Day Four of Brendan’s Antarctic Explorer trip took him to the stunning sunken caldera that is Deception Island. Here's his impressions...
Dreary low hanging clouds welcomed us to Deception Island and seemed to properly portray the island’s mood. Unlike the rest of Antarctica, Deception Island has a certain depressive feel to it. Like a scene from a dramatic movie, old ruined houses, remains of whaling stations, and even a couple of graves dot the shores. Wrecked boats sit hopelessly scattered on the beach looking out at a sea that they once knew and loved. Two graves lay on the middle of the island, deepening the sense of doom that is etched out on the island’s shore. The rest of the Shetland Islands radiate with life; Deception Island reeks instead of history.
On this interesting island, white glacial ice is sprinkled with dust and dirt as it backdrops a scene more closely related to that of a horror movie. Dilapidated buildings draw reference to a raw and harsh world that once existed here on this island. Even the animals that live here seem to sense the raw character of this former whaling base as the primitive cry for live calls out from the bird life that fights along the shores.
The squawk of large skuas fighting over bits of meals scratches the ear drums like sharp nails grinding a dull green chalkboard. Subtle waves drift on to shore, seemingly trying to escape the cold waters of the sea, before being pulled back in. A cool wind drifts its hallowing echo as it races along the rocks of the beach and willows within the ear.
Each sense is exposed to the sensation of this island that begs to be explored. The scent of sulphur from the active geothermal soil spoils the nostrils like a poorly cooked morning breakfast. Pungent salt water drifts through the air in the form of mist and speckles the cheeks of visitors with an awakening freshness. The desolation of this place is beautiful. It oozes with a character beckoning the creative mind to wander through the stories that must have played out along this shore. If this island could talk, it would have spoken in the voice of an old war veteran casting stories too dramatic to be truly understood.
Despite the desolate, almost depressing feel of Deception Island, there is a true rawness that begs to be explored. As we climb to the highest point on the island our eyes drift to a land of snow, ice, and mystery. The mainland of Antarctica teases our curiosity, as it begs us to visit, and soon we will.
*** Keep up with all of Brendan's Adventures in Antarctica. On day three he had find landing amongst wildlife in the South Shetland Islands. Coming up next on Brendan’s Adventures is a fun video called “How to Swim in Antarctica,” Also look for the article on finally landing on the "seventh continent".