Danco - Another Antarctica Climb.
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
402Trip End Dec 31, 2013
Each evening a proposed days activities sheet is posted up on a board and we have a briefing meeting of what we should expect. Then quite often due to weather or landing conditions it all changes - this makes each day exciting!
After Breakfast we are told to be ready by 9.00am for a landing on Danco Island. The whole gearing up process is much smoother now – we have it down to a fine art. Pull on the waterproof pants, pull on the boots and tuck the waterproof pants back down over making sure it is all sealed, do up all fasteners on jackets, put on hat, neck warmer and gloves, put camera and water bottle around neck and last of all put on the life jacket. Then it is turn your tag to show you are leaving the boat, plod through the bowl of disinfectant and stand ready to board the zodiac.
The weather has changed back to being pleasantly cold with patches of sunshine weakly breaking through.
Danko Island provided another hike to a vantage point. A lot less people took the hike this time and when we had puffed and panted our way up to the top along the zigzag snow path, forged by our expedition leader John, we found a quiet solitude not yet experienced on this trip. With a gorgeous vista below us of ice, snow, mountains and penguins, we sat on the ice and just - enjoyed. No wind, and no noise except the distance gunfire crack of calving ice.
We took another ice slide down the mountain, as a quicker way down, and it was so exhilarating! Boots and pants end up with ice down them, but who cares when you are having fun! Mind you our cameras take a hiding, also ending up covered with ice, luckily our gear is very modest compared to most. At times we consider our lack of lens power, and of a possible upgrade, then remember how rough we are and how attractive they would be in some of the less salubrious places we sometimes find ourselves.
After lunch there was another zodiac cruise and this time it was all about looking for wildlife as well as admiring the icebergs. We found a co-operative seal and lots of penguins doing what is called "porpoising". They act like porpoises dipping in and out of the water at break neck speed and are amazing to watch. The penguin in the water displays a grace and agility totally lacking in its on land stumbling, exploits.
Later in the afternoon, when it was time for happy hour, a staff member had brought in a big iceberg chunk and this was chipped off for cocktails. Baileys on iceberg ice for us – perfect!