For as far back as he can remember, Dallas Murphy has been sea-struck. Since he began to read, “besotted by salt-water dreams and nautical language,” he studied the lore surrounding a place of mythic proportions: the ever-alluring Cape Horn. And after years of dreaming — and sailing — he finally made his voyage there. In this lively, thrilling blend of history, geography, and modern-day adventure, Murphy shows how the myth crossed wakes with his reality. Cape Horn is a buttressed pyramid of crumbly rock situated at the very bottom of South America — 55 degrees 59 minutes South by 67 degrees 16 minutes West. It’s a place of forlorn and foreboding beauty, one that has captured the dark imaginations of explorers and writers from Francis Drake to Joseph Conrad. For centuries, the small stretch of water between Cape Horn and the Antarctic peninsula was the only gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and it’s a place where the storms are bigger, the winds stronger, the seas rougher than anywhere else on earth. Rounding the Horn is the ultimate maritime rite of passage, and in Murphy’s hands, it becomes a thrilling, exuberant tour. Weaving together stories of his own nautical adventures with long-lost tales of those who braved the Cape before him — from Spanish missionaries to Captain Cook — and interspersed with breathtaking descriptions of the surrounding wilderness, the result is a beautifully crafted, immensely enjoyable read.
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