Our morning began as we approached Hannah Point at the east end of Walker Bay on Livingston Island in the South Shetlands. We landed groups at Hannah Point, where we saw colonies of chinstrap and gentoo penguins, as well as several groups of elephant seals. At Walker Bay, we found a “wallow” of elephant seals in the process of molting their fur. We also found a site that had several plant fossils dating back to the time when the Antarctic was still connected to the Andes Mountains. Right beside the fossil specimens, we found the two flowering plant species endemic to Antarctica, Antarctic hair grass and Antarctic pearlwort.
After leaving Hannah Point and Walker Bay, we made our way over to the spectacular Charity Glacier at the edge of False Bay. We cruised by the glacier and then made our way to Deception Island.
Deception Island is an active volcano that most recently erupted in 1970. We made our landing by Baily Head, an eroded volcanic ash cone that forms the entrance to a large colony of chinstrap penguins. Tens of thousands of penguins spread out around a volcanic amphitheater.
Our expedition day finished with a ship cruise into the entrance of the Deception Island caldera–Neptune’s Bellows–created by a cataclysmic eruption 4,000 years ago. We also saw the remains of the only Antarctic land-based whaling station in Whaler’s Bay.