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February 26, 2012
Day 9: Cape Horn


Cruising through Drake Passage

When Gail was in the sixth grade, a neighbor went to Chile. Gail thought that was the most exotic and exciting thing she had ever heard. Over the years, she has read countless books on travel and exploration, from Magellan to Columbus to Captain Cook. One of her life’s dreams has been to see the tip of South America where the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean meet.

The fulfillment of this dream was one of the main reasons we embarked on this cruise. So it was heartbreaking when Gail woke up this morning and her migraine was much worse than it was last night.

We decided to take care of this right away. Russell escorted Gail to the ship’s Medical Center right after its 9:00 am opening. We still had to wait more than an hour to be seen. Fortunately, the nurses understood migraines and placed Gail at the top of the priority list.

Dr. Dylan Belton, the British doctor, was wonderful. He said that Gail’s usual medication, Demerol, had stopped being used in England for years. His recommendation, Sumatriptin, was a medication that Gail had stopped using in the U.S. She finally consented to an injection, and the medication turned her migraine around in less than an hour.

With her migraine now under control, Gail concluded that she was also suffering from sinusitis, a nasal infection. We went back to the Medical Center and she got some antibiotics.


The morning had started out looking like this


By afternoon, the sky was looking like this

We were due to enter Drake Passage at 4:00 pm. We were invited to spend the afternoon with Vicky and Bernie Bowne, who had a cabin with a private balcony. Vicky was the person who first started the Cruise Critic thread for this voyage; she and Gail had been corresponding for months. We had time to grab lunch and play a game of “Wits and Wagers” before the critical time began. (Bernie is a huge fan of trivia games. Gail wants it to be known that she tied him for the win.)

The captain and the travel expert provided narration over the ship’s loudspeakers. First, we passed the Isle of Deception, so-named because early explorers accidentally mistook it for Cape Horn, the actual transition landmark. When we got to the real Cape, it was on the opposite side of the ship. So we all bundled up, left the Bownes’ cabin and went out onto the cold and rainy deck.


Gail views the Isle of Deception from a balcony on the starboard side

Princess Patter: Cape Horn is part of the Islas Del Cabo de Hornos or Islas Hermite as they are also known. The most well known is Isla Hornos, famed for the cape which bears its name. The name came about from the summit of its most northwesterly extremity, which ends in twin peaks which resemble towers or horns.


Gail points to Cape Horn and the fulfillment of a life’s dream


The “horns” of Cape Horn

The viewing decks were much less crowded than we had feared, probably because most people were hunkered down inside by windows. We stayed out for the next hour, taking pictures of the scenery and each others. At 5:42 pm, narrator Joe May announced that we had passed from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean. Gail did a happy dance.


The deck of the Star Princess as we cruise through the Straits of Magellan (note everyone gathered on the port side)

When we went back to our cabin, we had received paper certificates from Princess Cruises congratulating us on our accomplishment. That evening, Gail was well enough to enjoy a full meal in the dining hall for the first time in several days. Later, we dressed up and joined more Cruise Critic friends to watch a live broadcast of the Academy Awards on a big screen.

After a rocky beginning, Gail was able to recover this important day. She finally seems to be on the mend, and just in time. We have a rare schedule of two ports in a row tomorrow and the day after.


Gail, feeling much better, poses with the gang at the Academy Awards party. (The ladies had all arranged to bring feather boas for fun.)

 

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