Danco Island 64°44’S, 62°36’W, Errera Channel Key features

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Danco Island

64°44’S, 62°36’W, Errera Channel

Key features

- Gentoo penguin colony

- Glacial scenery


Topography: Danco Island is a one mile long island in the southern part of the Errera Channel. Its north shore is characterised by a wide flat cobbled beach with a long snow-free slope behind it which rises up to the island’s ice-covered summit. Permanent ice dominates the top and south side of the island.

Fauna: Confirmed breeders: Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua), snowy sheathbills (Chionis alba). Unconfirmed breeders include: kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus), Subantarctic skuas (Catharacta skua), Antarctic terns (Sterna vittata) and blue-eyed shags (Phalacrocorax atriceps). Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) frequently haul out and crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophagus) are regularly sighted in the vicinity.

Flora: Snow algae may be extensive in late summer. Two species of moss have been recorded on the island, and lichen is present.

Other: Previously the site of Base ‘O’ (UK) which was occupied from Feb 1956 to Feb 1959. Subsequently abandoned, the hut was demolished and cleaned up in March-April 2004 but concrete foundation blocks remain.

Visitor Impact

Known impacts: None known.

Potential impacts: Disturbance of wildlife.

Landing Requirements

Ships*: Ships* carrying 500 or fewer passengers (however, note visitor restrictions below). One ship at a time. Maximum 3 ships per day (midnight to midnight), of which no more than 2 can carry over 200 passengers.

Visitors: No more than 100 visitors ashore at any time, exclusive of expedition guides and leaders.

Visitor Area

Landing Area: The preferred landing site is on the western end of the north shore, near the site of the former British base.

Closed Areas: None.

Guided Walking Areas: None.

Free Roaming Areas: Visitors may roam freely under supervision.
Visitor Code of Conduct
Behaviour Ashore: All visits are to be conducted in accordance with the General Guidelines for Visitors to the Antarctic.

Avoid walking in the deep snow pathways created by penguins.

Cautionary Notes: Boat drivers should be aware of shallow, rocky approaches to the landing beach.

The permanent ice slopes are crevassed and dangerous. They should only be accessed by those with suitable alpine experience and training and using suitable equipment (eg, roped access).

Beware of wash from calving icebergs in beach area, particularly on the beach to the south of the site of the former Base ‘O’.

Adoption: 2010

Last revision: 2013

*A ship is defined as a vessel which carries more than 12 passengers.

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