Deception Island

Deception Island is a volcanic island in the South Shetland Islands, north of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Antarctic Peninsula

Region: Antarctica

Destinations: South Shetland Islands

Deception Island ​Neptune's Bellows

​Deception Island is an island unequalled in the world. The ring-shaped island is in fact the top of a volcano, a caldera. This remarkable island is located in the South Shetland Islands, north of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Caldera has a diameter of about 15 kilometres and has a narrow entrance on one side, Neptune’s Bellows. Through this spectacular passage ships can sail into the flooded crater, a unique phenomenon.

The Deception Island volcano is still active, inside the caldera there is geothermal activity; sea water temperatures of 70°C have been recorded. Eruptions have happened as recently as 1970. Sealers, whalers, explorers and scientists have been sailing into Port Foster since its discovery in 1820 and remains of these expeditions can still be seen.

History of Whalers Bay

In Whalers Bay bleached whalebones, wooden barrels and other artefacts from 20th century whale hunters can be seen beside derelict buildings from a British scientific station that was evacuated after the 1969 eruption. Although the wildlife inside the caldera is not that abundant, several bird species breed on the caldera cliffs. On the outside of Deception one of the highlights of the peninsula can be found; Bailey Head. In this natural amphitheatre about 50.000 pairs of Chinstrap Penguins breed. Unfortunately the colony is seldom visited due to the difficult landing conditions on the outside of the island.

Wildlife on Deception Island

Although the wildlife inside the caldera does not seem to be that abundant, thousands of Cape Pigeons, Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels, Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skua’s and Antarctic Terns breed on the caldera shores and cliffs. Also penguins and seals venture sometimes through Neptune’s Bellows into the caldera where they enjoy a bath in the sometimes thermally heated water. As the Deception Island volcano is still active, eruptions have been taking place as recent as 1970, signs of volcanic activity can be found inside the caldera. At some places the seawater is heated by geothermal activity, water temperatures of 70°C have been recorded. In Whalers Bay and Pendulum Cove the shallow water, only during low tide, can be pleasant for skinny dipping. But take care; most of the time one side of your body feels like it is being cooked while the other side is almost freezing from the cold seawater.

Hiking on Deception Island

Unlike many other parts of Antarctica, Deception Island is not totally covered by ice and therefore it offers some great walking opportunities. ​From Whalers Bay a great hike can be made towards a viewpoint above Neptune’s Window and South East Point. From this 130 metres high summit great views of Port Foster and the little rock columns called the Sewing Machine Needles can be made. Also Telefon Bay, at the north-western side of Port Foster offers great hiking opportunities. The eruption of 1970 created a lunar landscape with a beautiful crater.

Love this article? Share your appreciation:

Related cruises

Weddell Sea - In search of the Emperor Penguin incl. helicopters
Up to 2300 USD discount

Weddell Sea - In search of the Emperor Penguin incl. helicopters

Searching for the Elusive Emperor Penguins

OTL22A-17. A true expedition, our Weddell Sea cruise sets out to explore the range of the Emperor Penguins near Snow Hill Island. We will visit the area via helicopter and see a variety of other birds and penguins including Adélies and Gentoos.

Cruise date:

15 Nov - 25 Nov, 2017

Price:

11550 USD 9250 USD 2300 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands
Up to 1850 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands

Classic Antarctica including Deception Island

OTL24-17. This 11-day Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands cruise delivers you into a landscape of dark rugged rock, pure white snow, and a fantastic variety of wildlife. Come say hello to whales, seals, and thousands of penguins.

Cruise date:

6 Dec - 16 Dec, 2017

Price:

9350 USD 7500 USD 1850 USD discount

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula
Up to 950 USD discount

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula

Meet at least six penguin species

PLA23-17. This Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctic Peninsula cruise is an animal-lover’s dream come true. The expedition explores one of the last untamed areas on Earth – a land of ruggedly beautiful landscapes and amazingly varied wildlife.

Cruise date:

29 Nov - 18 Dec, 2017

Price:

13100 USD 12150 USD 950 USD discount

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula

Meet at least six penguin species!

PLA22-17. A 20-day cruise to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia & the Antarctic Peninsula. Visit some of the most beautiful arrays of wildlife on Earth. This journey will introduce you to at least 6 species of penguin and a whole lot of Antarctic fur seals!

Cruise date:

9 Nov - 29 Nov, 2017

Price:

on request

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula

Meet at least six penguin species

OTL25-18. This Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctic Peninsula cruise is an animal-lover’s dream come true. The expedition explores one of the last untamed areas on Earth – a land of ruggedly beautiful landscapes and amazingly varied wildlife.

Cruise date:

16 Dec, 2017 - 3 Jan, 2018

Price:

13200 USD