Days in the Polar regions can be so different from one to another, a morning can be so different to the afternoon, that two days can feel like an entire voyage. After an epic entrance through the English strait in the evening sun, surrounded by Cape petrels and the endless swell of the Drake breaking on the shallows around us – we woke up a the protected bay known as Yankee Harbour. Gentoo penguins and Elephant seals welcomed us in full sunshine.
Later, after passing by the impressive volcanic knob Edinburgh hill and maneuvering through our first icebergs – we went on to Fort Point in the afternoon. As the night had been one of strong winds there was too much swell to land, and apart from that too many penguins and fur seals anyway, so we decided to enjoy where we were and have a little zodiac ride instead. What was intended to be a short ride to have a closer look at the steep rocks of Fort point became a long exploration of ice and wildlife in corners the Europa did not see before. We returned just before dinner and enjoyed the evening at anchor turning into night, as the darkness has returned to Antarctica by now.
Around midnight we left for Deception island, waking up close to the entrance into the collapsed caldera. We were well aware of the weather forecast, and prepared for a change of plan as we always are. Yet, we were not entirely prepared to not set foot on the volcanic island at all. Or to cruise up and down the 5 by 3.5 nautical miles of Port Foster the entire day, not being able to see land most of the time. Fort Point seemed weeks ago, our walk in Yankee Harbour even longer. It was only the relatively calm water combined with the wind up to 59 knots that made us realize we were not back on the Drake.
When dinner was called and we all enjoyed the magic of the galley, it still looked like the wind was simply too much. And than, while eating chocolate ice cream as desert, it calmed down. A bit, enough! We landed in Whalers Bay – and as we set foot on land in the low evening light we realized the moment had absolutely been worth waiting for. The whole bay, everything, was
covered in fresh snow. Including the Fur seals and Gentoo penguins. After this day of truly Deception weather, after waiting and
collectively keeping up hope, we were not looking at remains of what the place must once have been like, but feeling what it once must have felt like.