Deception Island

This is the third post on Antarctica. Prior posts focused on the landscapes and wildlife of Antarctica.

Deception Island, in the South Shetland Islands, was the first official stop we made after crossing the Drake Passage en route to the Antarctic Peninsula. It’s a relatively safe harbor, being surrounded on most sides because… it’s an active volcano. The entrance into the caldera passes through a narrow gap called Neptune’s Bellows with a submerged rock, Raven’s Rock, guarding the entrance (it makes you wonder how many boats have hit that in the past – luckily not our own).

That volcanic activity eventually led to it being abandoned. It started as a whaling station in the early 1900s, but when the price of whale oil collapsed in the 1930s it was abandoned. Various research stations have occupied the island, though the last two permanent stations left in the 1960s after two different periods of volcanic activity.

Today, there are still researchers during the summer with seismic activity constantly monitored. More so, the main visitors today are us tourists.

Neptune’s Bellows, the entrance to Deception Island (from inside the caldera).
A cone near the entrance of Deception Island.
The remnants of the former whaling station. In the middle are the old boilers for melting whale blubber with the storage tanks on the right.
An old hanger. There was also an airstrip here for a time, and one of the first flights in Antarctica arrived and departed from the beach here.
Lowering zodiacs so we could go to shore.
A Gentoo penguin looking for that perfect rock for his nest and mate.
A Gentoo penguin and relics of the past on the beach.
An Adélie penguin.
Gentoo penguins on the beach.
Shaking it off.
Old boat on the beach.
Photographing birds on the cliffs.

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