Most of us were up around 5AM for our intended 6AM landing at Deception Island. But ‘mother nature’ intervened and we had to modify our plans. The strong head winds, approaching storm levels and the heavy fog, made it too risky to enter Neptunes Bellows, the narrow opening into the caldera of Deception Island. The only prudent alternative was to continue northeastward and onward toward our next landing at South Georgia Island.
South Georgia Island is distant as it is nearly two and a half days away. During our transit time to South Georgia and on northward we will have several sea days for the Expedition Staff to present a wide variety of lectures.
This morning Ralf lectured on the Belgica expedition. This was the first expedition to over-winter in Antarctica. Led by Adrien de Gerlache this expedition was the training ground for Roald Amundsen and Frederick Cook and as we know both of these men went on to long careers in polar exploration. Bob’s talk was built around the photographs from his 1960’s glaciology and engineering work at the South Pole and McMurdo stations.
Later in the day our lectures by Tomas and Frieda focused on the species of whales that are common in Antarctic waters. Manuel told us the untold story of Cormorants and Rudolf told us the about the scientific goals and financial costs of several national Antarctic research programs. In general operational and maintenance costs are greater than the funds spent on scientific research.
By dinnertime the navigation screen showed we were passing Elephant Island where Shackleton’s men took refuge while he and four others sailed to South Georgia Island. This evening it was too foggy to catch even a glimpse of this fabled island.