Finally - Antarctica
Trip Start Dec 21, 2012
29Trip End Jan 19, 2013
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It was snowing lightly, but about 6 degrees, not as cold as it seems at home sometimes. I actually didn't wear a full complement of cold weather gear as I started melting before I got off the boat. Zodiacs ferried us to the shore where we faced a 'wet landing', that is we waded ashore
We actually weren't the only boat in the harbour this morning. The international inspectors had sprung a surprise visit on our expedition, and came ashore a little time after we did to see how we were being managed and interrogate the team. The boat was crewed by the British Navy, and this caused a lot of hearts to flutter amongst the female expedition crew when they came on shore.
Ferried back to the ship where we swiped back on board and went through the cleaning procedures before heading off to our cabins and eventually to lunch. While we were having lunch, the boat set sail for our afternoon destination - Whalers Bay on Deception Island.
After lunch we suited up again, queued up for the zodiacs, and went ashore on Deception Island. It's actually a caldera, the centre of a volcano cone, and in this case it's still active. The last eruption was in the 1960s
So there were lots of remanants of tanks, boats and buildings from the station to see, as well as colonies of Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins. Being an active volcano, there is lots gases that could be mistaken for fog or cloud, but when you are in them they smell of sulphur. The water near the escape holes is actually warm, but it doesn't last long.
Almost as soon as we got ashore the fog and cloud drifted in, and the view of the main Antarctic peninsular that we were hoping to see from the top of the hill wasn't visible. Had a couple of hours wandering around, looking at the wildlife and remains of the station before going back on board for a debrief and dinner. Whilst trying to get to the debrief, our door stuck in the locked postion, and the ship's carpenter had to come through a vent in the door to use a crowbar and rescue us.