Our second landing was at Deception Island, an island in the South Shetland Islands archipelago.  The island got it’s name because from the sea it looks like an island, but a portion of the wall of the volcanic caldera has collapsed, flooding the interior and creating an amazing natural harbor.  Access to the interior is through the 660 feet entrance known as Neptune’s Bellows, so named for the winds which howl through.  There is a rock in the middle just under the water giving a ship only 330 feet with which to navigate.  Once through the Bellows, we reached Whalers Bay 


Deception Island


In the early 1900s whalers would drag the whales back to this safe harbor, extract as much oil as they could and then leave the dead carcasses in the bay.  You can imagine the smell of the decaying dead carcasses mixed with the sulphuric steam from the volcanic activity.   A shore station was set up in 1912 to process the meat and bones left behind by the ships.  The station closed in 1931 after modern additions to the factory ships allowed them to render the entire whale.  

The volcano is still active, but the last eruptions were in 1967 and 1969.IMG 5731

Some of our group riding to shore in a Kodiak.

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I am the one on the end riding incognito with the black mask because it was COLD!!!!  Felt like 15 degrees with 19 mph winds and snow.

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The 86% humidity makes it feel even colder!

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A deserted boat left on the shore.

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Deserted whale oil tanks from the early 1900s.IMG 5804Some of our group—definitely not me—getting ready for a polar plungIMG 5824Our tour guide Valerie with another member of our group.!

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Today we only saw two gentoo penguins on shore.IMG 6040

An interesting fact - a penguin leaves his home around 4-5 months and swims miles and miles away in the water for four or five years before coming back to the exact same place he was born to find a mate.

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Skua is a predator of the penguins.  It eats the eggs and the young penguins

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Here is a skua eating cooked creel ( like small shrimp).  The sulphuric gases and the steam from the volcano poison the creel and cook them.  The penguins doin’t each these, but the skua does.IMG 6020

Cape Petrel