Even landlubbers may recognize Cape Horn as the Americas' southernmost tip. Between this crag of rock and Antarctica lies the Drake Passage, whose waters are the planet's most consistently violent. Of a trip through these latitudes, sailors warned, "Below 40 South there is no law, below 50 South there is no God." Murphy, a mystery writer and nautical journalist, sailed there from Ushuaia, Argentina, in a 53-foot sloop and carefully points out that he only visited the island rather than sailing around it. He revels in the tales of those who made the entire trip, however, and spends much time vividly recounting their adventures, found in old books with thrilling titles like The World Encompassed and A Two Years' Cruise off Tierra Del Fuego. Nautical buffs will find some of these yarns familiar: Darwin's South American voyages aboard HMS Beagle were the subject of last fall's Evolution's Captain, by Peter Nichols, and Murphy's version adds little to the story beyond subtle interpretive differences. Another chapter touches upon the U.S. Navy's South Seas Exploring Expedition, chronicled at length by Nathaniel Philbrick in Sea of Glory (also published last fall). Yet such narrative retreads are offset by the details of Murphy's own voyage (his desire to explore almost set off an international incident with the Chilean government). As exciting as Murphy's historical yarns are, it's always a treat to return to him and his crew as they brave the elements at the end of the earth. Maps.
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Cape Horn is the southernmost point of South America, in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. Murphy, a novelist and journalist, sailed to Cape Horn in 2000. He chronicles the history of the cape and describes in detail the many ships that have made the voyage, battered by the unique weather with its treacherous winds. Francis Drake and Robert FitzRoy are two of the many explorers whose voyages Murphy recounts here. (FitzRoy was the captain of the Beagle and Charles Darwin was its most famous passenger.) Much of the book deals with Murphy's own trip to Cape Horn. In vivid prose, he describes the ship and observes and wonders about birds and other animals; he makes readers experience the island wilderness as if firsthand, and feel for themselves the driving rain and wind that he encountered. The book will interest those looking for an adventure but too frightened to actually make the trip. George Cohen
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Bit laborious at times but a great learning experience about a desolate place.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
I read this while on a cruise around the horn. After reading about the ferocious winds and weather conditions, I realized just how lucky we were! Read morePublished 11 months ago by Gerald Maffeo
Great book. Learned things about that part of world never knew! Especially about the unusual native Yaghans who existed for over 7,000 years until explorers caused their... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Cecilia Soseman
The background and insights offered by this remarkable book will greatly enrich the experience of any traveler headed to Patagonia, Ushuaia, the Strait of Magellan and/or onward to... Read morePublished 15 months ago by CalGal
I'm very pleased with the book. If you are interested in learning more about Drake's Passage, this is the book for you. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mary J. Hall
History and adventure all rolled up in one daunting exploration of an exciting area.Three oceans meet and compete with chaos the resultPublished 19 months ago by John Urban