South East Towers
The south east corner of Jersey is a unique marine environment which is frequently referred to as Jersey’s last wilderness. The sea retreats with amazing speed, particularly on spring tides, creating a fascinating sea kayaking playground. Swift tidal streams swirl around the isolated heads whilst numerous birds feed in the area.
Green Island is an ideal departure point as the tide floods, assisting the passage out to Icho Tower, which was flat calm on the day as opposed to previous visits when the westerly swell was breaking heavily on the surrounding reefs.
The tidal assistance was even more beneficial as we carried on towards La Conchiere, a navigation beacon which has been upgraded over the last 12 months. Pottering around the reefs is always entertaining and today it was followed by lunch on the platform in front of Seymour Tower, which gives an unusual perspective of the south and east coasts.
The temptation to linger is always strong, but as the tide dropped it was necessary to jump onto the tidal streams to avoid a long carry back at Green Island. Mis-timing your arrival in this area could be really inconvenient! A seal appeared on several occasions on the way back, they are not that common in Jersey waters so are always a pleasure to see.
What is great about this paddle is that it can be completed in a couple of hours at any time of the year, a delightful way to explore Jersey’s last wilderness.
Icho Tower is the more westerly of the two towers, built slightly later than Seymour Tower, in response to Napoleonic threats
La Conchiere Beacon was the most southerly point on the paddle, several miles offshore. On large spring tides the foreshore dries this far out. The familiar bent navigation pole which has survived for years was replaced this year with the south cardinal mark.
Jersey looks along way off when at the Conchiere.
On the way to Seymour Tower we passed another of the navigation marks in this area, Karame, easily identified by its top mark.
It was possible to land on the sand bank close to Seymour Tower. On a spring tide it would have disappeared and so landing would have been much more problematic.
Built as a result of the French invasion of Jersey in 1781, Seymour Tower is one of the classic landmarks off the south coast. Now managed by Jersey Heritage it is a great place to spend a night.
The inevitable photograph of the kayak on the beach. Looking towards Gorey and the east coast of the Island.