Tuesday, January 1, 2008: Day 8
Antarctica - 12:12 pm EST
Posted by Geoff Green, Expedition Leader
It’s the first day of 2008. Happy New Year!!!
What a last 24 hours! And what and ending to 2007!! I’ll let the journals from the students tell the story...
This morning we arrived to Deception Island and entered the volcanic caldera through Neptune’s Bellows just before breakfast. We then proceeded to Whaler’s Bay, where high winds prevented us from going ashore at the old whaling station located here. We waited a few hours and then by 11:00am the winds dropped and we were able to land. It was a great morning of hiking and learning about the history of Deception Island and the whaling days. Since this is still an active volcano many of the students took the Polar Plunge into the freezing cold ocean and then warmed up in the geothermally heated waters along the beach!
We are now sailing south towards the Gerlache Strait. Lectures and workshops, journal writing and some time to rest will fill our afternoon. This evening Mikhail Tyurin, our Russian Cosmonaut, is going to share stories and photos of his time in space, including the 7 months he spent living at the International Space Station last year!
Happy New Year to all!!!
Expedition Leader & Executive Director
Students on Ice
Posted by David Brock, Education Team Member
Happy Birthday from Antarctica Mom!! You would be impressed by the remarkable Education Staff we have aboard. It has been an honour to rejoin the legendary glaciologist Dr. Roy ‘Fritz’ Koerner on another Students on Ice expedition. It was fifty years ago this week that Fritz first journeyed south from the United Kingdom to conduct research for this Ph.D. dissertation as part of the International Geophysical Year. Yesterday I had the honour of accompanying Fritz to the old British research station above the current Argentine base of Esperanza, where he spent 2 ½ years with a team of dogs. Into his late 70s, he still manages to outpace most of the students and staff on land or snow. He is a source of tremendous inspiration. His scientific accomplishments, intellectual and physical longevity, and measured perspective are all qualities I hope to someday emulate. Everyday we have been celebrating our good fortune in this remarkable region; and today I am celebrating your birthday.
Posted by Lori Bostick, Chaperone
Happy New Year 2008!
I set sail for a shore many never see,
This is the one that set me free!
New Year’s Day morning was a spectacular morning waking up to the entrance of Deception Island! (This was so very different than what I was doing last New Year’s Day!) We hurried to the bridge and we watched the captain carefully steer the ship through the narrow passage into Neptune Bellows. It is still an active volcano that erupts about every 20 years! We could see through the rain and wind the steam coming from the edges of the water. After breakfast we had to wait for the winds to die down, but finally boarded the zodiacs for our next landing. I began to think how we seemed like pros now with the zodiacs!
My zodiac was the first to land at the old whaling station. I was excited to learn and finally see the station that was used in the early 1900s. The rusted oil tanks, the dilapidated wooden boats, an abandoned airplane hanger, and several derelict houses still stand along the shore. The question that was posed to us: what shall be done with all of these old worn down relics? This is presently a debate for the Antarctic Treaty Committee. Then most took the plunge and became members of the Antarctic Swim Team, dipping from the hot pools of water just dug then into the cold water of the bay! Due to the poor weather conditions this evening, there was only have one landing today.
This evening we will have the privilege of having a presentation by a Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, who just returned from the Russian space station after 7 months. I sat with him at breakfast yesterday morning, and found his story very interesting!
Danco Island and Neko Island are our stops tomorrow which are on the western side of the peninsula. Miss you all!!!!
Posted by Ale Cueva, student
I WENT SWIMMING IN ANTARCTICA!
Wow I can’t believe that we went swimming in Antarctica! We entered Neptune’s Bellows at Deception Island at about 8am. It was so beautiful, we had to cross in between big walls of rock. Then we arrived at Whaler’s Bay at Deception Island but it was too windy so we stayed on the boat.
