Posts Tagged ‘Deception Island’

Deception Island, Feb. 17, 2010

February 19th, 2010 at 1:31 pm (AST) by Krystyana Richter

It was cold, rather dark, and windy…in the volcanic caldera of Deception Island. The caldera contains the remains of the Norwegian Hektor whaling station and the British base B (used for both military purposes during the 40s and scientific purposes during late 50s and well into the 60s). The people that had worked at the base and the base itself had suffered from small eruptions, mud slides, stormy weather, and the like. They finally gave up and abandoned the base in 1969.

Today, the roofs have sagged in or there are none at all, parts of the buildings have been buried by mud slides and the silos that once held whale oil now rust, and you can still make out some of the words on them.

Rusting Silo used for storing whale oil

Rusting Silo used for storing whale oil

Molting gentoo penguins were huddled near a cement base where a building once stood and all that remains now is a stove, some cupboards, and a few weathered planks.

Molting Gentoo penguin next to cement block base

Molting Gentoo penguin next to cement block base

There is a hanger further out and the wind tore at my face as I hiked to it. It used to contain an airplane (an American tourist decided to restore it but the British protested and commissioned a ship to go pick it up for a lot of money) but now all it holds is snow covered with ash.

this hanger is far out and a windy path to get there

this hanger is far out and a windy path to get there

Door to the hanger

Door to the hanger

Inside the hanger containing more snow covered in ash

Inside the hanger containing more snow covered in ash

On the other side of the beach, the skeletal remains of boats are abundant, with Skuas resting nearby.

Boat and skuas

Boat and skuas

Skua

Skua

I love taken pictures of old buildings and you can get some amazing shots if the lighting is just right.

Former room in a now collapsing building

Former room in a now collapsing building

Building on Deception Island

Building on Deception Island

The snow covered with ash looked a lot like dirt pie; Oreos crumbled on top of ice creamy stuff (my dad suggested that I was hungry).

snow covered by ash

snow covered by ash

The caldera is open to the ocean and the only way in and out via Ship is through Neptune’s Bellows, which may seem large but contains rocks in the middle of the opening, so our ship had to stick one of the sides of the opening.

My family and I, had all brought our bathing suites thinking of a natural hot tub, but….The heat from the volcano may have once heated the waters in the caldera but now it provides a slightly warmer (or not even that) polar plunge!

 

Taking a Polar Plunge in Antarctic Waters

February 17th, 2010 at 9:51 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Our only landing today was inside the caldera of a dormant volcano. The location was a place called Deception Island, which last erupted in 1970. The caldera is actually open to the ocean, and thus filled with frigid water. There’s a rumor that heat from the volcanic substrate heats the water and earth there, but no evidence of that was found today.

After a morning exploration of a derelict whaling station which is now a historical landmark, a dozen or so hardy souls (yours truly definitely not among them), braved a polar plunge into waters right around freezing temperature.

Brave (and insane) fellow passengers plunge into frigid waters in Deception Island

Brave (and insane) fellow passengers plunge into frigid waters in Deception Island

I have compiled 14 photos into a short 30 second slide show video with suitable music. The guy leaping into the water during the middle of the slide show is our fellow blogger Andrew Evans (@bus2antarctica on Twitter). The slide show is below:

Update – February 18, 2010: I have been informed by Abby, one of the participants in the plunge, that the bearded fellow is actually Justin, another passenger on the ship who looks a lot like Andrew (@bus2antarctica). Sorry about the confusion!

 

GPS Tracking – Deception Island and Maxwell Bay

February 17th, 2010 at 9:39 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We’re on the open sea tonight and thus have a decent Internet connection, so I figured I would catch up on the GPS tracks at least.

Today we visited Deception Island, a dormant volcano whose caldera is filled with the ocean. It’s also the site of an old whaling station, last used in the 1930s, but inhabited as an outpost until the volcano erupted in 1970.

From there we visited Bailey Head to view (from the ship) a Chinstrap penguin colony, and then toured (again by ship) Maxwell Bay at King George Island, home to a large number of countries’ Antarctic research stations.

Tomorrow we expect to be at Elephant Island, famous for its role in Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance saga.

GPS track for today is below: