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.