Day 5 |
Jan 22, 2010

Deception Island: Whalers Bay, Telefon Bay

By Gennadi Milinevsky – Environment, Atmosphere Physicist

Co-ordinates: 62˚59’S, 60˚34’W; 62˚56’S, 60˚40’W

Weather: overcast and windy, gusts 25 – 45 knots, temperature -3C (24F)

We sailed overnight from Brown Bluff on the Antarctic continent to Deception Island. We expected early landing at Baily Head, however wind and big swell forced us to cancel this landing. Instead, the Prince Albert II sailed through the narrow strait of Neptune’s Bellow leading from the sea into the caldera of Deception Island to Whalers Bay. We set anchor and the landing began at 10am. There was a high tide that covered all our expected warm places for polar plunge with cold water. After a brilliant, as always, briefing by historian Peter about the history of Deception Island and Whaler's Bay, four groups of guests were guided to Neptune's Window along the shore between the tide lines. In that time when I started guiding the last group, a westerly wind gusted up to about 100 km/h (60 knots) in my estimation. On the way we met a Weddell seal resting some 20 meters from the beach and chain of salps close to water line. Guests were interested by this wildlife as well as waterboats and whale carcasses partly buried in dark cinder. When we reached the steep path to Neptune's Window, only three guests from the group decided to climb up, while the others stayed on the beach looking at another Weddell seal. Unexpectedly, when we were up to the edge, the wind there was very low and we enjoyed by view through that amazing geological structure. On way back, the wind was still strong and all guests rejected a suggestion to take a polar plunge.

The ship then sailed to Telefon Bay to make landing for a walk to a crater from one of Deception’s recent eruptions. However wind gusts made Zodiac operations impossible. In order to avoid some days held up in Port Foster by the strong westerlies, our Captain decided to leave Deception as soon as possible. We safely came through the narrow Neptune’s Bellow and the winds unexpectedly died down after fifteen minutes and we started sailing to Port Lockroy.

Instead landing at Telefon Bay two lectures were offered to our guests: "Penguins" by ornithologist Will and "Ozone Hole" by me. After our lectures, the Briefing & Recap was interrupted by a humpback whale appearance ahead of ship. Our Captain changed course and speed, and guests had the occasion to see at first the whale’s diving tail and then as gift – a nice high humpback breach showing two-thirds of body above water surface. Then all guests returned to The Theatre to continue our briefing for tomorrow’s activity at Port Lockroy and the recap of today’s adventures.