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Day 5 - December 4, 2008 - Attempted Landings At Yankee Harbour, Half Moon Island, And Whaler’S Bay (Deception Island)

By Gennadi Milinevsky

Overcast all day, fog and snow blowing sometimes, strong wind conditions.

Due to strong winds of up to 50 knots, our early arrival at Yankee Harbour was postponed from 4am to 7am, according to the announcement of our Expedition Leader, Robin. Then, at 6:20am, a new announcement followed that we could not finally make a landing either at Yankee Harbour or at Half Moon Island, but would have to drift for some time in Discovery Bay and English Strait between Robert and Greenwich Islands in order to gain protection from strong winds.

Instead, three lectures were offered to guests: one by our marine biologist Robin Aiello “Living and Diving on the Ross Ice Shelf”, a second by geologist Juan “The Life and Death of Continental Ice” before lunch, and one more lecture in the afternoon by naturalist Rob, on seals. The lectures provided some variety for guests during our enforced sea days.

Later in the afternoon, we headed towards Whaler’s Bay at Deception Island, hoping to gain some shelter from these horrible weather conditions. We were not alone in doing this - we passed a Chilean supply ship that had spent the last 48 hours sailing up and down English Strait, just waiting for calm weather conditions. However, our hope of entering the bay of Port Foster was disappointed by strong wind and snow blowing inside the caldera. We had to change course for Cape Renard off the Antarctic Peninsula – our destination for the next morning.

In the late afternoon, a recap and briefing was offered to guests, with a presentation by our historian Victoria, who talked about the scientific leader of Captain Scott’s Terra Nova expedition – Sir James Wordie - in connection with a possible visit to Wordie House, an old British base. The historic British ‘Base F’, Wordie House, is located on Winter Island in the Argentine Islands archipelago. This historic building, built in 1947, is owned by the UK Natural Environment Research Council, of which the British Antarctic Survey is a component body. Nearby British Faraday Research Station was closed as a British station in 1996, transferred to the Ukraine and renamed Vernadsky. Winterers’ life at Vernadsky was discussed as well.

Then, after the repair of some technical problems that had produced a pronounced, but temporary, tilt in the ship’s position, we started to sail in the direction of the Lemaire Channel.

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