Ecrehous – a reef north east of Jersey

Located nearly 6 nautical miles north east of Jersey are Les Ecrehous.  Now I might be biased but I consider a visit to this reef one of the finest one day sea kayaking trips possible anywhere.  Last Saturday and Sunday as Storm Brian lashed the Channel Islands it seemed inconceivable that by Wednesday we would be heading out from St Catherine’s for a late October visit.
That’s is just what we were able to do yesterday.  A reasonably early departure from St Catherine’s Breakwater, so us taking advantage of the high water slack to cross the current, which in a couple of hours time would be endeavouring to sweep us sideways.  The tidal flow rates, weren’t going to reach the 5+ knots, that they can do on Springs, but they were still going to have an impact.
In the days of GPS and electronic plotters I am not sure how many people are still going through the process of laying off a course, producing vectors, using Portland Protractors and dividers etc every time they head out.  Certainly as kayakers operating in Channel Island waters it is a process that we have to go through every time we embark on an open crossing.  The chart work had produced a course of 25 degrees and the GPS was just used to monitor our possible drift.
The tide was running swiftly as we paddled around the end of St Catherine’s but the crossing to the Ecrehous seemed remarkably straightforward.  The 6 mile crossing taking 1 hour 20 minutes.  We had been hoping for some autumn sunshine, unfortunately it was a rather grey day.  The real bonus of the of the visit was that we had the reef to ourselves for most of the time that we were there, in complete contrast to a visit on a summer weekend when the reef can feel really crowded.
Heading back to Jersey the tide had a bit more impact on our progress but we still made it back, in plenty of time, for the inevitable coffee at St Catherine’s.

Ecrehous
Playing in the tidal race formed as the water runs over the shingle bank.
Ecrehous
Sheltering from the wind whilst having lunch.
Ecrehous
Looking north across the reef from near the bench.
Ecrehous
Waiting for the tide to drop so that we could walk to the north of the reef.
Ecrehous
Looking back towards Marmotier