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Peter Eastway

Water Boat Study #2 Deception Island

The weather really colours how you feel about a place. For us, the sense of desolation on Deception Island was absolute as a fierce snow storm grew during our short stay on land.

One of the key shots I wanted to shoot is of the two water boats decaying on the shores of Deception Island.

As with many photographs I have seen of seemingly incredible locations, actually getting there is remarkably easy to reach once you’re on board a ship like the Akademik. Deception Island is an active volcano and its whaling station was abandoned after a little too much heat in the 1970s. However, the water boats are from much earlier than this, from 1900 to 1930-ish. Fresh water for operations was carried out to the whaling boats using these covered boats and today there are just two in ‘good condition’.

It’s interesting that many of the destinations we actually visit are not ‘pristine’, but rather remnants of man’s inability to settle permanently. So many pristine places are simply inaccessible, no matter what equipment you have, so we go to the places where it is sometimes possible to get ashore and find that ‘man’ has been there before us.

Although the weather is stormy, it is really very kind and makes for much better photographs compared to a bland blue sky. Of course this is an assumption: maybe I need to return to see what it’s like in fine weather!

I love the graveyard of old wooden buildings, only their footings visible above the volcanic floor.

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