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On our last day in Antarctica, we went in to the lagoon of the volcanic Deception island. In Telefon bay we walked up the slope of a volcano crater.

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Then we stopped in Whalers’ bay, also on Deception island. The Norwegian whaling activity of the early 1900s had left behind a spooky remaining of tombs and artefacts. After years of international debate on whether to remove it, it has been decided that they should be left with the motivation that it is a cultural heritage.

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After the whalers left, a British scientific base functioned here from the 40s until the 1960s when two volcano eruptions forced everybody to leave in a rush.

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The place felt a bit spooky and it was cold. But then Lucía walked up to me and said she had noticed that I liked swimming in the polar sea the day before. She had also noticed that the steaming water at the beach was really hot. It turned out the volcanic activity beneath the beach heated the sand so that the water closest to the shore got extremely hot.

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I agreed to take off my winter clothes and we lay down on the volcanic sand like happy, lazy seals. Every five minutes it got too hot and we had to roll out into the water where the mix with the cold polar water made the temperature lower. (Photo credits: Mary-Ann, Chip Wedgewood, Corine Wood-Donnelly)

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This was the last day in Antarctica and we were to start the journey back across the Drake passage. But before getting back to Argentina we had a party on the boat and a stop in Chilean Puerto Williams. I’ll return later with that and pictures from the ship Ocean Nova and maybe some practicalities about finding a last-minute deal to Antarctica…

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