64:32.4S 61:59.9W. 30th December 2012 - Enterprise Bay
After we arrived in Deception Island and settled in at Telefon Bay in the north of the crater, we set about to de-Drake the yacht and start having a look about. After a short work around the local area we went to the beach (rocks and pebbles in Antarctica, no sand) and had a few beers to celebrate our arrival. Needless to say that went on to the wee hours of the morning ;).
Over the next few days we went on some huge walks to see the island which involved having a close look, but not entering (as need prior permission) the local Argentinian research base and the many penguin rookeries. For Christmas Eve we had a great dinner but it was Christmas day that was an event. Up at a leisurely time, compared to when we were kids of course, we unwrapped our ‘Secret Santa’ presents which was a laugh and then moved the yacht to Pendulum Cove for the day’s events. It’s an amazing place Deception Island, and what makes it more interesting is that is a volcano that, though not active since the 70’s (though still is considered at risk of eruption….), does have thermal activity in many places which includes hot springs. This is of the case with Pendulum Cove where the water’s edge actually steams and if you dig down a little on the beach you can get to hot water. So…. for Christmas Day we dug a hole big enough for 5 just above the water line and had ourselves a quick swim in the sea (yes… it was bloody cold) and then had ourselves a four hour hot spring jacuzzi with beers and snacks courtesy of good old mother nature. A real shame we cannot supply a photo now but when we do it will speak volumes. Needless to say we had a fantastic day and loving our trip so far!! ;)
For Boxing Day we moved to Whaler’s Bay, still in Deception Island, and had a look at the abandoned whaling and later research station that was damaged in an eruption and mud slides in the 60’s. After a good look around we moved to Baily Head and had a few hours at one of Antarctica’s largest ‘Chin Strap Penguin’ colony where thousands upon thousands of them occupied the beach and surrounding hills. Once again the eventual photos will show the never ending penguin highway where the little fellas waddle from the water to their nests, some being over a mile away all up hill. That evening we sailed to explore the Peninsular to the south.
The following evening (28th December) we moored at Enterprise Island next to a shipwrecked whaling vessel from 1916. On the way we encountered two humpback whales feeding around some small ice burgs. We went and had a closer look and as we thought they were heading off, they came over and literally circled the yacht for a good half hour having a good look at us as well as giving us a good show, rolling about showing off and seemingly enjoying it as much as we did. A magic moment and as good example as any how gentle, inquisitive and intelligent these giants really are.
We stayed alongside the wreck the following day and had a relatively quiet day but we still managed to get ashore on the snow and ice, and explore icebergs in the bay in the dinghy. We also had to move around to the other side of the wreck at one point due to a small iceberg (as long as the yacht and only a few ton….) drifting down on us with the tide. Thankfully that was not in the middle of the night.
We departed Enterprise Island this morning (30th) for Port Lockroy and due to arrive this evening and probably stay there over the New Year. Some amazing scenery en route but more about that next time..
Happy New Year to all,
Matt, Rohan, Tina, Nigel and Kate