icebergs that blighted their path. But when gold was discovered in California in 1848 this route suddenly became an immensely important passageway from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast and so shipbuilders began to craft ships that were sturdier and more able to withstand the rigours of passage. But, once the Panama Canal opened in 1914, most captains chose this quicker, easier route through, which is why rounding Cape Horn today is regarded as one of the most special of seafaring experiences.

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