• Day10

    In a Smoking Volcano

    February 19, 2020 in Antarctica ⋅ ☀️ 32 °F

    The M/S Midnatsol is anchored in the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is not an inactive or dormant caldera, as one might imagine, but the center of an active volcano. The last big eruption occurred in 1970, but there are still areas around the edges where steamy water condenses as it meets the frigid arctic air. Everything here is barren. A lunar landscape contains as much life. Only a few distant hills wear a modest crown of snow.

    Following our excursion photographer Espin Mills offered a class in Lightroom, but I excused myself after an hour since I already had learned the techniques he presented. I stood on the ship and watched through binoculars the string of shipmates who chose to hike to the crest of the ridge overlooking the caldera. The stark beauty of this place will return in my memories for years to come.

    Like several of the beaches we have visited, Deception Island's lack of snow and ice surprises me. Antarctica has ice and glaciers. We saw plenty of each. Yet those returning here comment on the rapid retreat of many of the tidewater glaciers and the unusually warm temperatures that have met us this week. Global warming is apparently real, yet not even the alarmists of the media have good ideas about how to address the issue. I am grateful for the opportunity to visit here. I am also grateful for the international agreements that limit the number of tourists that can be on this continent. Our ship can only release no more than one hundred at a time. Let us hope that the nations of the world cooperate to solve climatic problems as successfully as they have cooperated to preserve this pristine continent.
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