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Antarctica: The Expedition, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage, Halfmoon Island, Rocas Hydrurga with Cuverville Island, Palmer Station with Lemaire Channel & Petermann Island, Brown Station with Neko Harbor, Brown Bluff with Esperanza Station, Whalers Bay with Yankee Harbor, Drake Passage
Antarctica Expedition - Day 8:
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Saturday, January 16th
Whalers Bay, Deception Island
Lat. 62° 59' S, Long. 60° 34' W
Yankee Harbor, Greenwich Island
Lat. 62° 32' S, Long. 59° 47' W
Morning Temp.: 2șC
Winds: 2 knots W Evening Temp.: 5șC
Winds: 22 knots NE
We entered Deception Island right after breakfast.
The navigation through the Neptune's Bellows was breathtaking. The Captain led the Ushuaia close to the cliffs in order to avoid the shallow waters. Deception Island is horse-shoe shaped and is 8 nautical miles in diameter, enclosing a large harbour called Port Foster. This bay, inside the Deception Volcano's caldera, is a landlocked basin 5 nautical miles long and 3.5 nautical miles wide. Deception is the largest of the three recent volcanic centers in the South Shetlands. The other two being Penguin and Bridgeman Islands.
The rim has an average elevation of 300 meters. It is dominated by glaciers and ash-covered ice that reaches the sea at many places along the coast and on the east side of Port Foster. Our morning landing took place at Whalers Bay. The French explorer, Jean-Baptiste Charcot, named the bay because of its heavy use by whalers at the turn of the 20th century. This landing site bears many remains from the early whaling period such as water boats and wooden barrels. Besides, there are the remains of the Norwegian Hektor whaling station, which opened in 1911 and worked till 1931. We could walk around getting a close view of the facilities: boilers, tanks, houses and even a cemetery. Other buildings belonged to the British Tabarin Operation (1944-1945) and to the British scientific station (1945-1969). These facilities were abandoned in the summer of 1969 when an eruption produced a mudflow that destroyed most of this station.
We walked for about 20 minutes to reach Neptune's Window that offered a beautiful view point of the Continent also. Whilst I came back to the ship, few of fellow travelers jumped in their swim suits and enjoyed a hot bath on the shores. The tide brought in chilly waters but sent out water that was warmed by the beach soil.
In the afternoon we landed at Yankee Harbor - our last landing of the trip. This small harbor on the SW side of Greenwich Island is entered between Glacier Bluff and Spit Point. The harbor was well known to American and British sealers as early as 1820. The harbor is enclosed by a curved bay-mouth bar made up of coarse gravel and cobbles. The entry to the harbor around the end of this bar is very narrow. Well-developed, raised-beach terraces are located at about 3 to 10 meters above the currently active beach. The location provide territories for nesting Gentoo penguins, Elephant, Weddell & Crabeater seals.
It was all over. We soon would have to cross the Drake!
Only about 0.4% of the surface of Antarctica is free of snow and ice. The tops of mountain chains stick up through the ice - the highest is Mount Vinson, 4,900 m above sea level. Whereas Antarctica is an ice-covered continent surrounded by ocean, the Arctic is an ocean covered by thick sea ice and surrounded by the northern continents. Poles apart indeed!
Whalers Bay Image Gallery Photo viewer
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