Vendée Globe 2008: Exploration

Yesterday Skipper Wilson rounded Cape Horn, one of the trickiest areas of the ocean to navigate. Share his excitement at rounding The Horn, as sailors call it, by reading his log here.

Cape Horn is at the very southern tip of South America. It’s part of Chile, located in the region called Tierra del Fuego. That’s Spanish for “Land of Fire.” Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago, which is a chain of islands, often created by volcanoes. (Hawaii is another example of an archipelago.)

Cape Horn itself is rather bare and can only be reached by helicopter. It has no trees, but does have an unmanned light tower to mark its existence. On a nearby island, the Chilean Navy has a lighthouse, a station, and a memorial to honor sailors who died in the waters nearby.

Share the excitement with Skipper Wilson in the video he shot to record the event: 

The people Skipper Wilson talks about are famous explorers who also sailed around Cape Horn. These adventurers went on to find important water routes and to explore areas that weren’t known in the countries they came from. But they didn’t start out by finding something big. They started out small, right in their own backyards and then kept moving outward — right across the sea.

Explorers are always on the lookout for what’s around them. They ask lots of questions. “Why?” and “How?” are two of their favorite questions. They want to understand how things work and figure out how things can be done faster or better or to learn what’s beyond the next corner. In the olden days, people who asked questions like that became sailors and explorers. Today, they become astronauts and deep sea divers. Or they become scientists and explore things like cancer in their laboratories.

You can be an explorer, too. Start out close to home. Look under rocks and in holes. Ask questions. Hunt for answers. Who knows what you’ll find!

Everyday Explorers (6-8)
In this XPeditions lesson, students will be encouraged to become Everyday Explorers as they dig in, get dirty, and learn more about the physical and biological world around them. They will become hands-on scientists on a local level as they explore their schoolyard. They will also discuss ways they can continue to be Everyday Explorers all year long.


How Do We Find Our Way? (6-8)
In this XPeditions lesson, students will consider whether they have a good sense of direction and whether they are able to navigate using mental maps versus needing equipment.

Ocean Exploration Museum (3-5)
In this XPeditions lesson, students will become familiar with some of the latest discoveries in ocean research, including hydrothermal vents and historical shipwrecks.

Cycle of Life 2: Food Webs (3-5)
This lesson from Science NetLinks helps students understand that some insects depend on dead plant material for food and they interact with other organisms in various ways. They’ll also get the opportunity to explore what types of insects live under, on, and around dead trees.


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