Photo 4028 Sunset over Loch Ewe and Isle of Ewe, Wester Ross
Photo 3352: Cape Horn island and its Memorial to all those who lost their lives rounding it.

Photo 3352: Cape Horn island and its Memorial to all those who lost their lives rounding it.

The immensely impressive 7 meter high monument seen on the small hill in the foreground was erected in memory of all those who, over the centuries, lost their lives at sea rounding Cape Horn. It was erected by the Chilean Government in 1992. The sculpture was designed by Chilean sculptor José Balcells Eyquem and depicts an albatross in flight - the seafaring symbol for souls lost at sea. My wife and I visited this place in January 2018.

The island is part of Chile and has a lighthouse on it which, when we visited, was occupied by the lighthouse keeper, his wife and two children, whom we met, the only inhabitants on the island. Each lighthouse keeper does a year on the island after which a new lighthouse keeper arrives to take over. However, since our visit it seems one of the keepers and his family have decided to stay, there is a link to more info about this below. We were told that the Chilean Government has the island permanently manned and supplied because there is an ongoing territorial dispute between Argentina and Chile regarding the local waters and the island itself.

The ground leading to the monument is a peat bog but the Chilean Government built a 328 meter wooden walkway of native wood to cross the soggy peat bogs, this helps prevents damage to the natural flora of the island. As you approach the monument one encounters two cement structures (which you can just see in the image) containing marble plaques, one dedicated to the monument, and the other containing a beautiful poem written by the author Sara Vial of Valparaíso, Chile, which reads as follows:

I, the albatross that awaits at the end of the world...
I am the forgotten soul of the sailors lost,
rounding Cape Horn from all the seas of the world.
But die they did not in the fierce waves,
for today towards eternity, in my wings they soar,
in the last crevice of the Antarctic winds.

The monument, made of ten steel plates, each 6mm thick, was constructed by the ASMAR Shipyard in Talcahuano. They took into account the basic necessity of the structure to support wind loads of up to 200 kilometers per hour, plus a 60% safety factor. Even so I understand it was damaged by a storm on at least one occasion and had to be repaired.

Looking out from this point over the Southern Ocean there is no more land until you reach Antarctica, only 650 kilometres distant. This island is a place which gave me an intense feeling of isolation, also of personally being very small and feeble against the immense forces of nature that frequently rage over the island and the surrounding seas. We were only able to land by rubber dingy because our ship encountered calm conditions and only for a couple of hours, but it was an unforgettable experience. It is unlikely we will ever be there again but I often think about this place.

For more information about the island and its memorial I recommend these two links:

Family life on the island: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G539t8hCbZw

The history and construction of the memorial: https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/threads/cape-horn-memorial.35915/

I have tried in vain to find the name of the distant Cape Horn mountain shown in my photo above, if anyone knows of a link where it is named I would be glad to hear from you!

At Landscapes For You all scenic images can be purchased as prints, canvas wraps, mounted or framed, all delivered straight to your door wherever you live in the world. All images can also be licensed for commercial usage. In the gallery Scottish photographs are mainly of the NW Highlands and islands with a few images of other areas. Because I live in Scotland I have naturally focused mainly on Scottish scenes, more recently I have been increasingly adding images from other parts of the world.

You can search the gallery for images of particular places, mountains, etc., lochs just by typing the name of what you are looking for in the search box. Just click on 'Search' in the menu above and enter what you are looking for. For news about new photographs you can follow me on facebook and Twitter.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In