Deception Island is a volcanic island. I was so scared because the volcano could erupt at any time. The winds died down at about 11am and we decided to jump in the zodiacs and make our first landing of the year at Whaler’s Bay. When we arrived there were not as many penguins as in other islands but there were whale bones, wrecked ships, and mountains covered with ice. After a while we all got into our bathing suits and jumped into the water. It was so cold, but the staff had dug a hole in the beach and the water there was really hot because of the heat from the volcano. So we went to the sea, took a few pictures and then ran to the hot water and stayed there for a long while. It is an experience I will never forget!
At first I really didn’t want to go because I thought it would be really cold and something bad would happen to us. But then I remembered my dad and I know he would have said, “If they are telling you to do it and they do it as well, than do it”. And I also remembered my mum telling me to make the most of every opportunity. I am so glad I remembered this, because if I hadn’t, right now I would feel really bad. I love the ocean and I know not everyone has the opportunity to swim in Antarctica. I feel really lucky. I can’t wait to go back to Mexico and show everyone the pictures and tell them my stories.
P.S. – I miss you all!
Posted by Ines Murteira and Irina Boteta, students
Today is the first day of the New Year, which we hope will be great to everybody.
We started the day entering Deception Island, navigating straight into a volcano. We can see mountains everywhere, painted by the white snow and ice. We hope the wind slows down, so that we can make a landing.
In case it doesn’t happen, let’s talk about the expedition up until this moment.
We’re passionate about the Antarctic. All our expectations have been completely surpassed. Moments like seeing whales by sunset, the penguins passing in front of us, the first iceberg, the albatross flying over the ship, and the friends we’ve been making are absolutely impossible to describe. All the magic that is present on this land came to us through the colors, the cold, the wind against our faces, the wildlife, the smells, and all those Antarctic feelings.
We’ve understood this to be a place full of mystery, which we can discover if we adopt the right attitudes.
Thank you a lot for this opportunity.
We just want to say Humans are part of the planet Earth, and so, if we want, we can live in peace with the Nature, following its laws. That way we would find true happiness.
Posted by Noor Khalifa Bakhit Alfalasi, student
This morning we went to Whalers Bay, which is a volcanic island. It was beautiful! There were penguins there but not in large numbers as it is far away. We dug up under the sand on the shore and found hot water.
After walking around on the beach, we got a chance to swim in the cold sea. I myself only put my legs in the water; I didn’t want to catch a cold!
It was funny seeing everyone screaming in the water as it was freezing.
We went back afterwards to the ship and had our lunch. Workshops will start soon so I better get going.
Can’t wait for tomorrow!
Posted by Michal Rosenthal, student
I hope that all of you had a big jubilation, celebrating the non-Jewish holiday.
I had an amazing time last night. Everyone came with their improvised costumes (I was really colorful with blue long john bottoms and a red and white pyjama top), we had a name game, the chaperones drank champagne, and there was music, toasting, singing happy 16th birthday to Jack, and of course - the final countdown. I have never hugged so many people in such a short time. It was an ebullient night.
A few hours before that, at about 15:00, we were landing with our ingenious zodiacs at Esperanza Station, an Argentine research base, located in Hope Bay. It was fantastic. People live there during the whole year and penguins pose as pets (sufficient for every person there). The children that live there said that the winter was unbearable. They hosted us really nicely - they gave us weird dough and delicious hot chocolate. After spending an hour and a half in the base, the “orcas” were ready to leave with the zodiacs. The gusts were really strong and we were waiting on the deck for a long time, playing games in order to warm ourselves. The situation didn’t improve, and we went back inside. We played games and we didn’t relinquish any Esperanza! Some of the Mexican girls talked to the locals, I didn’t because of linguistic inaptitude (they didn’t speak English at all).
Finally, the ferocious winds calmed down slightly, and we were able to get back to the boat. During the way back we were drenched. Let me just remind you that the temperature of the ocean water is 2 degrees Celsius!
It was fun anyway, since we had waterproof clothes on (however, I could feel the water penetrating through my thermal pants). I was truly having the time of my life.
