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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

Antarctica - Jan 3 - Day 7 - Deception Island - Whaler’s Bay and a Covid Outbreak!

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

We had an excursion planned for 11:00am. We woke up around 8:00am and headed to breakfast. Covid was the lead topic of conversation. Who was missing from breakfast? Who has it? How will it affect our planned departure on Thursday? Would Ushuaia let us off the ship? Would Argentina shut down cruising for the rest of the season? Would we be next? We all had a bit of anxiety.

Shelly and Monica were listening in on Expedition Team conversations to hear about the Covid situation. The latest count was 8 passengers and two crew testing positive for Covid, and over 50 passengers quarantined. That’s half of all the passengers! It was feeling like a private cruise to us. The Atlas Lounge was pretty empty, and the Porto Restaurant was sparse with passengers.

Excursion time was approaching. We left the Antarctic Peninsula early, I assume because of the Covid outbreak, and headed back to the South Shetland Islands. Specifically, we were going to Deception Island again, but this time we’d land in Whaler’s Bay. I was thinking I wouldn’t do this excursion as we’d been to Deception Island on our first excursion. I’m glad I went as I would take my first video of penguins and a seal.

We geared up in the Mud Room, it was getting easy to put on our boots and parkas. There were only 4 Zodiac boat landings with about 40 passengers. We embarked our Zodiac on Whaler’s Bay and headed to shore. The water was very calm, there was little wind, and the temperature was around 40 degrees.

We disembarked and walked around what remained of a whaling operation from the 1930’s. There were three large, rusted silos that were used to store whale oil, the remains of buildings that housed the rendering operation, an airplane hangar, and lots of whale bones.

We walked to the right and down the shore and spotted a group of 6 or 7 penguins. I took pictures and videos of them waddling around.

I spotted a seal that was basking on shore, and took a video of it.

At the end of the shore, there was a hill with a gap. It was a steep walk to a ridge that overlooked the ocean. I decided I wouldn’t try but Shelly, Jonathan, Monica, and Jacqueline trekked up and got a nice view and some photos.

Here are the last photos we took on our last excursion. We were headed back to Ushuaia early, so goodbye to Antarctica and the South Shetland Islands.

We headed back toward the Zodiacs. Jacqueline and I had had enough trudging in the deep sand, so we got in the Zodiac and Jonathan accompanied us. Shelly and Monica walked to the end of the other end of the shoreline to see the airplane hangar. They returned to the ship about 20 minutes later.

I was sad that this was our last excursion, so we took our parkas to our cabin and folded them up. Although they are bulky, they fold up amazingly small. When we packed on our last day, we were able to get them into our suitcase. Our next adventure would be crossing the Drake Passage. Let's hope it would be calm.

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