Antarctic Fox
The log of Rachel and Kevin Fox's trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in the Summer of 2008-9
Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon
January 4 - Whaler's Bay, Deception Island, South Shetland Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula

Our next stop was Deception Island, one of the South Shetland Islands. Its name says it all. Unless you know where the entrance to the interior bay is, it's easy to miss it and think the island is just high cliffs all the way around. In reality it is a sleeping volcano which occasionally wakes with devastating results. But if you know to look you can enter the inner bays through a passage called Neptune's Bellows. Inside the island the waters are warmed by the sleeping volcano, sometimes to boiling temperatures, but in the right spots you can wade happily in the hot and steaming waters.

In 1906 a Norwegian-Chilean whaling company set up a whaling station in the small bay just past Neptune's Bellows. This bay became known as Whaler's Bay. During the Great Depression however the whaling base was abandoned due the drop in oil demand and oil prices, increased oil drilling, new advancements in processing factories and other factors. Since it wasn't cost effective to bring supplies back to the mainland, most of the hardware, the boilers, and even the wooden dinghies were left behind.

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In 1944 a British research base was setup in Whaler's Bay. The station was manned until 1967 when volcanic activity required them to leave. They tried again to use the base in 1968-69 but were again driven away by the volcano, this time for good. The mudslide from 1969 volcanic activity destroyed and buried many of the structures built in Whaler's Bay, which added to our exploration.

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The experience of walking around Whaler's Bay in Deception Island was surreal. Like Base W it had a desolate, blast from the past kind of feel, but this was still different. The whole place had been altered by mother nature. The volcanic silt and mud gave the area the feeling of being on another planet that had long been abandoned. In Antarctica we already felt removed from civilization, but here it was almost creepy, like nature had said, repeatedly and with increasing force "No civilization here!". It was a creepy beautiful though. I really can't put into words the feeling of being here. If you get a chance to go here, land with as few people as possible. The feeling of lonely surreality is not to be missed!

Read the next chapter: Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz


Table of Contents:

Introduction: Telling the Story posted Jan 10, 2009

Day 0: Positioning posted Jan 12, 2009

Leaving, on a jet plane posted Jan 12, 2009

Day 1: The Herc posted Jan 15, 2009

Day 1: Penguino posted Jan 16, 2009

Day 2: Chicken posted Jan 17, 2009

Day 2: Leopard posted Jan 19, 2009

Day 2: Snow Day posted Jan 22, 2009

Day 2: Shipwreck posted Jan 26, 2009

Day 2: Totally Tabular posted Jan 27, 2009

Day 3: Gentoo Cute posted Jan 29, 2009

Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier posted Feb 3, 2009

Day 3: Palmer Station Visit posted Feb 9, 2009

Day 4: Icy Penguins posted Feb 11, 2009

Day 4: Adelie Awesome posted Feb 15, 2009

Day 4: Leopard Seal Attack posted Feb 17, 2009

Day 4: Kayak posted Feb 19, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Station Visit posted Feb 23, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Sunset posted Feb 25, 2009

Day 5: Antarctic Circle posted Feb 27, 2009

Day 5: Polar Plunge posted Mar 5, 2009

Day 5: Mouth of The Gullet posted Mar 13, 2009

Day 5: Ice Camping posted Mar 18, 2009

Day 6: Flamingos on Ice posted Mar 20, 2009

Day 6: Mountain Climbing posted Mar 24, 2009

Day 6: Ice Textures posted Mar 26, 2009

Day 6: Antarctic New Years posted Apr 2, 2009

Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker posted Apr 9, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1 posted Apr 17, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 2 posted Apr 21, 2009

Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands posted Apr 23, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 1 posted May 5, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 2 posted May 11, 2009

Day 9: Port Lockroy - Base A posted May 20, 2009

Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins! posted May 21, 2009

Day 9: Antarctic Humpback Whales posted June 3, 2009

Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding posted June 11, 2009

Day 10: Birthday Whales posted June 23, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 1: The Birds posted July 15, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 2: Elephant Seals posted July 22, 2009

» Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon posted Dec 11, 2009

Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz posted Dec 15, 2009

Day 11: Emperor Penguins posted Jan 8, 2010

Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over posted Aug 4, 2011

More chapters posted every few days...



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