Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. Often considered one of the most dangerous of shipping lanes because of the rough seas, strong winds, and mighty currents. Today, we head out in this direction to get a taste of Antarctic weather.
We face the rough seas in a medium size fishing boat. The waves crash up against the bow, but do not come aboard the deck. Some of us suffer a bit of seasickness, but foreseeing this, I hand out ginseng pills. This is a homeopathic remedy which seems to work wonders. After a long while of battling the waters, we reach Punta Tombo, a southernly island just off the cape. It is frigid here, in this Antarctic climate.
Today, we get a treat, as we come here right at the tail end of their incubation season: Magellenic Penguins. These wonderful aquatic birds are named after the explorer who found a way through the straight not far from here. Now, we can see the birds waddling around with their offspring. Soon enough, they will migrate back to Southern Brazil.
We also see other birds like cormorants, chimangos, and rheas, the latter being large flightless birds. We take a boat back to the mainland.
We take a bus back to the Patagonian steppe to spend one last night in the wild. We shall never forget this magical “Land of Wind and Fire.” I decide to take those willing out on one last hike. We travel taking in all of the wonder of this place: the wind rushing over the short grass and mosses, the clouds swirling around Mount Fitz Roy, and the beautiful., firey sun setting in the distance. On our way back we pass a small escarpment. The wind is rushing into our faces, making walking difficult. Suddenly, I spot one of the rock-shaped objects move in the corner of my eye. Amazed, I peer over the ledge. A Puma! Getting this close is bordering on insane, but their beauty and elusive nature beckons me to watch. His powerful legs jump from rock to rock. And what is this? A bit futher off, I see a group of guanacos. The puma gets down on all fours, shoulders moving like pistons, inching closer and closer to its target. We were about to be treated to an event so rare…
In an instant, the puma was off; the guanacos scattered. They ran further and further away from us. Watching in amazement through our binoculars, the puma grabbed a young guanaco and hurled it to the ground. It then took its prize and wandered off to enjoy its catch.
What a last day in this wonderful land. Puma hunts are amongst the rarest animal behavior ever witnessed by humans, and we were treated to one. So tomorrow, sad to move on, but overjoyed to experience this land, we shall continue to the Altiplano and the foothills of the Andes.