Safe Arrival in Deception Island

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Thu 5 Jan 2012 11:51

Safe Arrival in Deception Island

Position: 62:58.916S 060.34.016W

Whaler’s Bay, Deception Island

Date/Time : 5 January 2012 0715


At 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.


The 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.


We 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.


But first, a little sleep as most of us have been awake much of the night.