D’Hainaut Island is a small, largely flat & rocky island (less than 1km2) that lies within Mikkelsen Harbour on the southern coast of Trinity Island. The area was first charted by Nordenskjød’s Swedish Expedition, and later used by whalers as a mooring point for factory ships each season from 1910-1917. The remains of wooden casks, water boats and whale carcasses dating to this period can be seen at the landing beach, and there is a semi derelict Argentine refuge hut that was established in 1954. The site is home to breeding Gentoo penguins & numerous snowy sheathbills, and weddell & Antarctic fur seals occasionally haul-out in the vicinity.
First off, D’Hainaut Island, (Mikkelsen Harbour, Trinity Island, Antarctic peninsula). Went for a landing & cruise in the morning. On a few of these days we were getting up at 05:30 ish in order to have a landing, then breakfast, then a cruise after. Honestly, it’s a hard, hard life holidaying. I expect much sympathy in the comments ;). However, this morning we didn’t start until 8:30, so could lie in until 7 ish. Happy days.
Anyway, small little island with an Argentinian refuge base on it. I think still occasionally used by scientists?! Then a cruise around the harbour.
Then in the afternoon the day we’d been waiting for at Cierva cove. So, Quark offer a few different excursion opportunities. On our boat, you could have Kayaking ($1,000), Climbing ($650ish), Skiing($650) or Paddleboarding ($150). Kayaking, which we wanted to do because Val was the guide, unfortunately had all the spots taken. Climbing (mountaineering) and Skiing were a little more than we wanted to pay, and the thing is, you don’t actually know how many times you’re going to get out. If the weather turns, you might just get one trip for your $650. In the event, they had at least 2 if not 3 excursions each. Paddleboarding was $150 per time you went out.. but you had to have flat calm conditions, and today was that day for us!
Never having done paddlboarding before, it seemed Antarctica was as good a place as any to try it ;) As you’ll see in the pictures, we were maybe 5m from a sleeping leopard seal. We’re not their prey, however, it was still a tiny bit scary!. Interesting how much hitting even a small piece of ice unsettled the board. Still, no one fell in, and even if we did, you had decent dry suits so it would have been fine. It was lovely seeing the penguins swimming underneath your board, and it was so beautifully quiet, and of course, lovely to be away from the main group too. That was definitely one of the attractions again for paddleboarding, only 2 other passengers signed up, so it was a very small number of us.
Definitely a highlight of the trip for me, our guide Gray was excellent.. super great guy, very chilled, exactly the right amount of instruction, and, while we could have got out other days, he certainly held off announcing the trip until what really was the most perfect day for it.