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Antarctica. South Shetland Islands.

Good hike at Telefon Bay (Deception Island) before heading to the Drake Passage

Anchoring overnight at Deception Island proved to be a bit of a challenging matter. After the good evening at Whalers Bay, Europa moved a handful of miles deeper into Port Foster, to the planned destination for the morning, the picturesque Telefon Bay. Lacking a good anchor spot and with the wind gusts we had, early morning found the ship dragging and swinging towards the coast. Time for repositioning, trying to find a more suitable site under the given circumstances and wait until after breakfast, when the landfall was scheduled. By then, once more the Europa makes short way to the landing location in front of the small Gonzalez Harbour, get ready and launch the rubber boats. They made their way through a gap into a sort of lagoon at the western side of Telefon Bay.

This area of Deception Island is made of several linked explosion craters flooded by the sea, others still filled with freshwater confined into the crater like structures. The top of the larger volcanic coastal building that overlooks all of them was the aim for the morning hike. Rising to 160m above the sea level, offers unbeatable scenic views along all its crater ring, landscape visible now and then amongst the fog that covers the higher areas. Nowadays disappeared, a wooden cross erected at the summit by whales gave the mountain its name, Cross Hill.

Lunar landscape characterises the terrain, with barely any vegetation growing on the black, cinder-covered volcanic material, sprinkled here and there with multicoloured boulders each of them rich one different minerals like sulphur and iron.
With the weather still holding up, there was time to extend the walk a bit further, visiting other neighbour hills and ridges, all with great views of the flooded lagoons and the barren volcanic scenery.

Stepping off the land and into the zodiacs represented the last contact with the Antarctic lands of our voyage. Back on board it was time to prepare everything for the upcoming days at sea. To be ahead of the worst weather predicted in the Drake Passage, Europa will have to start setting her course towards Ushuaia.

While still inside Port Foster and before heading first to the Bransfield Strait, then to the Drake, safety lines and nets were rigged, decks tidied up, ship and personal equipment and belongings sea fastened.

With many up aloft to enjoy the way out of Deception through the Neptune’s Bellows, the ship leaves the island behind and dives into the open waters, where the sunny weather soon becomes foggy, and the calm seas grow gradually into high swell.

Written by:
Jordi Plana Morales | Expedition Guide

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