Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Antarctic Trip: Sadly, The Last Day of Antarctica Excursions, December 13, 2016

On our last day of fun in Antarctica we first went to Spert Island.  Information on the ship's daily program said, "Spert Island is located off the west coast of Trinity Island in the Palmer Archipelago. The area was known to nineteenth century sealers and was chartered by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition in 1902. It is known for its canyon like waterways and large collections of grounded icebergs."

The water was quite rough, but the sun was shining and the rocky islands were nothing like anything we'd yet seen here. We cruised via zodiac through rocky arches and around icebergs.

Two chinstrap penguins

A Lone Adele Penguin
The afternoon found us at Whaler's Bay, Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands. In 1911 a Norwegian group established a whaling station that operated until there was a slump in whale oil prices in 1931. In 1944, British Base B was established by the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy departed and the base became a scientific research station. In December 1967 the base was evacuated because of a volcanic eruption. A couple of years later there was another volcanic eruption that caused a mud flow that dramatically changed the landscape destroying many of the buildings and covering over the whalers' graveyard. The drowned volcanic crater that makes up the landlocked harbor is ringed by Deception Island. The expedition leader told us that the volcano is still active and the safety instructions in case of another eruption are: "rescue shore inhabitants, if possible." What remains is classified as an historic site.

Whale bones

The gap in the background is called Neptune's Window

Panorama of Whaler's Bay
Tonight we continue on to King George Island in the Shetland Islands. There is some worry by the captain and expedition leader that because of impending fog we will either need to fly out just past midnight or we will be stuck for several days waiting for the fog to clear. The planes that are to pick us up must fly in from Punta Arenas, Chile. If the visibility is bad, they won't come.

Sunrise: 02:31
Sunset: 22:59

Particulars: This expedition was with Quark Expeditions. I highly recommend them and look forward to another adventure with Quark somewhere soon.

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