Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Jersey - Ooops!

Our last day on Jersey has finally arrived and thankfully it's back to lovely sunshine! The crowds at breakfast are beginning to diminish although the chatting doesn't seem to have( I would say that's a good thing!)
Keeking round corners

Tracey, happy when on water!
We couldn't manage the full day trip today, so we were on the half day leaving from Greve de Lecq. We joined about 24 other paddlers down on the beach before heading west round the rocky coastline, keeking into various different caves, sneeking between rocks.

Premium car parking spot!
Possibly not!

Once we reached our destination of Stinky Bay ( I don't think you'll find it under that name on the Jersey tourist board map!), aptly named, because, well, there was a slight whiff in the air, the wee blue sweetie bag made it's appearance.

The wee blue sweetie bag
It was then time to turn and head back to the cars.
Everything was going swimmingly well, that is until I decided to go swimmingly!
About to cut back through a couple of rocks, I had been watching the water, timing it, Ha! Just when I thought, right go! I did. Unfortunately for me, the water wasn't playing fair and decided to keep emptying. The nose of the boat got caught on a rock and I was left with not a lot below me! My brace kept me going for a while, well at least until I went over! I surprised some folks by going for a roll, but I always try a roll and I reckon after my lovely rolls the day before it would have been successful if it hadn't been for the fact that the front of my boat was still pivoting on a rock! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
There were a couple of issues which were bothering me as I was getting tossed around upside down.
1 - I need my boat in one piece, not taking it home in multiple carrier bags, I've still got the rest of my trip to go.
2 - I was in there with no helmet. I've been through rocks plenty of times and don't often wear a helmet, however seeing them this close up from underneath made me realise this should is something I should possibly rethink. I kept myself tucked in tight  but realised my boat was still hugging it's rock so I popped my deck and came out. The waves pulled me out, but then spat me back into the boily water. I was pulled back out again, was getting sooked back in again when a wave picked up my boat. All I saw was the big white hull of my boat in mid air flying towards me. I took a deep breath, realising I was going under, got on my back, bent my knees, stuck my feet up and got ready for a flying boat landing on me. Kicking the boat off me was enough to get it away from the swooshing water and over towards Ash, who managed to grab and empty it. I got on the front of another boat and over to Ash. I had one guy beginning to tell me how to grab deck lines and started to explain how to get rescued, by which time I was back in my boat with my deck back on, no point in hanging around. I looked round to see umpteen cameras on me, not that I've seen any of the photos!, but it's good to know kayakers get their priorities right - get some good action photos. Quite where Hubby dear was at this point, I'm not too sure, possibly checking whether he had the car keys or if I had them, in which case I'd need rescuing!  At no point did the swooshing water or flying boat bother me, being so close to the rocks with no helmet concerned me more.
I did entertain Tracey by pumping out my boat creating my own wee water feature.
Every boat needs a fountain
All too soon we were back on the beach, saying our goodbyes, then getting organised to catch the ferry.
We really have had a fantastic time down at the Jersey Symposium, meeting lots of like minded paddlers, trying out lots of different activities in flat calm conditions as well as very bumpy and fast moving conditions. Lots of good food, good beer, good ice cream, good company and a good crack the whole week! Huge thanks to everyone for organising the symposium and JCC for making everyone so welcome especially Tracey and Stef (fellow Scot!)
Thankfully the ferry was on time with a nice gentle sail back into Poole arriving at the back of 11pm.
It seems appropriate that this is my 100th post, ending one adventure and starting my next adventure on post number 101 on yet another island.
Leaving Jersey behind

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Jersey - rocks 'n' rolls

Slightly damp conditions

Tight squeeze

Tides turned, a bit more room!

Today is our penultimate day and is unfortunately chucking it down! So they do get rain in Jersey!
We made our way down to St Brelade's Bay to meet up with Natalie and the rest of the group to have a wee trip round to the bay at Rosiere for a spot of rock hopping, paddling  in, round, through and under the rocks with some spots turning into a watery highway with kayaks giving way to other kayaks going in all sorts of directions. It was then time to return for a bite of lunch before our afternoon session, still at St Brelade's.

