Donut shaped Deception Island was my second favorite landing of our expedition. Here we could explore and roam through vast areas. I enjoyed interacting with the environment as I imagined what it would have been like on the island during the volcano eruption in 1967 and 1969 or during the early 1900’s when the whaling industry almost drove whales to complete extinction.
Upon landing at Whaler’s Bay, we were greeted by millions of dead krill. Nearby abandoned silos which once held tons of whale oil and disintegrating buildings were reminders of how Antarctica had been exploited for nearly 30 years.
The seals guarding Whaler’s Bay were clearly more aggressive than in other parts of Antarctica. They stood at attention as we walked by and often charged towards us if we were the strayed too close.
The afternoon landing at Telefon Bay provided an opportunity to hike through the mountains of Deception Island before returning to the ship for the traditional departure ceremony. The ringing of three bells is meant to thank the captain and crew as well as ring in a calm return through Drake Passage.
Deception Island is one of those places where you wish you could go back in time, smack the whalers on the side of their heads, and ask them “Don’t you know the harm you are doing? Don’t you understand the ramifications of your actions?” Fortunately many whale populations have rebounded and are now stable, but six of the thirteen “great whale” species are still considered endangered or vulnerable. What will the world look like if we continue our current path of consumption without balance?