Wednesday 21 January 2015

Danco Island

Tuesday, 20.01.2015 Danco Island

Our plans for this day were destroyed  by the weather. Originally we had Yankee Harbour and Half Moon Island on our schedule. But the weather forecast was so bad for the South Shetland Islands, that our captain and the expedition leader decided not to go there but to try a landing near the Antarctic Peninsula in Mikkelson Harbour. This small Island in the harbour should be sheltered by the large and high Trinity Island.  Again also here we encountered a quite strange weather situation, which can be found almost only in the Antarctic waters. We had a cloudy sky above the high mountains on land and a blue, sunny sky above the sea. But the wind blew with Beaufort force seven to eight and in gusts to nine causing waves up to four meters. That means: No landing possible at all!

Wind and waves at Mikkelson Harbor

New plans had to be made and we decided to try a landing further south on Danco Island. This small only 1.6 Kilometer long Island lies in the narrow Errera Channel and should be sheltered by the larger and quite high Ronge Island. We need several hours to go there and arrived at 2 pm. Our hopes were fulfilled: Still sunny but nearly no wind. We could start our operation!

Iceberg in Errera Channel

First the boat cruising began at 2.30. We had low tide and the Errera Channel was filled with stranded Icebergs.Thus we had a scenic cruising among all these Icebergs.  The landing on Danco Island started at about 3 pm. WE had to climbe uphill.  On the top of the hills we found the Gentoo penguin colonies. The chicks were quite big and grown up. At the end we could slide downhill through the snow. The operation ended at 7 pm. 

Landing site at the beach of Danco Island

Ice in the Errera Channel

Gentoo Penguin with chicks Danco Island