Nearly 6 miles north east from Jersey, in the direction of the Normandy coast can be found a little piece of heaven. The Ecrehous are a reef of rocks, which are part of the Baliwick of Jersey and are a favourite destination of boat owners from both Jersey and France.
I first paddled to the reef towards the end of the summer in 1974 but 39 years on I still leap at the chance to head out across the water. On spring tides there are cross currents, which run at about 5 knots during certain hours of the tidal sequence so appropriate navigation is essential. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky to complete my 150th kayak trip to the reef.
Whenever my kayak heads through the outer rocks towards the main island I still feel the same excitement as I did all those years ago. A visit to the reef should be high on the wish list of any sea kayakers.
My first visit to the Ecrehous, the last Sunday in August 1974. Notice the general purpose kayaks and home made paddles. The kayaker is Derek Hairon who now runs Jersey Kayak Adventures.
The scene at the 1st Jersey Sea Kayaking Symposium in May 1992. Over 60 sea kayakers headed out to the reef that day, leaving from 5 different locations. Many of the main influences on sea kayaking were present that day, Frank Goodman, Howard Jeffs, Derek Hutchinson, Kevin Danforth, Duncan Winning, Dave Patrick, Gordon Brown etc. Visit number 49.
The first time I really used a GPS. Chris at the Ecrehous at the beginning on January 1997. Visibility was under 100 metres all day, it was a 38 feet tide, dark when we left Archirondel and dark when we arrived back. I have hardly paddled without my GPS since. This was visit number 62.
Looking across the main Anchorage from the bench. Jersey is visible in the distance.
One of the narrow passage ways which thread their way through the small buildings.
Flying back to the Island from Cherbourg we had this great view of Marmotier.
Dawn after a night spent sleeping on the shingle bank. I just love lying in my sleeping bag, next to my Nordkapp and watching the sunrise over the French coast.
A small tidal race on the east of the reef, France is just visible in the distance.
One of those unforgettable summer days. We are heading through the northern part of the reef in July 2011. This was trip 135
Celebrating with the odd bottle of champagne. Trip 150.
On our return to Jersey the following morning a number of bottle nose dolphins joined us in perfect conditions. The Ecrehous are visible behind.