Derek Hairon, a professional kayak guide from Jersey Kayak Adventures, shares his tips on secret bays to explore and escape to. Go afloat and look upon the horizon to rediscover what lies beyond each headland and rock. All is revealed to any who choose to look.
From my kayak, I enter another world. With a few paddle strokes I can slip around a headland into another space that is rarely constrained by man made objects. Even the light seems more intense and it’s easy to see why so many artists are inspired by our coastline. This is where the sounds of waves, wind and gulls takes precedence.
With so many superb kayaking locations around Jersey to choose from, sharing my favourite spots is unlikely to result in crowds of kayakers landing like invading armies onto these secret beaches. Even if others have visited, the incoming tide will wash away our footprints. Like our submerged coastal landscapes that are exposed to the fresh Jersey atmosphere, it’s a place for you too to come up for air.
South-east coast gullies.
Here, you really are kayaking on the seabed as you drift through a labyrinth of channels. Arrive at a cul de sac and you only need to wait a few minutes before the tide rises to allow you to continue on your journey. Paddle to Icho or Seymour Towers and wander across sandy beaches which will soon vanish beneath the ocean.
Even locals have trouble finding this little beach. Lying in the middle of St. Catherine’s Bay the coastline is full of surprises. There are many spots which are impossible to see from the road and at high tide there are lots of places to explore. Kayak beneath Mont Orgueil and view the castle from an invading armada’s perspective.
Grève de Lecq caves.
Once past Rouge Nez you’re into caving country. Beneath the cliffs lie a mass of caves waiting to be explored by kayak. Whatever you do only explore on days when there is no swell about. Some caves are very long and dark! Land at L’île Agois where there are caves and sea arches to explore on foot. This is a very quiet spot and it feels out of place to make sounds.
Beyond L’islet rock the sounds of cars and beach goers is sucked from the air. A couple of blow holes can chill you out by giving you a sea water shower as the swell sucks the ocean in and and then spurts it out. Further along is a small cave and sea arch to explore. Return at low tide and what was once beneath 20ft of water is now transformed into a sandy beach with the remains of a shipwreck. Beneath La Tour de Rozel is la Vert Vallet cove. This is a great spot to land and gather some beautiful wave rounded pebbles. There is also some remarkable marine life in a small cave from where you can also view the island of Sark.
Belcroute is often ignored by locals who prefer to head over to Ouaisné or the busy St. Brelade. Paddle towards St. Aubin and cruise into little coves where you’ll spot the remains of ancient diving platforms from the time when ‘bathing’ was the in thing. Towards Noirmont the coastline changes with a canopy of trees descending almost to the waterline. Around Noirmont the tide stream can be fast so ensure you know the tide times. At L’Ille Perchie there is a narrow channel and sea arch. You can then land on a little west facing sandy beach that was once used by boats to be loaded with quarried granite. This is a wonderful spot to laze on the smooth, sun-warmed granite boulders to watch the sunset and rebalance in the sea air.