Portbail
Portbail

The original plan was for the three of us (Alex, Peter and Peter A.) to cross to Jersey from the French town of Portbail via Les Ecrehou (or Les Ecrehous) a group of small islands and rocks between France and Jersey.

Dutch version available as well / Nederlandse versie beschikbaar

Upon arriving on a nice Thursday afternoon we checked the weather forecast and the one thing you do not want to see are chances of thunderstorms. The next morning still chances of thunderstorm. So we let the first slot go and waited a couple hours to see if newer forecasts would tell a different story. Some websites cleared the thunderstorm warnings, but now the Jersey Met office forecast was mentioning thunderstorms and with Jersey not being that prone to thunderstorms as the Normandy coast we had to decide to cancel the crossing.

Leaving Saint-Malo
Leaving Saint-Malo

Now as there where websites mentioning thunderstorms the next day we decided not to wait and cross from Saint-Malo with the ferry. There was already a booking for one car (driven by Sietske) that would go to Jersey if we were able to do the crossing. It became a nice drive as huge parts of the main road where closed so like true rally drivers we bounced over the beautiful small roads taking us through small villages. When we arrived in Saint-Malo we had to put all stuff in one car, park the other one in Saint Vincent (this one is beneath the ground and not in the open air as the Ferry parkinglot and you only pay a little more if you book online). As we had some time to spare we went into the medieval walled old Town of Saint-Malo called Intra-Muros. From the walls you can overlook the Fort National which was build in 1689 to protect the port of Saint-Malo. This part of Saint-Malo is worth a visit if you are in Brittany.

What a view
What a view

After the ferry crossing we picked up the key for Egypt Hut where Peter and Alex would stay. Egypt hut  is comparable with a mountain hut overlooking the north-east coast (best view you can wish for) and Peter A. and Sietske stayed in the Durell Hostel, close to the Durell Wildlife park. This park is a conservation park for endangered species and is famous for the gorilla Jambo who, back in 1986, was very gentle towards the five year old boy that fell into the Gorilla Enclosure (more information about Jambo the Gentle Giant at http://www.lelion.co.uk/).

Les Ecrehou
The next day Alex would do his BCU 3* assessment. While we where waking up the first day on Jersey we got a call from Derek (Jerseykayakadventures.co.uk) to tell us the forecast had changed and this was our opportunity to go to Les Ecrehou (our stop if we would have been able to do the crossing). We would

Arr, matey
Arr, matey

meet him for Alex his BCU 3* assessment another day. This was good news after the disappointment from the day before. So we jumped out of our beds. I took the maps, draw a navigation plan. Then we had to hurry to leave on time. We made Bouley Bay just in time to have just enough time to reach Les Ecrehou before tide would turn and water would start pushing us away. We got pretty lucky as we spotted dolphins, a puffin (not common to Jersey anymore) and a gannet. Just before high water we got there and landed on Marmortier. While landing we noticed a curious seal and when we went to play around the island in the streams a seal wanted to play with Alex his kayak. On the way back the wind had picked up. This meant some on the water course corrections to allow for the wind. We touched land at Tour de Rozel and landed back on Bouley bay.

Les Ecrehou
Les Ecrehou

North Coast

For a little while we became cavemen
For a little while we became cavemen

On the second day Alex and Peter made a coastal trip from Bouley bay to Greve de Lecq, playing on the tiderace near Belle Hougeu point, rockhopping and exploring caves and having lunch at the Bonne Nuit Beach café. With F4 winds coming from the west we especially enjoyed playing around the headland at Sorel Point with waves crashing upon the rocks. It’s the beauty of the Northern coast of Jersey. You can paddle the North Coast often and still find new things or experiences. It all depends on the tide and wind. When we landed at Greve de Lecq Peter and Sietske where just returning from there walk at the paths from Greve de Lecq to Plemont. One of the better walks on the island. In the early evening two of us walked from Egypt to Bonne Nuite. A nice 2km walk to work up some extra appetite and a really beautiful walk as well.

