January 4, 2019. Friday, Deception Island/Prat Base

The weather is spitting snow and gray. We reach Deception Island at the mouth of the caldera (formed by explosive volcano) at 8:30 AM. The 3 mile entrance is “deceptive” since there is less than a mile of navigable water to enter the volcano’s semi circle. Yellow volcanic ash and red iron cinders stain the rock formations on the sides of the opening. As we move into the bay, a catamaran is parked in front of the old camp. A group of scientists have pitched tents in a canyon for conducting studies during the summer months.

A 360 view of the mountains and volcanic ash provides a good orientation of the entire bay. The buildings date back to WW ll and Cold War. We also are informed of another volcano in the middle of the caldera and underwater. This leaves a shallow 50 ‘ for our navigation across the water.

Following lunch, we are set up to visit the Chilean station at Prat Base – one of approximately 50 stations. The team consists of 10 people in winter and 15 more in summer. Founded in 1947, this station is primarily responsible for meteorology and weather monitoring consecutively. The station chief invited us to be their first guests since they arrived 6 weeks ago. We are treated to hot chocolate and a walk through of the facility ( infirmary, TV/media, kitchen, dorm rooms and gym). The winter months at the station are dark night and snowed-in buildings.

In the evening we visit the bridge and are forewarned of tomorrow’s weather forecast for the Drakes Passage.

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