Today we entered Neptune’s Bellows at Deception Island. It is really windy; we are waiting to land down at Whaler’s Bay. In the afternoon we will possibly land at Bailey Head at Deception Island, and we are going to swim there! (The water temperature is a bit higher, because it is a geothermic area, next to an active volcano, which erupted in 1970.
I wish everyone a happy new year.
Posted by Roberta Maiz, student
“Swimming in Whalers Bay”
I can’t believe that I am still alive after getting in the cold water of Whalers Bay on Deception Island! Deception Island is a volcanic island that hasn’t erupted in approximately 20 years. The wind was blowing and at about twelve thirty we were all ready to go swimming. Everyone started taking their clothes off to get into the water. I couldn’t believe that I was actually doing this. Everyone started running rapidly into the freezing water. Some of the education team members, staff, and certain students had built a hole. If you dug a hole in the ground, there was hot water underneath, since it is a volcanic island. I ran into the cold water accompanied by my friends. It was freezing! After feeling the icy water we all ran to the hole with hot water, it was like a hot tub. I couldn’t even get out of there for my towel. After a while I succeeded and put all my clothes back on and left in the zodiac back to the boat.
It was a wonderful experience. Now I can tell everyone that I went swimming in Antarctica! I am very thankful for this experience, and it is a fabulous way to start 2008!
Posted by Felicia Vanacore, student
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
Well, last night was a lot of fun but before we get straight to that, you have to hear about my whole day yesterday!
There was an announcement to get ready to do our first landing and our first landing was on the actual continent of Antarctica. The island’s name was Brown Bluff and there were millions of PENGUINS! They are just so amazing and one of them came really close to me! There were even little baby ones and the way they swim is so adorable and kind of funny. When they tried to get out of the water it was hilarious because they kept falling back into the water because of all the ice. We even saw some nesting but it started to get really cold so then some of us started to go to the zodiacs. It was really hard to get in because there were a lot of waves and now I have a bruise on my leg because a wave crashed against me and there were huge pieces of ice in the water and it hit my leg really hard - but I’m okay. We came back to the ship to warm up and that’s when we all made some hot coco and hung out in the lounge, exchanged emails, filled out postcards, played cards and just had fun. A little over an hour later we had lunch, which was really good and I was actually able to eat. After that we had to go get ready because it was time to make our second landing.
We went to a base, which was also on the continent. It was called Esperanza, which had students and families that live there and the students go to school. We met the students, went on a little tour, and heard about the history there. Then we went into the station and when it was time to go we went outside, the wind was crazy and Geoff said it was too windy to take the zodiacs back so we went back to the station and had to wait. We were waiting for hours and hours but we played games and had fun. The winds had died down when we decided to get into the zodiacs but before that it was I believe around 50 knots. Well it was really hard and kind of scary because the wind was so strong it was actually pushing me to the point where I almost fell. Finally it was my turn to get in and everyone was scared because they said it was going to get very wet and we all had our cameras on us but I had mine in a plastic bag and thank goodness it didn’t get wet or messed up. My camera did freeze when we did our first landing but after we came back it warmed up. During the second landing I didn’t take that many pictures because it was too cold and windy. I did take some pictures though because there were even more penguins! On the zodiac I was lucky because only my back got soaked but not my face or anything else. By the time we got back it was already 9pm and we had gotten to the island at 3:30pm so we spent a lot of extra time there.
When we came back we did a roll call. We were all there nice and safe and getting ready to party. Our dinner was ready about an hour before we got there but the staff kept it warm and we ate right away because we were all really hungry. After dinner we had time to shower and get ready to party! It was our New Years’ party and we had to dress in our Long Johns (long underwear) and costumes had to be colorful.
Well, since mine were plain and boring I spiced them up a lot by putting my PJs on top (I made sure they didn’t match) and rolled up my PJ pants and one sleeve of my shirt so you were able to see the long johns.
