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Antarctica 🇦🇶 Expedition - Part I of IV

December 24 (Day 1):

After crossing outrageous Drake Passage for two days, we woke up in South Shetland Island, Antarctic Peninsula. I stepped out to our suite balcony, it was silent and cold outside. But inside of me, I was hyper and warm. Like shooting stars, so many things going through my mind. After all of our efforts, dream and passion, finally we arrived. Is this a fairyland, perhaps? Extraordinary to comprehend, but I knew I was there. Weather didn’t favor us, we stayed onboard SilverSea that morning.

In the afternoon, we made our first landing in Deception Island. It’s a ring island, active sinking volcano, mouth filled with sea water and less than half a mile narrow channel to enter. Slowly but surely ship entered into the basin of volcano. On a zodiac, when we came onshore, there was almost no ice or snow around. Doesn’t look like Antarctica, steam and gas coming off from black dark volcanic beach. There are some abandoned manmade structures, large storage tanks sinking in the ground. It felt like another planet where explorer came, but didn’t survive for long. Actual story of Deception Island is exactly like that.

It used to be whaling base, those large sinking tanks used to hold thousands of barrels oil produced from whales. It was a perfect place for human to build shelter, this place has active geothermal, warmer than any other place nearby. It was a British whaling base until 1970 when volcano erupted. You wonder, where on the planet British didn’t go to cultivate wealth and resources. In my opinion, the word ‘Greed’ should be used in the dictionary next to British.

It was an extraordinary excursion on land, especially first step on land here in Antarctic region.

December 24 (Day 2):

Good morning and Merry Christmas. We are going to explore Mikkelsen Harbor this morning. It’s a gorgeous land of Gentoo penguins. We were told unusual weather added snow in the area wouldn’t favor penguins to hatch their eggs. This is their hatching season, and they need dry rocky land to incubate. Our expedition team leader, Danny noted most wouldn’t make it this year. This may make one to feel sad, but trust me, they are in millions in the continent. Entire continent is ruled by them. If they miss a season, they may just get hornier next year. I don’t know, just saying.

In the past, Mikkelsen Harbor was also home to whalers. In the beginning, ships were small, later they brought large factory ships to process every pieces of whales. Tomorrow we will visit a place to see sunken whale factory shipwreck. From mid-1800 to early 1900, slaughtering whales all around the globe brought them close to extinction. Is this a shame? I don’t know. Ask British, I suppose they have half of the answers.

Our afternoon was at Cierva Cove. We didn’t make landing, rather cruising on Zodiac. It was a place filled with icebergs, beyond measuring landscape. And of course, where can you go to hide from penguins? Few times I tried to take photos of Zodiac with ice landscape behind, just to add a scale and put in perspective of utter beauty and size. I got parts and pieces, not a single complete view using camera lenses. And this is where our eyes and mind work together like hardware-software to embed something deep inside. There are reasons why we have five senses. Time like this, they need to come together for once, and never again as they appeared in this magical place.


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