A Passage to Antarctica (1988)

Cloud Nine's crew of six spent three weeks south of Cape Horn in 1988-- one of only three sailboats to visit Antarctica that year.

Passage to Antarctica

Our entire crew (including me, in the foreground) from our first trip to Antarctica made it to the reunion (left to right): Rick Palm, Rona House, Mike Metzmaker, John Tepaske, and Scott Russell.David Thoreson

Our entire crew of six—Scott Russell, Rona House, Mike Metzmaker, Rick Palm, and John Tepaske—were present at the reunion. We spent three weeks south of Cape Horn, and that year, only three sailboats ventured into Antarctic waters.

Scott, a highly competitive Hobie-cat racer, was our least-experienced hand. “As we were crossing the Drake Passage,” he recalled, “I was thinking that it was the roughest water I’d ever experienced, and I began to wonder just how much the boat could take. That’s when someone said, ‘We’re sure lucky to be having such good weather this morning.’”

Later, however, the weather really did pick up. From her perch in the aft cockpit, Rona said it was “like hanging on to, and trying to steer from, the back of a high-speed hook-and-ladder fire truck going up and down the hills of San Francisco.” Rona said that what she recalled about Antarctica was “the soothing sounds of braying penguins on quiet nights. And the people at Palmer Station told us they were jealous because we could do things and go places that their health and safety regulations wouldn’t permit.”