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 Tierra del Fuego is comprised of one large island, Grand Tierra del Fuego and
several smaller islands and is shared by Chile and Argentina. The islands are quite
remote and are separated from mainland South America. Magellan named the area
"Land of Fire" because of the fires he saw burning ashore when he first viewed the
area. It's a toss-up as to whether the fires were to keep the locals warm or to warn
their neighbors of the approaching foreigners.
  Because we had come from northern Chile through the canals, it was necessary
to stop at Puerto Williams, Chile to clear out of Chile before heading on to
Argentina despite the fact that we passed Ushuaia 25 miles before we reached
Puerto Williams. While we were there, it only made sense to "round the Horn".
   Puerto Williams, the southernmost "muncipality" in the world, is a very small
town mostly comprised of a Chilean naval base. It was, however, fun to be ashore,
hike and get our land legs again.
  The "yacht club" is an old Chilean munitions transport vessel which was
intentionally grounded. Yachts tie up to the sides of the Micalvi until there is no
more room and then other yachts "raft up" to them until there are 4-5 yachts
deep...an interesting twist when the outer boat needs to tote fuel jugs to his boat.
The entrance to the Micalvi from shore  
Puerto Williams is located on Isla Navarino, a wonderful island
for hiking and exploring.  We hiked up Cerro Bandera  
spectacular views of the Beagle Channel.
To our surprise and delight, wild flowers bloomed everywhere,
but of course, it was summer in Tierra del Fuego. Lupines
covered entire fields.
The local indigenous
people, the Selk'nam,
wore few clothes in spite
of the cold (note
shrinkage in photo left).
The Martin Guisinde
museum in Puerto
Williams, though small,
provided an excellent
overview of the original
inhabitants. The mask
and body painting were
part of cultural coming of
age rituals.   
We had every intention of anchoring a night in Puerto
Maxwell  and then heading around the Horn, but fair
winds and an extraordinary dolphin escort urged us on.
A special "zarpe" (official permission) was
required to sail around Cape Horn. We
thought it would be a quick trip. We waited
for a reasonable weather window and
headed out to Puerto Toro, the southern-
most "town" on the planet, where we docked
next to the fishing boats for the evening. High
winds closed the port and we stayed an
extra day waiting for the wind to subside.
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s/y Nine of Cups
Tierra del Fuego & Cape Horn
February 2006
Birds of South America
A pic of the Micalvi from midships. There was a
shower on board for cruisers as well a restaurant/bar
behind those round port holes you can see.
Nine of Cups is the inside boat (navy & white) with three boats
rafted to her. When the wind blows (and it does), it gets interesting.
An irresistible red row boat against a blue sky.
David poses in front of a city distance sign. All points
are north from here (except Antarctica) and
everywhere is far away.
A calafate berry, similar to a
blueberry. Legend has it that anyone
who eats a calafate berry will return.
We not only tried the berries (which
we picked ourselves), but we tried
calafate jam and ice cream.
A spectacular view Dientes de Navarino
The local cemetery, overlooking the Beagle Channel,
appears to be  a beautiful, peaceful resting spot.
Come along with us to Argentina!
Winds increased and continued (we clocked just
under 60 knots)for three days and we were finally
rewarded with a respite and a gorgeous sunrise. We
headed back to Puerto Williams, anchoring once
again in Puerto Toro for the night. Once back in
Puerto Williams, we remained only a day before
checking out of Chile and heading 25 miles back up
the Beagle Channel for Ushuaia, Argentina.
On February 12, 2006 at 5pm, we snapped these  photos above as we rounded the Horn west to east. Shortly after this picture
was taken, the wind increased to 40 knots and we fought our way to Caleta Martial and anchored for the night.
Reading recommendations...
  • Uttermost Part of the Earth written by
    Lucas Bridges in 1947, son of a missionary in
    Tierra del Fuego. It is the first history of the
    area and its indigenous people. The family still
    resides near Ushuaia and maintains a farm.
  • Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's
    Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe
    (Laurence Bergreen)
In sailing, the great capes are the
major capes of the Southern Ocean —
the Cape of Good Hope (Africa),
Cape Leeuwin (Australia), Cape Horn
(South America),  East Cape
(Tasmania/Australia) and South West
Cape at the southern tip of Stewart
Island/ (NZ).

Chalk up #1.
Flowers of South America
Read Marcie's SSCA article:
Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego
An excursion to Antarctica aboard the
Little Red Boat.