I did my hair in pig tails, wore one hot pink sock, and the other was colorful with my slippers. Me, Caitlyn and Liz did make-up and put on tattoos that said 2008 and we had the 2008 glasses! We made an entrance and by the end of the night we won one part of the contest, the most creative group. There were games and we were all dancing and having fun and singing songs with Ian and Fritz. It was hilarious! They won something for that too.
I have a lot of pictures. I am going to try to get some on the expedition site soon so be sure to keep looking at the pictures. It was a lot of fun. It was one crazy New Years’ party in Antarctica! Then off to bed we had to go. And we woke up early this morning to see that we were passing a volcano and Neptune’s Bellows, which was really narrow.
It was beautiful. I took some pictures but again it was really windy and hard to even hold the camera so I went into the bridge and watched from up there. We might make another landing today and then later we are going swimming. I’m not sure if I am going to go because I had a cough and I don’t want to get sick again but I will see what happens. I’ve just heard that the wind was up to 50 knots!! It’s crazy, but now I know I’m really in Antarctica. Well, I am going to try to get the pictures from last night on a different computer so they could send them to be posted on the site.
Mom, I miss you so much. Tell everyone I said hi and Happy New Year! Bye! HAPPY 2008 EVERYBODY!!
Posted by Brittany Pieters, student
Today we woke up quite early considering we stayed up late celebrating the new year. We woke up before breakfast and headed through Neptune’s Bellows, which is a small opening to the caldera where we had our landing for the day. After breakfast we had to wait a while for the wind to die down since some gusts were up to 50 knots. During that time we played spoons, A-B-C-D, and the slap your hand game. But once we got the ok we arrived to the whaling station where we toured the beach and took pictures of the chinstrap penguins. Also, we went swimming at the end.
We ran into the water and afterwards jumped into pits that had been dug out. Because it is an active volcano, if you dig below the rocks it is very very hot! It was so cold but the pits were like a hot tub and it was a great experience. Even though my camera broke yesterday Ingrid was kind enough to loan me her extra camera, which I can use for the rest of the trip. The seas are a little rough but hopefully they will calm down.
All I can say is Antarctica is full of surprises!
Posted by Ana Salome Miranda David, Chaperone
I feel that we are at a stage of our trip that we all hope more, see more, learn more, feel more … When we think that we are already used to this kind of hard, magnificent and imposed landscape, there’s always something new that gets our attention and make us run like crazy outside. We always do that even if the strong wind threatens to make us fly, which would make all the Adelie and Gentoo penguins that we have already been introduced to jealous.
Although being the 1st of January 2008, and just like any other day on board the ship, my heart still jumps like the first day we began our travels aboard the USHUAIA.
Beyond all this, we can’t imagine all the work and coordination this kind of event involves for all of us, and especially from the SOI team.
As a chaperone, and speaking for all, the Portuguese group that is participating on this trip, I wish to thank LATITUDE60! Educational Portuguese Project for this opportunity that we won’t forget. We will also not forget our wonderful duty to pass the message now that we feel like Antarctica ambassadors. Be sure that we will do this with much pride.
A big hug for all and a special one for Portugal!
Posted by Janet Ungrin, Chaperone
I am writing this as we are idling in the bay at Deception Island, waiting out the winds that are keeping us from making a landing. So far the trip has lived up to and by far exceeded all my expectations. The trip across the Drake Passage, escorted by seabirds melting in and out of the fog, was almost surreal, and I don’t think it really started to sink in that I was actually finally here until we arrived at Elephant Island and saw the icebergs. Our first day south of the convergence was filled with the kind of experiences one dreams of when thinking of the Antarctic. We arrived to historic Point Wild in the fog and rain, giving a new perspective to the kinds of things Shackleton’s men would have had to endure. A trip in the Zodiacs gave us a close up experience with icebergs, brash ice (“Salty on the outside, crunchy on the inside. Melts in your mouth AND in your hands!”), and the pervasive scent of penguin guano. Later as we left the island the sun came out and our first wide open view of the Antarctic appeared, followed closely by the appearance of a pod of Humpback Whales who kept us all running from side to side of the ship, chasing images of them fluking into the Antarctic evening sun.
