It has been a weekend of kayaking contrasts, Saturday was very windy and sunny so we spent the morning paddling off the east coast. Heading south from St Catherine’s to Gorey where we stopped for coffee and cake. This is a section of the coast that we paddle most weeks during the summer months as it is the location for the Jersey Canoe Club Tuesday evening training sessions. In contrast we rarely paddle along this section of coast during the winter but it is a couple of miles steeped in history.
For over 40 years the Canoe Club has paddled every Sunday morning at a variety of locations around the Island. For the last 10 or 15 years the focus has been on using sea kayaks, hardly surprising as Jersey is a superb sea kayaking destination. Today was a throw back to the 1970’s and 80’s as we used smaller play boats, as we headed out from St Brelade’s. It was good to get out in the small kayaks as it gave us chance to hone our skills. So it really was a weekend of kayaking contrasts.
Today was the first day this year that I have been out kayaking off the east coast of the Island. It was just a gentle paddle around the area to the south of St Catherine’s, the base of Jersey Canoe Club. The breakwater is the most visible reminder of a grand project by the British Admiralty in the middle of the 19th century. It was due to join up with the southern arm, which was due to be built out, from the coast, close to Archirondel.
On the way south we passed the small cottage, L’Hopital, which was built as a hospital to meet the needs of the hundreds of workers who were employed on the construction of the breakwater. Today it is a private residence.
Continuing south the next obvious building has a potential role to play in the tourist industry. The red and white stripped Archirondel Tower. Built in 1792 as part of the Islands coastal defences against the French military it is currently been refurbished and it is hoped that it will be available for hire from Jersey Heritage in the Spring of 2018. This will be a perfect place for visiting sea kayakers to stay.
The small headland between Anne Port and Archirondel is interesting from a geological perspective, providing evidence of some volcanic activity in the distant past. The columnar rhyolites are easily visible from the sea but are missed by the thousands of people who drive along the road above.
Once past the rocks of the Jersey Volcanic Group we crossed Anne Port, a small bay, which must have seen more attempts at preventing coastal erosion than anywhere else on the Island. The authorities have used rock armour, cliff pinning, netting, beach replenishment, gabions and a sea wall to help prevent erosion, all is needed is a groyne and there would be pretty much every type of coastal protection.
L’Hopital is in a superb position, just above the shoreline.
The white building is the base of St Catherine’s Sailing Club. Originally it was the carpenters sheds whilst the Breakwater was under construction.
Looking into Anne Port. Some of the coastal defenses are visible at the rear of the beach.
Paddling past the columnar rhyolites at La Crete Point. There is a much better view from a kayak than from the road.
Arriving back at Archirondel. The end of a rather pleasant way to spend a March afternoon.