While we were unsure what would be in store for us, based on all announcements from earlier this morning, the weather nearly calmed and it was good enough for the Zodiacs to launch. This would be our next to the last landing. I went down to the mudroom; this is where we go to put on a life vest and our wellington boots for the excursion. I arrived in the mudroom at least 30 minutes early and I was not alone. I was fully dressed and based on the number of people ahead of me I would be number nine inline for the first zodiac. Additionally, on the way back I was on the next to the last zodiac to return to the ship. I figured that it was time to maximize my time on shore versus my time on either the ship or shore standing in line for the zodiacs. Now it is important to understand that Deception Island is an
active volcano. One of the expedition leaders pointed out to us, a peak, that steam was coming out of it.
To describe Whalers Bay it would help to give a visual picture. When coming into shore, from the right to the left we could make out the landing area. It was a black sand beach overall and towering on the right is Neptunes window. Neptunes window is two towering edges of the cone of the volcano where some of the wall has fallen in, thus giving the location a geological window shape. The window has a view that in good visibility shows the mainland of Antarctica. This is the location that allowed an America to be one of the first to spot the Antarctic Continent. Perhaps he discovered Antarctica, but that is in question-as many things regarding Antarctica are great disputes.
Prior to the Neptunes gates are remnants of buildings that were used in processing whales after then they had been killed. The whale that was targeted for killing was the Right Whale. This may seem like an odd name for a breed but it goes back to the whaling days. This whale was slow and when you harpooned it, it would float. Thus easy equals the right whale to kill and a fitting name I suppose. After this youe view settled on some rusted out tanks that were for the storage of fuel. Next you come to some buildings and whale processing tanks.
Now remember Poseidons window, the area before it and going back to the left too the first set of tanks is where the whalers pulled the Right Whale in, jammed a stake through its tale as that is where the most ligaments were, required for holding down the animal and then they cut the whales up alive and carried off the pieces to the processing tanks. Later the Japanese would find that the bones contained up to 30% of the precious oil that the whalers were looking for and to this the also turned their attention.
Going further down the beach you come to an old British Aircraft Hanger and around there a runway where the planes would land. The last eruption of this volcano, I believe, was in the 1990s but Google it to be sure (Google: Deceptive Island Last Eruption). The wind was howling and this term, howling that is, that has been used almost daily. This wind however did not deter the chinstrap penguins from coming to say hello. Compared to the Gentoos the Chinstraps really seem to have a clue. A group of seven Gentoos could go to the water to get a rock for their nest and then 90% of the way back up the hill on the way to their nest they see one Gentoo going down to the water and immediately they pause, drop their rocks, and run back down the hill- as if the other Gentoo going down knows the location of some magic rocks! Now the chinstrap is stoic in nature and seems to want to direct the people regarding what they should and should not be doing. On one occasion while walking around the black beach a Chinstrap came toward me as if to say who are you to pass me and don’t you have a camera. So I stopped and was shooting some short video and the chinstrap posed accordingly. Not soon after this, a group of people came down the beach and the Chinstrap moved toward the new people as if to say-it serves you right for ignoring me I am out of here, ciao. I am sure the Chinstrap video will be amongst my best.
As I kept trying to go further I was informed that I had better start back to the Zodiacs so I did. Back aboard the ship we are headed to Half Moon Island and we will hopefully have good weather for our last landing of this voyage. So cross your fingers for good weather.
Sent to you over a satellite phone using GMN’s XGate software. Please be kind and keep your replies short