Lots of wee nooks and crannies

It's no secret that rolling and me have somewhat parted company, so when a rolling session came up for that afternoon, I reckoned it wouldn't do me any harm to have yet another try at resurrecting my absent roll!
Health and safety seen this ladder?
Agnes stand up paddle kayaking!
Agnes and John took a group of us out into the bay, giving us more hints and tips. We all stated what sort of stage our rolling was at. I'm pleased to say I wasn't the only one with an AWOL roll. My partner Kay and I spent a wee bit time practising different exercises (Hubby dear was keeping his distance, I've had plenty personal rolling coaching/nagging from him!) Kay then went for a roll and managed a couple of times on one side, not the other. So with a bit of trepidation it was then my turn (Yes, I know, it's all in the head, but the more it goes wrong, the more I expect it to go wrong and as a result it will go wrong!!!) I really concentrated on slowing it all down and I came back up easily! funny how you just know it's right! So I decided to go on the other side, I came back up easily again! So maybe my mojo has returned! - until I need it!
Happy, frozen and soaking (did I mention I didn't have a drysuit with me?) I decided to call it a day and finish on a high.
The washing lines
After rinsing our kit and a hot bath to thaw out we then made our way over to Greve de Lecq for a BBQ. Thankfully the weather had returned to Jersey weather, dry and warm.
A lovely finish to yet another great days paddling!

A lovely selection of nosh!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Jersey - Tour de Rozel

Pretty Jersey Cows
After managing to find lovely Jersey ice cream every day, I was surprised at the lack of Jersey coos around the place. We had only seen the odd one or two, certainly not enough to supply all that ice cream. I always thought Jersey coos were pretty coos so I was pleased when, coming into St Helier, tucked in a wee field between a couple of houses, there they were hiding, lots of them!
Checking out how much tide has still to come in

Today's trip is out to the Tour de Rozel. We made our way along to St Catherines again, happy in the knowledge that with all those coos the ice cream shop with the big dollops at the top of the slipway wasn't about to run out of ice cream, something to look forward to at the end of the day!
Agnes took us for a gentle paddle out past the breakwater and up the coast towards Rozel. The water was lovely and calm when we stopped for some lunch. We finished lunch and the tide had turned, what a difference in the waters. Masses of water was swooshing at great speed through a narrow channel, playtime!

The water seemed to keep changing with the flow going one way and the waves coming from the side.

By the time we were to turn back home, we paddled further out and rode what was like a travelator all the way back down to St Catherines and of course our ice cream!
Yet another great day's paddling!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Jersey - Ecrehous and back - the long way!

Lots of bonsai paddlers!
 After having had another long and tiring previous day, I wasn't sure I was going to be fit today, but I'm always amazed at how good it is to get back in the boat and get the old joints moving again.
Our adventure today was to be a trip out to the Ecrehous, a lovely little group of islands about 6 miles from Jersey, a little further from France.
Getting closer

 Heading out past the long breakwater at St Catherines, we set off under the watchful eyes of John and Eric. It was quite sometime before we saw the first glimpses of the islands, but eventually they did come into view a bit clearer.
France off in the distance
The waters round the islands are beautifully clear, reminding me a little of the skerries round Arisaig except the beaches are pebbly.

We had a quick stop on the islands getting to have a wee keek into one of the houses whilst we were there.
Could be described as bijou!
 Big problem with the Ecrehous, no trees or bushes, and every rock you tried to hide behind seemed to be in full view of other visitors!!!

We were soon heading back out, cutting through the small outer islands then making for St Catherines again. One of the websites states the travel time from St Catherines to the Ecrehous is 15 minutes - not in our kayaks it wasn't, it took us almost 3.5 hours to return, thanks to the 5knot tide. We kept adjusting our angle, but we were still going to miss St Catherines. John said to aim for the castle at Orgueil, we'd paddle up the eddy from there. We seemed to have paddled for miles, seeing our destination and never quite reaching it, not much fun for me due to the aforementioned lack of hidey spots out on the islands! Hubby dear had paddled just ahead of me to help me out of the boat and I think must have announced my dilemma to everyone on the pier who seemed to jump out of my way as I sprinted (as best as I could!) up the hill to the loos.
We had a look at one of the paddlers GPS tracking thingies. A lovely straight line on the way across, but a HUGE curve on the way back. It really did show how strong the currents are there.
The good thing about this get out is the icecream shop at the top of the pier - massive dollops - fantastic!
We had to stop and have a look at the sandcastle built by Simon the sandwizard it was absolutely stunning!