How did Deception Island get named?

The horseshoe-shaped land mass that sits as part of the South Shetland Islands lives up to its name. This strange Antarctic destination allures explorers with its mysterious atmosphere and natural features amid the frigid climate.

American sealer Nathanial Palmer discovered the land mass in 1820 and spent two days exploring it. He dubbed it Deception Island because of its deceptive outward appearance as a normal island. But upon sailing through its narrow entrance, now known as Neptune’s Bellows, he found a ring of land surrounding a flooded caldera.

Deception Island is actually the caldera of an active volcano. When the caldera filled with water, it created what became the bay of Port Foster. Whalers and sealers made it a destination since its discovery. Although the volcano has not erupted since 1970, it is still active. Two eruptions in 1967 and 1969 destroyed scientific research bases.

Today, Deception Island holds the remnants of an abandoned whaler’s station. The rusted shacks and strewn whale bones create a scene made for the intrepid explorer to dive into. Because of its geological activity, the Antarctic destination is a literal hot spot for tourism. Natural hot springs give curious travelers a chance to don their bathing suits and take a swim amid the backdrop of icy mountain peaks.

As the site of an active volcano, Deception Island holds an alluring sense of risk. But it also provides safe harbor to ships seeking shelter from storms in the area. It’s one of the safest landings in Antarctica, providing refuge from storms and icebergs alike.

In the past, ownership of Deception Island was often in contention. Various countries, from Argentina to Chile to Britain to Germany, fought for sovereignty over the island. But the signing of The Antarctic Treaty System brought the animosity between nations over the island’s governance to a close. It now allows for scientific research.

Its black sands abound against the backdrop of white snow and ice from Antarctica’s surrounding geographic features. This black and white effect is often what calls to explorers seeking something new in their adventures. It creates a unique scene that one has to witness for one’s self in person, along with the hot springs. This fire-and-ice natural sauna calls to the most veteran travelers.

As one of the ports of Captain’s Choice on one of three Antarctica luxe-adventure expeditions with Atlas Ocean Voyages, you can get the chance to explore Deception Island for yourself. Captain’s Choice ports of call entail sailing around changing weather conditions as needed and taking you to the best areas for wildlife viewing.

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