Saturday, 17 January 2009

Around the Horn 15/01/2009

Day 19 Thursday 15th January 2009

Another nice picture of Pat

Another nice picture of Pat

As we get up, the Drake Passage is still relatively calm, the ship seems to be swaying more but there are no 40 ft seas to contend with.

On the agenda to keep us occupied are: Tour of the Ship, more lectures on the Pole and the Horn (and also the Arctic) and of course repacking.

They showed a video of a sailing ship going round the horn in 1929 narrated by the person who took the film - it gave you a very good appreciation of how tough it was. Some ships on approaching the Horn from the East to go to a port up along Chile had to give up and go round the world the other way because they could not cope with the West to East winds which are strong even on a mild day in this area.

The tour of the ship was not very useful in that the person taking us around knew so little about the ship and kept having to refer to his notes which did not tell him much.

An attempt was made to put forward the case that the ship was still used for research but totally unconvincingly. It is used to take people like us around the North and South Poles in the summer seasons (10 months), sails back to Kalingrad for servicing once a year and "is available for research" the rest of the year!

The Ioffe was build as a hydro-acoustic research ship in 1989 as one of a pair which

Ships Registration Details

worked together. Four years later it was out of date and the Soviet Union was in disrepair and the ship was converted to expedition use. A lot of the old equipment remains but key elements have gone.

The Mud Room (where we stored our shore boots and other camping equipment) contains

Hydroaccoustic Equipment

some transmitters which were lowered to the sea bed. It is very noisy because essentially it is open to the sea below.

The engine room looks and smells like an

An engine

engine room (fuel consumption was estimated

Engine Control Room

to be 7 litres to the km) and the Bridge is where they do what they do on the Bridge!

Bridge (1)

Bridge (2)

Later today we sail round the Horn. It is not certain if we will actually see it because the waters around the Horn belong to Chile and if the ship goes into Chilean waters, it has to pay a tax to Chile. The sky however is very clear so we are hopeful that we will see the monument on the horn dedicated to sailors who perished sailing in these waters through binoculars.

Heading for Cape Horn

There is a saying that when a man has crossed both circles and rounded the Horn, he is allowed to put both feet on the table - we now qualify for that having gone north of the Arctic Circle a few years ago. One wonders what the saying is about a man who has done this but also swum in both Arctic and Antarctic waters.

We passed the Horn at about 12 miles away and the actual Cape is on the very left of the picture below. The monument to lost seafarers is on the shore line below the second hillside dip but it is too small to be seen in this photograph.

Cape Horn

Cape Horn Chart

We are due to get back to the Beagle Channel around 1900 hours and then take it slow up to Ushuaia.



No comments:

Post a Comment