The next day (Dec 31) we awoke at the entrance to Iceberg Alley, traveling up the Antarctic Sound. Some brilliant piloting by our captain had us weaving our way through Icebergs of all shapes and sizes up the sound to Brown Bluff, where we made our first landing on Antarctic soil. Our first up close and personal experiences with penguins followed as we watched them herd up and down the beach looking for a way through the brash ice into the water. Our second landing of the day was at Esperanza, an Argentine Station, built primarily for geopolitical purposes. Some of the children who live there gave some of us a tour from their perspective and told us some of their traditions, including burying people in the snow on their birthdays. The wind came up while we were ashore and made driving back to the ship a little risky so we got to spend a few hours playing in the snow - on the Antarctic Continent, in mid-summer - another experience that seems sort of disconnected with reality in my mind. After a cold water salt bath on the way back to the ship, we celebrated the new year with an SOI New Year’s Long John Party. Awards were handed out, Seconds counted down, and much fun was had by all.
This morning we arrived at Deception Island and navigated through Neptune’s Bellows before breakfast. The wind outside is gusting to 50 knots, making landing on shore to explore the old whaling stations risky, so we are waiting out the time braving the wind on deck, writing journals, and floating in the volcanic caldera. Geoff has just announced that the winds have dropped enough and we will be going ashore shortly, to explore, learn, and join the Antarctic swim club.
Happy New Year from the antarctipus!
Posted by Megan Hawk, student
This is the second time this has happened, my journal has gone missing!
I am almost afraid to write them since they will be deleted! But anyways, today was great. We got into Deception Island today and we weren’t sure if we were actually going to be able to go because the winds were blowing up to 50 knots. It finally died down and we got dressed to go ashore. As soon as I got there I stuck my hand in the ground and it was nice and warm because the magma underneath the ground was heating it. Afterwards, Sara and I went walking down the beach and got to see some old whale bones! We also saw about 6 skua birds. They looked mean. We finished with that and decided to turn around and walk down to the other side of the beach, when we got down there we saw some Gentoo penguins and a new one - the Chinstrap. They were so adorable! Then we saw a big group of people down near the zodiacs so we followed the penguins and went to see what was happening. When we got down there we saw Geoff and some of the other adults were digging a moat and filling it with water which became hot. We all knew what that meant. We were going for a little dip.
We all striped down to our bathing suits, including me, and ran into the freezing cold water, and I mean freezing! We had to dunk our heads and run back out. Simple right? NO. I was screaming in pain I couldn’t feel the bottom part of my body it was completely numb and it hurt so bad! So now I was attempting to run out of the water and it felt like it was going nowhere but I finally made it up to the tiny moat and tried to submerse my whole body in the warm water. I was just so cold I can’t even describe it. Watching the other people jump in and jump out was so funny. Everyone was pretty much screaming their heads off. It took me about 10 minutes to finally want to get out. I got a towel and had to put my clothes back on over my wet bathing suit. I actually didn’t really even finish putting all my clothes on - I wanted to get back to the ship and hop in the shower. When I finally got back to the ship and I took a quick hot shower, it felt so good. I went downstairs to lunch which was steak, peach cobbler/ice cream and corn soup. I also had some grapefruit which was really sweet. We then had an hour of quiet time, which I took advantage of and took a nap.
So I got up and went down stairs and we had another workshop. This time I went to the music one with Ian. He’s really good. Next we had a really interesting lecture on whales and seals with Ingrid - it was great.
Afterwards we had our quick briefing of today and tomorrow and had dinner. It was a nice relaxing day for the most part!
