National Geographic : 1937 Dec
INSIDE CAPE HORN WILLIWAWS RACKED-AND NEARLY WRECKED--"DORJUN" WHEN SHE ANCHORED IN BRECKNOCK PASS Cold land gales burst upon her; squalls tossed her about all night even though she stood close to shore at the base of a peak. On the weather side of the same mountain, behind a low barrier cape or islet, the squalls might have passed over her, because wind never blows so hard against high land as when descending from it. Here she was in the very pocket of the blow. Yoked oxen hauled logs down to the mill. The three-foot diameters of the roble trees (Antarctic beech) surprised me after the wind-blasted, stunted trees on the seaward coasts. There we had tramped over forests six inches high. Even here half the trees are ruined by frosts and terrific winds. Our host, a young Slav, took us guanaco hunting. The gloomy, wet forests proved impassable. Great moldering trunks had fallen down in every direction. I decided to wait, to look at the guanaco in the zoo at Buenos Aires. The guanaco, like its domesticated rela tive, the llama, is an American member of the camel group and has much of that ani mal's grotesqueness. The Indians, in hunt ing them, take advantage of the animal's extreme curiosity. A 10-ton schooner put in for lumber. We became acquainted with the Sicilian captain, Pascalini. These cutter captains, representing no particular nationality, are more skillful and fearless than cultured. Pascalini ventures on sealing expeditions to the Diego Ramirez Islands, 65 miles south west of Cape Horn. Beyond Yendegaia, Mount Olivia, its summer snow line at 3,500 feet, marked the site of Argentina's Fuegian capital (Plate I). As the Dorjun cut across Ushuaia's sun-flecked harbor, a reception committee formed on the stone pier. "Come listen to Schenectady on my American radio," invited the governor of the prison. We had seen the grim walls of the penitentiary at the east end of the penal colony as we voyaged in. It holds half of Ushuaia's 1,400 population. "You must be my guests while you are here," said the chief of harbor police. We lived aboard the Dorjun, serving tea in the afternoon, sometimes taking picnic parties voyaging down the channel.