Whalers and researchers used this island extensively for the last 200 years. The 1969 eruptions destroyed all of the facilities, and it seems like an eerie ghost town today. The black soil is warm to the touch and if you stick your finger in it, you can get burned. This is one hot island!
For the first three decades of the 20th century, Deception Island was used as a major whaling station. At one time over 3,000 whale carcasses littered the shores, and we saw the bony remnants of this sad history on the beach.
We explored the beach, looked in the abandoned buildings, and examined the rusting whaling equipment. Some of the more adventuresome passengers wore their swimsuits and sat in natural "hot tubs" dug in the cinders by the crew near the shoreline. They had to keep putting cooler ocean water into the tubs to cool them down, and the group all dipped themselves in the bay afterwards. Who said there was no swimming on the beaches of Antarctica?