D’Hainaut Island & Cierva Cove (and SUPping)

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.

10 responses to “D’Hainaut Island & Cierva Cove (and SUPping)

  1. Ian

    Stunning photos again! Very jealous of the paddleboarding- make my trip down the Makarora look tame ;)

    • Patrick

      Heh, but your trips are on a board you built….which would be terrifying to me ;) (I never use the websites I’ve made ;)

      • Ian

        The river one wasn’t, I did that on the inflatable- much safer ;)

        Happy Birthday!

  2. Michelle

    Wow! You totally win for best paddle boarding experience. I thought seals in New Plymouth harbour was cool. I hope the tiny brick hut is not the Argentinean refuge – you wouldn’t want to spend too long in there , it looks tiny! (and cold). Amazing photos…

    • Patrick

      I uploaded a pic of it :) My bad, I was somewhat slapdash picking out pictures! Note the somewhat large flag painted on!

      • Michelle

        That does look slightly more spacious and comfortable! Cool that you have so many neat photos that you can be somewhat slap dash ☺ you must have a lot to choose from!

  3. MUM

    Happy Birthday !!
    Paddleboarding looks pretty scary.. safer when kneeling ? !!
    Hope you are celebrating tonight ? Sorry there is nothing in the post !
    Let us know a poste restante if you can sometime ! well, I suppose email has taken over !
    Love MUM

    • Patrick

      Dead right mum, kneeling down does make you a lot more stable. They are really quite stable to begin with though. Quark is a very safety conscious company, so I don’t think there really was any danger at all to be honest.

      As for celebrating, went out for a very nice crepe and coffee, but saving a birthday dinner until we get back from the hike :)

      I don’t think poste restante is going to work! it’d take a while to get here, and we really don’t know that far in advance where we’re going to be!

      Happy Birthday for your birthday! I’ll be incommunicado!

  4. ange

    incredible pics. Did you see the David Attenborough show on the antarctic and how the orca’s team up to eat seals? Lucky there were no orca’s about ;) !! Looks epic

  5. ange

    Happy birthday too! I’m a few days late!


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