Detaille Island

Exploring Snow-Covered Detaille Island, Antarctica

This snowy and calm morning as our vessel approached Detaille Island, Antarctica, the dark silhouette of the BAS (British Antarctic Survey) hut emerged against the ice-covered hill, also marked by a metal antenna. The World positioned itself amongst myriad icebergs to the west of the island. As Residents & Guests climbed in our Zodiacs, the air was crisp, and the silence felt profound between the snowflakes.

The BAS hut, also called Base W, a weather wooden structure with a tar roof, served as a British research station during the 1956-1957 International Geophysical Year. Stepping into the hut felt like entering a time capsule. The artefacts and relics showcased the challenges faced by those who braved the harsh conditions for scientific discovery.

Old journals, weathered maps, and rudimentary equipment told stories of resilience, camaraderie, and the pursuit of knowledge in an unforgiving environment. As the hut had to be abandoned very rapidly, food, clothing, and daily living items were left behind as people had suddenly walked out the door.

While enjoying some history, our kayakers made the most of the morning enjoying the scenery from seal level and some encounters with multiple crabeater seals.

The afternoon was spent furthering our venture south. An attempt to go through a narrow passage called the Gullet was made, only for the Ship to find out that it was blocked with pack ice and even some fast ice to be seen in the distance. The Captain gently nudged the Ship into the first chunks of sea ice, giving everyone a chance to get a closer look at the pack ice, a somewhat rare sight along the western peninsula this time of year.

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