Parking: There is quite limited parking at Rozel, it is virtually impossible for a reasonable sized group to launch from here during the summer months. Leaving from here is best reserved for small groups and out of season. There is far more parking available at Bouley Bay. In neither Bay is payment necessary.
Refreshments: At Rozel there is The Hungry Man, a food and drink kiosk on the pier, which is virtually a Jersey institution. Slightly inland there is The Rozel Bay, pub which serves good pier and in the winter and a warm fire. Food is generally available at the appropriate times. During the winter months nothing is open at Bouley Bay, whilst in the summer “The Black Dog” pub is open and just above the beach there is a small refreshment kiosk “Mad Mary’s”. During the winter though you will need to be self sufficient when visiting Bouley Bay.
Rozel to Bouley Bay:
Although the route is described from east to west, at times, because of the parking, it might be more suitable to paddle from west to east.
The small harbour was built in 1829, partly to meet the demand created by the oyster fishing industry in Gorey. Once past the pier follow the coast north until it turns west and the views unfold. Ahead is the distinctive cone of Tour de Rozel, with its summit painted white as a navigation mark, resulting in its local name of White Rock.
En route to Tour de Rozel there are a couple of sheltered beaches, which are perfect stopping at when paddling around the Island or out on a day trip in the area. The rock type here is Rozel Conglomerate, Jersey’s youngest rock and one of its softest. When it erodes the edges remain sharp and therefore unfriendly to the hulls of kayaks. In the interest of looking after your kayak, avoid crashing onto the Conglomerate.
Tour de Rozel is a popular play spot for kayakers as a significant tidal race develops on the flood time. It is best to arrive just after low tide, the water will already be flowing in an easterly direction. Squeezed between the headland and the obvious rock, Demie de la Tour, just offshore. The tide will be flowing around the rock and increasing in speed quite rapidly. Enjoy the thrill of playing in the water whilst being in awe of the strength of the tidal flow.
There is a useful eddy behind the rock offshore and a large eddy to the east of Tour de Rozel, where it is possible to sit and gaze at the water hurtling past just several metres away. Once the offshore rock is covered the best of the race is over, and it’s probably best to jump on the tide and grab a free lift back towards Rozel. On large Spring tides the water can become surprisingly fast and confused, often beyond what most paddlers are comfortable playing in. The best advice is arrive early and finish whilst you still feel comfortable with the conditions. Be aware that on larger tides it will be impossible to paddle around Tour de Rozel, against the tidal flow, for several hours.
In close to the headland a reef runs out at right angles. It is clearly visible at low water, but as the tide rises the water will start to pour over the reef. As long as the swell isn’t too large standing waves can develop on this reef, offering an alternative play spot to the waves further offshore.
Once past Tour de Rozel you enter Bouley Bay, probably the largest Bay on the north coast. Just over a mile ahead will be seen the end of Bouley Bay pier, painted white. Although it is possible to take a direct route across the bay most people will find it more interesting to follow the coast.
There are a few inlets and gaps to explore, the exact ones dependent upon the state of the tide. Part of the way along the coast is L’Etacquerel Fort. Built in the 1830’s to help defend Bouley Bay from possible French invasion, it originally had 5 guns and is unusual that on the land side there is a dry ditch. The fort was refurbished in the first decade of the 21st Century and is now available as residential accommodation from Jersey Heritage. Sadly access from the sea is almost impossible, otherwise it would be perfect location for kayakers to stay.
Continuing west the cliffs steepen and in a couple of places, during the winter, there are normally a couple of waterfalls tumbling over the edge of the cliffs. Just to the east of La Tete des Houges, towards low water it is possible to see the remains of a ship, SS Ribbledale. It was wrecked on the 27th December 1926, whilst en route from London to Jersey. Parts of the boilers are clearly visible and if conditions allow you to paddle close to the rocks it is possible see other pieces of the ship.
Bouley Bay is a deep water, sheltered anchorage so at times there may be larger ships anchored offshore. If you happened to be paddling in this area in 1963, you might have been surprised to see the Royal Yacht Britannia, at anchor in the bay.
It is not far now, to Bouley Bay. The bay is probably the main destination on the Island for sub aqua, partly because of the clarity of the water and the relatively steep gradient of the beach. This means that Bouley Bay is the location on the Island with the shortest carry for kayakers.
The small pier was constructed in 1828 to help shelter some of the boats, which were operating as part of the oyster fishing fleet off the east coast. Today it provides a safe haven for some small local fishing boats. Above the pier is Fort Leicester, another of the islands military fortifications, which have been refurbished by Jersey Heritage, and is available for hire. The history of the fort can be traced back to the late 16th Century, when a single cannon was placed there to protect the bay from the French, until the main Fort was built in 1836. Final military modifications were the works completed by the Germans during the Second World War, including the addition of a searchlight.
The return trip from Rozel is approximately 4 nautical miles, the exact distance depending on how much time is spent playing in the tide race at Tour de Rozel.
Rozel 49º14.223’N 02º02.700’W
Tour de Rozel 49º14.640’N 02º03.132’W
Bouley Bay 49º14.373’N 02º04.877’W
Be aware that all the waypoints have been taken from a sea kayak, in a relatively close position to the location. The position may not always be appropriate for larger craft.
Along the north coast of Jersey the tidal streams have a Spring rate of about 4 knots in both directions. Off some of the headlands, local streams can reach higher speeds at certain times. The streams begin as follows (all times refer to HW St Helier):
Rozel to Bouley Bay