Under mostly cloudy gray skies the sun is battling to make it's warm presence known. The temperature has fallen considerably and along with the wind howling at over 35 miles an hour it is an experience that in an odd way I am enjoying.
Since others are more comfortable and smarter to enjoy the views from the shelter of the bridge, initially I am alone on the bow of the Ioffe.
Our insanity helps us fight the elements as we experience a true bit of Antarctica. In a conversation with one of the passengers I am told the winds are over 36 knots (about 40 miles an hour), too much for kayaking. He's now excited to join a few of us who are insanely looking forward to doing the Polar Plunge.
Being fortunate to experience the most remote and sometimes most hostile area on the planet in and of itself is just awesome.
It is hard to imagine being here in winter or anytime during the 180 days without sunshine.
Russian commands over the PA snaps me out of my imaginary thoughts and I get back to enjoying the reality around me. Although the wind is still relentless, on the port side of the Ioffe the sun is winning the battle in the skies as we enter the caldera at Deception Island.
The entrance to Deception Island is relatively narrow but once inside the caldera the island forms a safe harbor against the Antarctic weather.
Beyond the entrance is Whaler's Bay where we will make our next landing. From the winds and current sea conditions, I can tell our next zodiac ride could get interesting. Even inside the caldera the wind is cold and still blowing strong as it pours down from the surrounding snow covered hills.
Thankfully, there are more areas of blue skies where the sun's heat just might be breaking through.
By no means a simple process.
With the Ioffe anchored I can see our next landing spot which still has decaying buildings left behind from the long since deceased whaling industry.
I am told at one point there was even an airport located here, a part of one of a few scientific research centers that were destroyed by volcanic eruptions in the 1960's.