After lunch the Polar Pioneer finally reaches our first stop in Antarctica, Deception Island. The island is circular, about 7.5 miles across and formed from a volcano caldera where a section of the caldera edge is below the ocean surface allowing ships to carefully sail through the narrow opening called Neptune’s Bellows and into the actual caldera. The caldera forms a large bay that provides shelter from the worst of the antarctic weather. In the past, the Island was home to whaling stations and research bases.

When we arrived at deception Island the weather was pretty nasty; strong wind, fog and wet blowing snow. But after over three days on the ship most people were ready to brave the elements and go ashore. We landed on a desolate black sand beach in Whalers Bay where the remains of an abandoned whaling station and research base were located. The base had been partially destroyed and buried by a mudflow in 1969. Once ashore, the weather was not super cold, but the sticky, wet blowing snow made things tough. The harsh weather along with the abandoned buildings, half buried rusting machinery and lack of vegetation gave everything an eerie post-apocalyptic feel.

Gentoo Penguin, Deception Island, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguin in the blowing snow.

Abandoned Buildings, Deception Island, Antarctica

Abandoned Buildings

Rusting Machinery, Deception Island, Antarctica

Rusting Machinery

Abandoned Building, Deception Island, Antarctica

Abandoned Building

Abandoned Airplane Hanger

Abandoned Airplane Hanger, Deception Island, Antarctica

Gerntoo Penguin

You can see in the photo that the snow was blowing almost horizontally