Wednesday, February 10, 2010
DECEPTION ISLAND – COULD ERUPT AT ANY TIME.
We awoke about 6am Antarctic time (two hours later than the East Coast) to observe Deception Island. It’s at South 63 degrees and .894 minutes latitude, and West 60 degrees, 17.56 minutes longitude.
It’s the kind of harbor you’d expect pirates of old to use. It’s shaped like a donut that the gods took a bite of so you could sail or be seized in the open area surrounded by the island.
It’s dark, the landscape is dark brown, adjacent to the ice cliffs, and seascape has resumed its neutral shades.
The cold persists, as you’d expect, but it seems more piercing. Other upper deck rail grabbers said the same about the cold in between taking underexposed photos. So maybe it’s not just me.
The sun is trying to burn through an overcast sky. It’s a dull circle of grayish white. But it all fits the venue.
This island is volcanic residue that may erupt again. It sits atop a caldera, a collapsed volcano. It last erupted in 1969 destroying the research facilities on the island. I’m told the volcanic activity heats the water and allows for swimming. But we’re passing up the opportunity for a hypothermic swim.
Of course, there are other things swimming in the waters nearby. We sighted the fluke of a humpback cow whale with her calf, at the sterm starboard. Then we saw another whale, a killer, an Orca, but only the fluke. Holly said, “Real whales eat krill.”
There were large bergs by this dark island, we’re told more than usual, and probably because of the high winds. I These may have been the largest we’ve seen.