Whalers Bay - Neptune Window

Trip Start Dec 07, 2010
Trip End Jan 14, 2011

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MS Expedition

Flag of Antarctica  ,
Friday, January 7, 2011

Julio awoke us at 5 am to advise us that at 5.30 am we would be entering Neptune's Bellow at Port Foster at Deception Island. With another ship due in this bay at 9 am our shore landing at Whaler's Bay had to be complete by 8.45 am so I was in the first zodiac at 6 am to land. Soon we were all ashore and walked along the shoreline towards Neptune's Window passing the old water boats and remains of the water barrels.

I had to decide whether to go for a swim or wander over to the old ruins. Norwegian Hektor whaling station (1912 - 1931) remains render boilers, large tanks for whale oil and buildings. The British also used it as British Base B 1944 till 1969 when it was destroyed by a mud flow. They built the aircraft hanger.

It was cold with 20 knots wind but many did brave the elements and had a super quick dip. Naturally I was fascinated by the many photographic opportunities wandering around but not in the old ruins and was on the last zodiac back to the ship by 8.30 am.


Daily Programme

Whalers Bay & Telefon Bay, Deception Island

Half Moon Island

Sunrise: 03:17 Sunset: 22:58

Please stop by reception and fill out the form for your Continental Landing and Swimming Certificates.

Deception Island rises 500m from the seabed and has a submerged basal diameter of 25km. It was formed by a big collapse, due to an eruption of an unknown age. At least 85% of this island was formed by volcanism prior to the collapse. These older deposits are mainly composed of yellow tuff. The only sea access into and out of the caldera is through a narrow space called Neptune’s Bellows.


05:30 Expedition will be entering Neptune’s Bellows. Please be on deck for this scenic experience.

06:00 Landing: We will visit Whalers Bay. Please remember this will be an opportunity to go swimming. We will provide towels. The disembarkation order will be, Scott, Amundsen, and Ross. Shackleton.

14:00 Landing: We will land at Telefon Bay. The disembarkation order will be Scott, Amundsen, Ross, Shackleton.

18:30 Recap and Briefing: Please join the Expedition Staff in the Discovery Lounge for a recap of the day’s events and an overview of tomorrow’s itinerary.

21:15 Antarctic Quiz: Please join Osi in the Discovery Lounge to compete against your fellow passengers and see who learned the most during our trip.

`This Island of Deception as far as regards description may be summed up in very few words. It is a place of strange contrarieties, it is agreeable, it is disagreeable, it's scenery is beautiful in one sense and horribly ugly in another. It is cold, it is hot, it is different from any other part of the world and yet in many aspects much the same. In short, it is volcanic: perhaps as our men were heard to say it is the last place that nature made`.

- Private journal of Midshipman, Joseph Hanry Kay, HMS Chanticleer


Expedition Log

by Scott MacPhail & Osi Shahaf

Friday, 7th January 2011

"Ice is the beginning of Antarctica and ice is its end. As one moves from perimeter to interior, the proportion of ice relentlessly increases. Ice creates more ice, and ice defines ice."

Stephen Pyne

Our last day of landings and then on to the Drake Passage. A 5 o’clock wakeup call from Julio bought us to our morning excursion at Deception Island where we sailed into the caldera of Deception Island to the body of water named Port Foster. The narrow entrance is called Neptune’s Bellows, as strong winds frequently blow through it. The Bellows is less than 500 meters wide and has several obstructions, e.g. a submarine rock pinnacle and a wreck which necessitates precise navigation!

After our Captain expertly manoeuvered through Neptune’s Bellows, we anchored at Whalers Bay. There our zodiacs took us ashore, in windy conditions, where we were greeted by a few startled Chinstrap penguins. We walked among the old buildings of the whaling era and the British surveying years. The old water boats, the buildings and airplane hangar, although run down were interesting sites of what went on during the history of this place. Another popular walk was over to Neptune’s Window to look out over the Bransfield Strait and try to see the continent proper as the American sealer Nathaniel Palmer did in 1820. It was a sharp contrast to see the old rundown buildings after our time in the snow covered peninsula. The 30-40 swimmers that braved the elements (there was a "slight" wind) deserve a round of applause for their bravery in such conditions. It was so nice to get back on the ship and grab a cup of hot chocolate that the hotel staff had waiting for us in the mud room. Needless to say, the sauna was packed when the swimmers made it back to the ship.

In 1910, a lease for 21 years was granted to a Norwegian whaling company, and they opened Mekla whaling station in Whalers Bay. This station operated until 1931 and then was abandoned. The 1967 and 1969 eruptions partially destroyed and buried its buildings, the jetty, and the cemetery was carried away. In 1928, the first flight over Antarctica was flown by Sir Hubert Wilkens in a Vega Monoplane. This was financed by Randolph Hearst.
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