(This blog is in an unconventional format: The dates displayed are actual trip dates - not post dates.)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Deception Island

January 24, 2010
62°58"S, 60°39"W

After putting away a good hot shower, meal and a few cocktails, the boat had left behind the relative calm of the south shetland islands, headed through the swell for a late evening arrival at anotheqr member of the South Shetland group, Decepetion Island.

Deception island is the flooded remains of a volanic caldera, some twelve kilometers in diameter. Over the last century or so its safe harbour, guarded from weather and ice floe by its walls, have been home to whaling, scientific and military stations. Everybody loves it so much that several countries have setup their beach houses there in the hope they'll be able to call it their own. Its most recent eruption was less than fifty years ago.

For the lucky traveller, entrance into the bay is permitted through a narrow gap known as Neptune's Bellows. It was a few short kilometers from here the Fram cut back its engines about 11pm that night. For a ship of its size, the Bellows has another suprise lying just under the surface of the channel - a reef known as Ravn Rock.

If there was one thing our crew had nailed down, it was expectation management. I'ts an incredibly important skill when you have a boatload of clients of the age and background that expect perfect weather to be part of the package they've been sold. Long before we arrived at the island it was made abundantly clear that we may only be viewing it from a safe distance. The clouds pulled tight around the horizon and a drape of golden blooms hung in the sky between them and the disappearing expanse of ocean. The sky above the cloud bank took on a gradient of twilight. Hovering a few kilometers from the entrance to the caldera we waited patiently for the captains word.

But with an unfavourable swell, this day we'd have to be content with a historical narrative, and a few photos of a beautiful sunset.

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