Posted by Stacy Wilson, student
I hope you all enjoyed my last entry. Happy New Year!!! On the 30th we did a zodiac cruise around Point Wild. We got to see Adelie and Gentoo penguins, many other birds, and one group even saw a leopard seal that came up to their zodiac! The icebergs were incredibly beautiful and the way the water crashed upon them was just miraculous. It really was not that cold either. Then on the 31st we arrived at Brown Bluff and got to do our first wet landing. It was pretty windy and a little foggy. While approaching the shore, you could see just a massive amount of penguins everywhere. It was just amazing. They were so cute!!! I was surprised at how small they were, but I guess being 6’1”, everything is going to look small. Haha. It was sad to see numerous carcasses, bones, and injured penguins, but I guess it is just a natural way of life. We also got to see recently born Adelie chicks. They were so fluffy and cute. There was also a “penguin highway” where the penguins would walk along the beach to get to an open area so that they could go swimming. They walk so funny!! Also here is where my camera got wet somehow in my zipped-up, Velcro fastened pocket. It still works, but the backlight is not working, so I’m hoping it will still work. Later that day we arrived at an Argentinean base called Esperanza. We were greeted by the children who live there. I got to talk to a little girl (in Spanish…ya!) about living here, what they do for fun, how long she has lived here, and where she was born. We also toured the base and saw one of the biggest colonies of Adelie penguins (with the new born chicks there is now 450,000 of them there). I saw my first Antarctic seal there too, he was sunbathing on shore. We originally planned on staying there for 2 ½ hours, but because of gusts as high as 50 knots, we could not take the zodiacs back to the ship. So I played in the snow, watched the penguins swimming in the water, played games in one of the main halls at the station (charades in a line - best game ever… I owned the Michael Jackson acting), ate fried bread and hot chocolate, (collectively) buried Janet in the snow, took pictures of a lonely penguin (with Charlotte’s camera - I love that camera), and some even saw a leopard seal swimming near shore. I still haven’t seen one yet. It was hilarious to watch people trying to walk in the wind. It felt like you were in one of those air tunnels where they test cars and airplanes! We ended up staying there for 6 hours. Before returning on the zodiac I was all excited because I was nice and dry, but I did not stay that way. We got all bundled up and boarded the zodiac for the ride of a lifetime. We got soaked by the water. My gloves were completely drenched and my hands we so numb - it was very painful. The zodiac drivers are the best. No one got hurt, but a few cameras got water damaged. Then we get back and I go to take a shower and in the middle of my shower I hear a mumbled announcement through the noise of the shower, “mandatory…roll-call” so I get out really quick and throw on some clothes and get up to the meeting as fast as I could. Then we went straight to dinner. That was good - chicken nuggets, spaghetti, and a chocolate cake. Then it was time for the long-underwear New Year’s party. Some of the chaperones thought of this while on the bog hike. We had a competition for participants and we even got a dance from Fritz!! It was hilarious!!! We were able to stay up till 12:30, so we did a countdown, drank “champagne” (don’t worry, it was really sparkling apple cider) and got many new year’s hugs. It was lots of fun.
Also, in the morning we saw more whales and beautiful icebergs and the sun. Today we made it to Deception Island where there are a bunch of abandoned whaling stations. It is called Deception Island because it was once a huge volcano that was then filled in the middle with water. This is where we will swim, if we can get to shore. Today is really windy as well, so right now we’re waiting on the ship to see if we can get to shore. Also, today if the wind dies down we will get to see the (biggest) chinstrap colony. I’m so excited!!
Shout out to Galt again! Heather - I hope your radiation is going well. Mom - I brought plenty of clothes, I’m only cold on my nose and the sunglasses are working great. Christina - This is defiantly the best place ever! And we also have a “guns” competition with Geoff. It is a funny story; I’ll tell you when we get back. Mrs. Crawford and Ms.
Wooten - I so wish you were here! We have plenty of pictures to show you!
We have the best of the best down here with us and the educators are so amazingly knowledgeable. I have met so many incredible people here, it is so fun.