Seymour Tower

Go for a climb
Let’s go for a climb

On the third day the three of us met Derek to do a trip on the South-East coast going from Green Island to Seymour Tower and rocks just a little more out. While the tide came in we explored the channels between all the rocks that filled up with water as we made our way to Seymour tower. First passing it to paddle around the smaller rocks like La Conchiere and Karame. Seymour Tower dates back to 1782 and is located on the tidal islet L’Avarison. It can be reached by foot on low tide but will be surrounded by water very quickly when the tide goes up. For those walking back that didn’t read the tide tables there is a rescue tower half-way back.

Climbing it and seeing seaweed just before the top makes you understand the big difference in low and high-tide. This trip also was a part of Alex his BCU 3* assessment so we were able to mix things up a

forgot your helmet!?
forgot your helmet!?

little. On the way back via Icho tower we stumbled upon a nice surf alongside some rocks to play in. Icho Tower is one of seven Martello towers on Jersey (originally there where eight) and dates back to 1810. These towers really give an idea of cannons and the moving parts it was standing on becoming larger as the buildings had to grow with them. We ended the trip with some rescues as part of Alex his BCU 3* assessment.

Seymour Tower and suroundings
Seymour Tower and suroundings

Tour de Rozel and surf at Le Braye

Playing at Tour de Rozel
Playing at Tour de Rozel

The fourth day Peter A. and Sietske walked the Rozel to Bouley Bay path and Peter joined Alex on the last part of his BCU 3* assessment. We met up with Derek who would assess Alex. We met Derek at Rozel to go to Tour de Rozel where there is a nice tiderace running between a rock and the coast. Not typical BCU 3* things, but if you can handle this you’ll be fine. After a while we went back to have a nice Jersey burger at the Hungry Man in Rozel. When we were stuffed we headed out to the west coast (Le Braye just in front of La Rocco Tower) to see if there was any decent surf.

There was surf, but it was a bit messy. So no long surfs, but still great fun. Again, not typical BCU 3* stuff, but the same applies as the tiderace at Tour de Rozel. If you can handle yourself you’ll be fine. So after some hard work in the surf it was safe to say Alex passed his BCU 3*.

Jersey Burger
Jersey Burger

The next day we took the ferry back. Even if we would have made the logistic plans to do a crossing back we could not go. Again the forecasts mentioned thunderstorms. Afterwards we saw that the thunderstorms, just like the day of the crossing, didn’t go any further than Saint-Malo, but you just cannot risk it on crossings.

(information about visiting Jersey below video and gallery – click here)

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For anyone who wants to visit Jersey:

Kayaking
If you want to go for a guided paddle or want to get any BCU certificates: jerseykayakadventures.co.uk

If you are not familiar with Jersey or these kind of coasts or lack experience we would strongly advice not to paddle out yourself. If you are skilled enough, know your tides and want to paddle with your own group the whole of the North,south-east and south-west coast are beautiful.

Every two year there is a symposium. However as Peter has been to Jersey several times we could make our own plans. As if you would book guided trips for yourself. If gives you more freedom and you are not depended on other paddlers. On the other hand it’s still good fun!

Walking
If you want to go for a guided walk: jerseywalkadventures.co.uk

If you want to do walks by yourself the whole north-coast has really nice footpaths. But according to Trudy from jerseywalkadventures.co.uk, one of the best walks is between Greve de Lecq and Plemont.

Pubs/Restaurants
We visited these locations and we can recommend them:
Seymour Inn (East-Coast) – Good food, nice people. Ask for a table in the Captains Bar. This is more quiet.
The Rozel Pub & Dining (North-East coast) – Good food and a running waitress!?
Les Fontaines Tavern (North-Coast near Sorel Point) – Good food, bit busy at times
Le Pulente (West-Coast) – Simple, small menu, but good food
The Hungry man (Rozel, North-East coast) – As long as it isn’t cold a great place to grab a quick bite.
Bonne Nuit Beach cafe (North-Coast) – Good food, you have to order at the counter. But they will bring the food to you. You can also eat Thai food there in the evening.