Safe Arrival in Deception Island
Position: 62:58.916S 060.34.016W
Whaler’s Bay, Deception Island
Date/Time : 5 January 2012 0715
0715 this morning, Mina2 and her crew fulfilled a dream as the anchor was
lowered and dug into the terra firma of Antarctica. We have arrived, on my part
the culmination of many years dreaming and three and a half years of planning.
We entered the caldera of Deception Island through the narrow channel called
Neptune’s Bellows, so named because of the fierce winds that can funnel through
it, in a blizzard of snow with chinstrap penguins porpoising through the water
escorting us in. We have anchored in Whaler’s Bay with the remains of the old
whaling station slowly dilapidating along the shore. All around the shore line,
steam rises and drifts to leeward from the geothermal pools of this still active
volcano, and in which increasingly few of us are determined to swim in later in
the day. Down below, it is snug compared with being on deck, but even so we are
all in five layers of thermal clothing and steam comes out of our noses and
mouths when we breathe. This is Antarctica after all.
boat was tidied up after our passage of four days across the Drake before the
celebratory bottle of champagne was produced from a locker (more chilled than if
it came out of any fridge), the cork popped and the team photos taken. Able
Seadog Snoopy declined a taste of champagne on the grounds that the last time he
was given alcohol he had needles stuck in him.
plan to stay in Deception just for the day and then head 100 miles further south
to Enterprise Island, so there is a lot to do today. We have not had the dinghy
on the davits (the crane at the back of the boat) as normal, but it has been
deflated, turned upside down and strapped to the foredeck. So that has to be
re-commissioned for shore parties to go for swims in the thermals, and walks
ashore to visit the old whaling station and say hello to the lone elephant seal
we can see snoozing on the shore.
first, a little sleep as most of us have been awake much of the