I will write again soon.
Posted by Elizabeth Connett and Caitlyn Gauthier, students
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The past few days have been a never ending series of firsts. On December 30th we saw our first icebergs. They were so pretty and the water around them was the most beautiful color ever. Later that day we took our first zodiac cruise. We saw penguins for the first time since getting to Antarctica; we also saw a leopard seal that was only about two feet away from us. The zodiac cruise took us right past the area where 22 of Shackleton’s men spent 4 months waiting for him to return with help. It was so hard to believe that they spent so long there when we were all ready to go in after an hour. On December 31st we had our first landing, and touched the great continent of Antarctica for the very first time.
There were tens of thousands of penguins covering Brown Bluff Point, which is where we landed. Everything was so real, even though there you could see dead penguins lying on the rocks; the other penguins were still going on with their life. Our second landing of the day took us to Esperanza Station, an Argentine military base. We got to play with the children who live there with their families, and see what it is like to live there. Instead of getting back at four like we were supposed to, we didn’t return to the ship until after nine o’clock. The winds were so strong, and the waves were so big, that it prevented us from being able to get back to the ship. While we waited some people went back inside, while most of us stayed outside. We had snowball fights, and some people built snowmen. A couple of us even made a quinsy (a type of snow hut).
We had to wait for about an hour by the dock waiting for the winds to die down. There we played in the slush and made slide in the steep snow hills. We were prepared to spend the night on the base, but the wind eventually died down just enough for us to make a run for the boat.
Everybody got soaked, freezing, and numb. The ride back was still exciting and incredibly fun though. After we ate dinner we got ready for the New Years Eve celebration. Felicia and us got ready for the long john party. We wore the most colourful long johns that we had, and wore 2008 glasses and tattoos on our faces. We had activities keeping us busy until the New Year arrived, such as matching weird facts to people, singing songs, writing resolutions, and the long john contest. Felicia and us won the best group costume! Even though I (Liz) slipped and fell on the deck it was still one of the best nights we’ve had on the trip.
After the New Year had come we were allowed to stay and dance and scream for a bit before they sent us to bed. Right now we are in Deception Island, and will hopefully make a landing within the hour. While we are there we will hopefully be able to swim in the heated pools that are created by the volcano. We will be sure to write back and tell you what happens.
Posted by Kayla Costello, student
Today we had to wake up really early (considering how late we all went to bed last night). Geoff must have announced his wake up call three times! But once I finally rolled out of bed and got ready for the day, it was totally worth it!
We sailed into Deception Island today. I said sailed INTO the island, because that is exactly what we had done. It was possible to do this because the island is an active volcano whose middle is filled with sea water. Deception Island used to be a station for a whaling company, but after being destroyed several times by volcanic explosions it closed down. Today all that is left are the remains of the buildings.
But the best thing about Deception Island would be that the volcano underneath heats the water. If you dig in the sand and stick your hand in, it is very warm. This was how we were able to go for a swim in the Antarctic water. We ripped off our clothes down to our bathing suits, ran screaming into the freezing water, and then ran even faster back to the hot pool of water created by the volcano. It was so much fun! The water was so cold that after a few seconds you could barely feel you body. That made it feel even better when you made it to the hot pool.
After our swim it was time to head back to the boat. Our zodiac ride back was a walk in the park in comparison with yesterdays’.
The rest of tonight will be spent cruising. We will also have a few lectures from some of the education staff. One of the lectures is going to be given by the Cosmonaut Mikhail on our ship about space! I hope everyone at home has had a happy new year!
Posted by Ankur Gupta, student
Happy New Year! This morning we entered a volcano. Not figuratively…literally. Deception Island is an active volcano that is supposed to erupt about every 20 years. Its last eruption was supposed to be 2005 but it never erupted so for all we know we could be at the island when it erupts. What’s an expedition without a little risk?
