Literally, Cape Horn is a buttressed pyramid of crumbly rock, standing 425 meters above the sea at the very bottom of South America - 55 degrees 59 minutes south by 67 degrees 16 minutes west. Metaphorically, however, Cape Horn stands for the ultimate in ocean violence. There is no other land to the east, none to the west - all the way around the world. To the south, there is only Antarctica. The water in between rises up in chaos when Force 10 storms roll in from the west. For centuries, to round the Horn stood as the supreme test of sailors and ships. It still does. While treacherous conditions were enough to secure its place in legend, a geographical accident secured its place in history. From the Arctic Circle to the sub-Antarctic, there is no natural break in the continental coastlines through which big ships could sail, except at Cape Horn. Western explorers and merchants, daredevils and missionaries, long sought to master the Cape, their will for profit and dominance wreaking havoc on those already there - an indigenous (and unclothed) population of marine nomads called the Yahgan, one of the simplest cultures ever to live on earth. In the austral autumn of 2000, aboard a 53-foot steel sloop called Pelagic, Dallas Murphy sailed down by the Horn. He weaves stories of his own nautical adventures together with tales of those who braved Cape Horn before him, from Francis Drake to Charles Darwin, and breathtaking descriptions of the surrounding wilderness. The result is a beautifully crafted, immensely enjoyable expedition.