Monday, 26 November 2012

Is it, was it a Deception?

It was bit of a surprise when we woke up this morning to grey skies and strong winds. Is this what Antarctica is really like? Were the past few days just a dream or just the Antarctic deceiving us?

We arrived as planned at Deception Island the active volcano on the western end of the South Shetland Islands. We went through the incredible narrow entrance to caldera ‘Neptunes Bellows’ which can give way to the calm protected waters of Whalers bay. This morning this was not the case, the Captain tried to anchor but the conditions did not allow the anchor to hold. So plan B – a MV Fram cruise around the Caldera taking in the sights whilst our Geologist gave us information about this unique environment.

The Captain navigated us back out of the caldera and we head for the more protected waters of Walker Bay on Livingston Island a few hours away. Conditions were slightly better and we anchored just over a mile away from the beach. The wind and swell made for a very different Antarctic experience than our previous landings.

Listen to the announcements and take note of what you are told the Expedition team keep on telling us. Karnail our guest from Hurtigruten based in London tested the teams advice by deciding his camera would be in a better position around his neck than tucked away safely in a waterproof bag. As predicted the ‘wet’ ride to Walker bay was wet and Karnail no longer has a working camera, (he was not the only one) but he has fantastic memories and valuable hands on experience of the workings on MV Fram. He won’t do it again!

The groups of Elephant seals resting on the beach were addictive watching – with the grunts, noises – belching, snorting, constant fighting, scratching and shuffling. From the bay we could see the green moss banks at Hannah point – Is this really Antarctica?

A memorable final landing and day with Antarctica showing us a very different face! What will the Drake bring? Lake we hope……watch this space.