De Gerlache charted the island in the 1890s. The island was named after the expedition’s geophysicist, Émile Danco, who died in the Antarctic. In the 1950s, a hut named Base O was built by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, which later became the British Antarctic Survey. The hut is now an emergency refuge that is occasionally used by researchers for short periods of time.
On Danco Island we took a short hike up to the top of a mountain, carefully avoiding a fur seal and stepping in penguin streets. If we stepped in the little streets they had made themselves in the snow, we would create holes that they could get stuck in. Not too hard to imagine when we were sinking up to our knees in the snow. Fresh snow had fallen during the night. The snow piled on the ship’s decks was proof of that. On the way down, instead of struggling all the way down, we slid most of the way on our bottoms.
The top of the mountain was rather flat. Someone had brought a rugby ball to take a picture with and soon a game of rugby was formed. Being an American that was clueless to exactly how rugby was played, I just watched the Canadians and knowledgeable Americans tackle each other. I have a feeling landing in snow is much softer than a regular rugby field. Also, at the top of the mountain, I watched the Gentoo penguins go about their business.
After the slide down, we took our last Zodiac cruise through the icebergs. During the cruise, we stopped for a moment of silence to listen to nature. The silence was broken when Jorn, our zodiac driver, called out, “Did you see that?’ A large piece of the glacier had just fallen into the water. I saw it, but those who did not see it definitely heard it and saw the wave it produced.