It seems as if we have launched from Bonne Nuit fairly regularly over the last couple on months, which is not a problem as it is always enjoyable. On reflection we have headed west every time, again not an issue as there is plenty of entertaining paddling along that stretch of coast. Today though as is the tradition on Remembrance Day we headed east to land in front of the Jersey Canoe Club cottage at Egypt.
Although we were there to observe two minutes silence we still experienced a surprisingly varied paddle and only covered a total distance of 4 nautical miles.
On the north coast of Jersey, is a small cottage known as Wolf’s Lair, which is maintained by the Jersey Canoe Club. It is located at Le Petit Port, a small rocky cove between Vicard Point and Belle Hougue. The cottage is located in the trees just above the small cliffs and it must be the most isolated building in Jersey. Although there is a good path running down from the cliff top, the easiest access, particularly if carrying equipment is by kayak.
On a warm summers morning there can be few finer places in the Channel Islands where to eat breakfast prior to starting a days paddling. Although the built in the early part of the 19th Century it was in the 20th Century that the most interesting events have taken place in its vicinity. During the Second World War it was the site of a landing by Allied troops on the night of 25th/26th December 1943. Operation Hardtack was led by Captain Phillip Ayton. Without seeing any Germans during their brief visit the leader was seriously injured when he trod on a mine and he was to later die from his wounds. A plaque commemorating the landing has been placed close to the entrance to the cottage.
The second dramatic event occurred in October 1964. The Jersey based motor yacht, Maricelia, left St Malo for St Helier. She was caught in storm force winds with a gust of over 90 knots in Jersey. In terrible conditions, near to Corbiere, the crew were thrown into the water, only Alison Mitchell survived. She was carried by the tidal streams and washed ashore in this little bay after nearly 20 hours in the water. She then managed to struggle up to Lower Egypt Farm, an incredible feat of endurance, from where the alarm was raised.
Today’s visitors should have a much calmer experience in this quiet corner of Jersey, which has a special place in local sea kayaking.
When sea kayaking in this area of the north coast of Jersey it is important to be aware of the historical significance of this little corner of the Island.