23 March 2020
In this post, Andrew and Jaylee look back on their time in Antarctica. Jaylee (a natural kayaker, and the most hardcore inspiring explorer in the water of our group) took a session off kayaking for a filmed interview (#famous). Although disappointed to miss a session on the water, she witnessed an incredible 360 degree view of the Antarctic landscape. Keep an eye out for her interview online in the coming months!
Official Supporter, Andrew, had a special encounter on Danco Island, where it was proven that humans aren’t the only ones who care about history and preservation.
“The most memorable experience for me was during shooting at Neko Harbour. This day was when we were told that we couldn’t kayak, but had to do some interviews. This was sad at first, but little did we know that this day was going to be absolutely amazing. So we arrived on land and I sat on this rock at the top of a cliff and I looked out. All of a sudden it just came to me ‘Wow… isn’t this just unbelievable’. You could see these massive mountains of snow and ice, and the reflection of the sun shining down upon the glaciers was just spectacular. Below us were lots and lots of yellow-jacketed people, mixed in with penguins which made me realise that there are all these different types of wildlife around us and that this is their home as well. To just be there in that moment was unreal. With the amazing scenery right in front of me, I was absolutely blown away and it made me realise how little we are compared to the rest of the world.” – Jaylee
An enduring memory for me was the many heritage and history stories of Antarctica Peninsula, alas the memory is mostly because of the lack of them being interpreted and told from those places.
One such place was Danco Island, the original site of what was the British Base O.
We had ventured our way by zodiac across the harbour and landed on Danco Island. This island had a fantastic penguin colony and it provided a short hill climb that offered a panoramic view across the harbour with breathtaking views of the mountains, the glaciers, the snow and the ice. It also had a stone building footing of what appeared to be a demolished hut and this had one of the very few interpretive signs that could be found during our landings.
I was reading the sign and it told me that it was indeed an original hut site for the British. It had been built in 1956 and was occupied for scientific research purposes until 1959. A conservation survey in 1994 that assessed the historic value of bases on the Antarctic Peninsula concluded that this building of Danco Island Base O was not one of significance. This led to the hut being demolished in April 2004.
Reading the sign gave me a sense of loss, the important history story of Base O being lost. Until quite by chance I was joined in reading the sign by a very inquisitive penguin. It waddled up between the sign and where I was standing. It looked at me and then turned and looked at the sign – it read the sign with me and I have picture proof of its interest in the history and heritage of Base O.
I walked away after about 10 minutes. The penguin, taking longer than I to read the sign, was still there intently ‘reading’ about Danco Island Base O. I was delighted that the inhabitants of the island today were still very interested in the history and heritage of their places. The stories provide the clarity of the past and they must be visible and told.
The penguin taught me a lot that day – Andrew
Written by Inspiring Explorer Ihlara McIndoe