Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet" and "Endangered Edens."

Neptune’s Revenge

Deception Island

Marty’s photo of the day #1803: Today’s photo is from Deception Island, off the coast of Antarctica. You are looking at building, once part of a whaling station, covered in volcanic ash. This excerpt from my first book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet, explains the shot:

We went ashore instead at the more sheltered Whaler’s Bay. There we were able to see firsthand the devastation caused by the most recent (1967–1970) volcanic eruptions. Black ash and mud had engulfed a British research station, which was active at the time (everyone escaped), as well as the adjacent vacant Norwegian Hektor Whaling Station. Rather than rebuild, the countries left everything in place as an unattended outdoor museum. Included among the partially buried relics were whale-processing equipment, wooden fishing boats, and a rusty tractor.

Visiting Whaler’s Bay was a solemn experience. Not for the ruins, but for the remnants of the butchery that happened from 1911 to 1931 when the Hektor Whaling Station was operational. Perfectly preserved whale bones protruded from the volcanic-sand beach—a testament to a coldhearted industry that, if left unchecked, would have exterminated multiple species of whale. Perhaps the eruptions were Neptune’s way of saying, “Enough!”

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