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Deception Island

ANTARCTICA | Monday, 3 December 2012 | Views [1911]

King George Bay

King George Bay

Timing was critical in boarding the Zodiacs yesterday as they bounced unpredictably on the heavy swells and a misstep would result in an icy bath.  Salt spray mixed with snow as we motored along the shoreline glaciers, threading our way among blue icebergs on King George Bay. 

Two cold and wet hours on a rough sea with the Israelis was all we could handle and we were very happy to make the daredevil transfer back to the Vavilov for lunch.  The captain found a more sheltered spot for our afternoon landing on an ice-strewn, rocky beach.  Our goal, nesting light-mantled sooty albatrosses and a colony of Adelie penguins was up a snow-covered hill nearly a kilometer from the landing site, slippery but worth the effort.  Adelies are inquisitive and they took our invading force in stride.  When we were finished photographing, Connie and I glissaded down the slope to the beach where Weddell seals lounged on the stones while a white-morph sooty albatross patrolled overhead.

The sea was as smooth as glass last night and the thought of staying in bed was very tempting.  A six o’clock Zodiac ride to a monochrome whaling station wasn’t much of an enticement to brave the early morning chill.  But I manned up and went.  Alone.  Connie, after all, has more common sense.

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     Chinstrap and Gentoo greeting party

Deception Island is actually a volcanic caldera reached through a break in the crater wall, Neptune’s Bellows.  Two gentoo penguins stood sentry on the beach guarding the abandoned whaling station.  Most everyone seemed to be forcing photo ops, looking for interesting angles for non-interesting subjects around the whaling station.  I, too, took many shots that will ultimately be deleted or forgotten among more interesting photos before catching the first Zodiac back for a hot shower.  Three more of my photos were selected at the “photo club” meeting this afternoon, proving that it takes more than an expensive lens to make a photographer.

 

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