An Unprecedented Achievement in Chilean Waters

Stéphanie Geyer-Barneix, Alexandra Lux and Itziar Abascal succeed, hands down, in the sporting challenge they started in March 2014. Friday, January the 9th, on the seventh day of their journey, all three rounded Cape Horn on their paddle-boards. Cap Ô Pas Cap, as the project was officially named, is the first of its kind, using such a small skiff, with harm power, to pass the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in Chilean waters. The mythical Cape Horn crossing is the completion of 18 months of preparation on land and sea. And it was by any means easy; two crossings tests, a budget closed at the last minute thanks to the generous sponsors of the crowd funding campaign and difficulties on-site to start the adventure due to the risks and administrative confines, let alone hostile weather and frequent storms.
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But they did! With nerves of steel, with the help of a dedicated and united team, and the unconditional support of hundreds of members of the "Club des Givrés" and support through social networks every day.

Extreme Conditions

 It actually took a lot of courage and mindset to paddle during 8 days in freezing waters. The conditions were extremely difficult and uncertain during the entire journey. The paddlers had to permanently adjust their rhythm to the currents. A strategic crossing had to be planed thoroughly because they had to submit to the whims of the weather such as storms. They had to get in the water at specific times and paddle at a high rate to achieve the day plan and the shelter points before the next storm - paddling against very challenging and tiring currents. Due to frequent  heavy storms, the progress of the challenge has been slowed down, forcing the team to take shelter in anchorages to avoid the worst. Not to mention the marine life, sometimes hostile, like killer whales and sea lions.

Never this Cape, considered one of the most dangerous places in the world, has been circumvented by a paddle board. Good conditions allowed the three girls, three World champions to climb on one board together to cross it. Given the tradition, they offered "Neptune" the most precious meal onboard: a foie gras!! So they could ask for better conditions on the way back.

Return to the Mainland

The sporting challenge ended on Saturday at 20:10 (local time) at the Puerto Toro’s Lighthouse, only a few hours away of a new major storm, which forced the crew to take shelter again. Thereafter, the ship resumed its journey back to Punta Arenas and Thomas, the osteopath-scientist of the crew, could complete the water samples that will help to update the plastic particles and micro-particles database of Patagonia waters (study supported by the CNRS laboratory of Villefranche-sur-Mer).

Whole team dreamed about this challenge for a long time and they did it for all the children committed by their side. To highlight the importance of protecting the water, to challenge themselves for a noble cause, to be "Charlie", for the freedom to act and to paddle, and for all those who believed in this crazy adventure.

They can’t wait to return after more than a month spent there, happy, because they succeed in achieving this unique project. Well done!

Photos: © G.Gannieux

Source: http://www.capopascap.com

5. 2. 2015

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