Whaler’s Bay, a historic whaling station, was being hit by 40 knot winds so we waited it out until the winds died. The station is decrepit and ghostly. It was abandoned after 2 eruptions of the volcano in 1967.
Everything was still left as before per the Antarctic Treaty. I walked along the shores. A few lost penguins waddled near me. The highlight, however, was the swim. Yes, the swim. We dug out a little moat to collect water that was hot because of the volcanic activity. Our deal was that we must first run into the ocean, dip ourselves in completely, then we were allowed to be warmed by the makeshift spa. Unfortunately, my description of the swim isn’t nearly as poetic as my 2005 Arctic swim but all I can say is it was cold…er. By a lot. Although after the swim, the beach was quite warm. I can now officially say that I have swum in both polar regions. What’s left to do with my life? Anyway, last night I finished a poem that I will be putting into tomorrow’s Daily Icecap newsletter. Here it is:
I toss and I turn
In a wavy world
White clouds form behind me.
I wake up each morning
Wishing to be born again
How can this place be?
I have traveled the world
Past all seven seas
The question still a mystery
Of places to be
Of places to see
How can this place be?
Take a look around you
Take a moment to understand
Where you are in this world
What is this land?
Waves splashing. Waves smashing
Dashing at our side.
Asking and being polite.
What can we do to help them?
To help them and survive.
Posted by John Quinesso, Chaperone
Greetings and Happy New Year from Whaler’s Bay at Deception Island, Antarctica! WOW! What a site of the Island as our ship entered Neptune’s Bellows, the narrow and tricky-to-navigate passageway leading us into the Bay at Deception Island at 8:00 AM this morning. Our ship’s captain is amazing!
Our New Year’s Eve Gala was quite the event! The required attire for the evening was some type of long underwear and/or pajamas or another article of sleepwear! Quite glamorous for some… and not so for others!
Oh well, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder! Everyone had toast at midnight and the party went on until curfew at around 12:30 AM! A GREAT time was had by all!
Our landing at Deception Island was quite interesting. Remnants of an old whaling station lined the shores of the island. As with all of our landings, we were greeted by the friendliest chinstrap penguins we’ve encountered so far… curious little guys who loved escorting us around their island home!
One of today’s highlights was the much anticipated arctic swim! With below freezing temperatures and gusting winds, many braved the weather conditions by stripping off their clothes to frolic in the waters of Whaler’s Bay. Oh, I forgot to mention that they did have on their bathing suits on under layers and layers of clothing!
Tonight, we were fascinated by a lecture from Russian cosmonaut, Mikhail Tyurin who is onboard with us. He spoke on his two seven month space missions and showed us slides and videos of his space endeavours. It was quite amazing!
The staff and crew onboard the MV Ushuaia continue to make our voyage both enjoyable and comfortable. Our ship’s Dr. Constantine had been busy during the initial days of our trip with seasick passengers… but after everyone recuperated from “The Drake Shake,” his job became a little easier!
Following our stop at Deception Island, the remainder of the day and evening was spent sailing to our next destination.
All the best for 2008 and stay tuned for more details as our adventure at the bottom of the earth continues.
TO: Mr. Q’s Fourth Grade Class
FROM: Mr. “Q.”
Hi, everyone, Happy New Year, and welcome back to school! I hope you all had a great holiday and are ready to get back to work and follow my journey! I have been having a GREAT time here in Antarctica! I have seen LOTS of penguins!!!! Look in our thick penguin book to find pictures of chinstrap (they are my favourite so far!), gentoo and adelie penguins…they are all over the place – everywhere we go! I am so surprised at how friendly they are and at how they come right up to us!
I have taken LOTS of pictures!
It has been cold and windy here, but I have taken a lot of warm clothes and insulated boots.
Look up my ship on google… I’m on the MV Ushuaia, and I am in Room 308.
See if you can find my room on the ship’s floor plan.
Have a great time with Mrs. Nussey, and look for more messages from me every day!
See you next week.