Antarctica
Deception Island

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5 travelers at this place

  • 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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  • Nov24

    Hurricane Antarctica style

    November 24, 2014 in Antarctica

    We had a postcard day yesterday and mild weather during our time in Antarctica, so the odds were good that we'd eventually run into a storm. I awoke early because of the pronounced rocking of the ship. I laid in bed, rolling back and forth, until the morning announcement. We were headed to Deception Island for the morning activity, but the weather had changed drastically from last night. Deception Island is an active volcano, and only one of three in the world into which you can sail. About 700,000 years ago, in a terrific explosion, the volcano blew its top, leaving the caldera that sits as a horseshoe shaped island today. There is just a small opening through which the ship passed to bring us into the harbor. We waited most of the day for the weather to clear, as it was too windy to take the zodiacs to shore. To pass the time, there was a movie about the last non-motorized cargo ship (1929) that made regular runs around Cape Horn; there were lectures on the history and geology of Deception Island, a major whaling station for decades; and there was a knot tying class, which was my favorite. I'm trying to get proficient with my knots, as part of my sailing lessons back home, so this was a great opportunity to practice under the discriminating eye of a sailor.

    Unfortunately, the weather only worsened. By the afternoon, we were experiencing hurricane conditions, with winds gusting over 110 mph. The driving snow was painful on my face, as I ventured out to get a firsthand experience. I stood on the top deck, squinted my eyes, and put my face directly into the wind. A gust blew into my coat's hood and about swept me away like a kite. I'm not the brightest bulb but in this case, I quickly realized I should step away from the railing. In the caldera, we had protection from the worst of the storm. The volcanic rim provided shelter from the large waves and higher winds outside of the harbor. The captain was trying to keep us there as long as possible, hoping the storm would blow through before we would have to sail into the Drake Passage again. It's kind of ironic that we were seeking shelter in an active volcano.

    It was shortly before dinner, when we had to leave our sheltered cove. The time was getting late, and we needed to start sailing north to keep our schedule. We passed out of Neptune's Bellows, the narrow gateway in the caldera, and out into the choppier water. At first, we had some shelter from the Shetland Islands but even they were a poor windbreak from the storm. While we shared our evening meal, the ship's rocking became more accentuated. Several people left the dining room for their cabins to strap down for the evening. The captain indicates that we will be entering the Drake around 10pm, and the waters will be difficult until the morning. The crew has asked that we secure everything in the cabin, and barf bags have been strategically placed around the ship. Where there was a basket of fruit the past few days, I saw a bunch of bags displayed in a fan and at the ready.

    Although I'm disappointed that we missed out on a day of activities, it was fascinating to watch the power of Mother Nature. We are no longer allowed to go on the outside decks, due to the weather. The wind is whipping large snowflakes past our porthole, and the waves are thrashing against the steel of the hull, but we are safe in our cabin. Hopefully the dire weather prediction for tonight will not manifest in reality, and we will have a sunny and smooth passage to Argentina. Stay tuned...
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Decepción, isla, Decepcion, Deception Island, Isla