Antarctica Adventure - 2002

D ECEPTION I SLAND

Day 8 Deception Island is the remains of an old volcano caldera which was used as a whaling station in the heyday of that bloody enterprise. The island is part of the South Shetlands. The day began a little better than any we’ve had recently in that there was some partial sunshine. The morning was wet and wonderful with sunlight glinting on the raindrops and all the wet surfaces of rock, ship, rubber raft, parkas, and sunglasses.

Bailey’s Head was the beach we aimed for in our first Zodiac expedition today.

B AILEY ' S H EAD B EACH The beach is guarded and protected by a huge rock monolith which helps keep the seas from being quite so tumultuous. When we landed, we thought we were on a black sand beach typical of volcanic islands; however, we were quickly told that we were actually walking on a glacier covered with volcanic ash and pumice stones. Even we were so informed, we could not really tell that it was so. Chinstrap penguins were in residence here. These cheerful little fellows are 27 inches high and weigh only 9 pounds. This rookery as the largest we’ve yet seen with between 60,000 and l00,000 breeding pairs. They are spread all over the beach and up the caldera walls as high as we can see.

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