27th March: Antarctica (Deception Island)

Above, a battleship or aircraft carrier made of ice. It is 10am and we are just leaving the Gerlache Strait.

Today we spent all day sailing from near Vernadsky Station to near Arctowski Station on King George Island.

By the late afternoon we were sailing past Deception Island, the remains of a huge volcano. Here we are off to the south, about 4 kilometres from land.

Click on the image above for a much larger view that you can zoom in and out of and zot around in. It opens in a new screen. First click the bottom right button for full screen. Then use the mouse wheel or the [+] and [-] buttons to zoom and drag with the mouse. These instructions also apply to the five images below that expand to much larger sizes (where indicated). It usually looks better if you don’t zoom quite all the way in.

Following images are also of Deception Island, over a period of about an hour and a half.

Above, a small island off the coast. Click for a much larger view.

I was greatly struck by the moody monochrome landscape as we passed by in somewhat gloomy weather. It was mid-autumn so the snow had been melting all summer. In other seasons, the land may have been entirely covered in snow, obscuring the remarkable black and white patterns.

All these images are in colour and in many cases, only the colour of the sea betrays that.

Subtle and dramatic patterns in abundance.

A sizeable moulded iceberg, starkly differentiated by its colour from the monochrome landscape in the background.

Deception appears at first as a solid substantial island but is the remains of a huge volcano with a massive caldera at its heart. At just one place there is an entrance and this is it, known as Neptune’s Bellows. Inside there is the remains of an old Norwegian whaling station and at one part of the inside shore, the volcanic activity makes it possible to swim in the otherwise frigid Antarctic waters.

Unfortunately, the water at the entrance was too turbulent and there was an iceberg lurking just beyond the mouth so we were unable to go in. That grey shape behind the entrance is the iceberg.

This is just past the entrance. I was intrigued by the sheer rugged cliff and the smooth concave shape, perhaps a natural amphitheatre, beside it.

Is it a photograph of Deception Island or a Japanese landscape print from the eighteenth century? (Click for much larger image).

Deception Island, west coast (click to explore much larger image).

A Southern Right Whale, going down. Very different tail shape to the humpbacks at Vernadskys. They were called right whales because the were the “right” whales to hunt, since they floated after being harpooned and killed. Once they were incredibly numerous, now sightings are rare.

Snow, ice, islands and water.

Panorama of the western coast of Deception Island. Click to explore much larger view.

Turbulent waters in a wild Antarctic seascape.

A vagrant iceberg in a sculptured seascape.

A final glimpse. A last panorama from Deception Island. Click image to explore much larger view.

3 comments on “27th March: Antarctica (Deception Island)

  1. […] 27th March:  Antarctica (Deception Island) […]

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