Buy a Jersey Kayak Adventures Christmas Gift Vouchers at a special discount this Christmas.
£25 per voucher. Save £12.50 Details
Saturday 14th December 2013 0900–1700. This may well be your last opportunity in Jersey to obtain the marine radio VHF certificate before the course changes on 1 January 2014. After this date you will need to do a 10 hour course which is expected to be more expensive. 3 places left. To book: Email. Call 07797853033
I’ve an Ocean kayak Supper pro and Prowler 13 with rod holders for sale second hand in Jersey this Autumn. Details
One of my favourite adventure activities in Jersey is to explore the many sea caves by sea kayak.
It is rare that you can sea kayak into Wolf’s Caves. You need calm conditions and the tide at the right height. If there is any swell about you could well find yourself having a bit more of an adventure than you bargained for.
In spite of a south force 4-5 blowing on the south coast of Jersey conditions at Bonne Nuit were calm so today’s adventure was to explore Wolf’s Caves.
Wolf’s Caves are at the bottom of the steepest and highest cliff on Jersey’s north coast and just below the Frémont Point TV mast. The caves are a little to the east of Cotil point and about a quarter mile from La Tete de Frémont Point.
The old Wolf’s Caves pub was one of those ‘traditional’ Jersey pubs which never changed. The décor seemed locked in the early 1970′s and was designed for one thing…drinking. There was even a large stuffed Wolf in a glass cabinet. This was our regular watering hole as teenagers, probably because we could get served without any questions asked about our age.
In Victorian and Edwardian times the descent to Wolf’s Caves below was very popular. The attraction was the large cave which is 20 metres deep. Today is only accessible by boat on a calm day. The path down to the caves is in a terrible state and descent is dangerous. Far better to arrive by sea kayak and explore the caves. Originally there was an iron ladder which gave access from the cliff-side, but this was removed by the Germans during the Occupation.
In Victorian times ladies would descend the very steep path to Wolf’s Caves and back up again in the ankle length, wide skirts which were de rigeur at the time. Their male counterparts would rarely be seen with out a suit and hat leading the ladies into the caves.
Once inside the cave there are three possible entrances. However, it is only possible to kayak in through one of these. One has traces of a cement path. There is a small shingle beach at the head of the cave which -at a squeeze- can just about be kayaked.
A legend of the origin of the name Wolf’s Caves is said to stem from the time when smugglers hid their booty in caves. In order to deter others from entering the smugglers are reputed to have made wolf noises. Personally I’m dubious of this suggestion because English was not widely spoken and most place names in Jersey are in French.
A further reason to doubt this explanation is due to the huge tidal range around Jersey which would seriously limit how long you could safely store contraband in a cave before it got washed away by the 12m tides.
An alternative reason for the origin of the name Wolf’s Caves may stem from the French word “Loup de Mer” or Wolf Fish. This can refer to the Sea Bass. However “Loup de Mer” can also refer to Monk Fish. Perhaps the caves were a good fishing spot.
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We can arrange custom sea kayak courses in Jersey. Earlier this year, Peter from Kola kayaking in Hanko Finland visited to undertake our custom intensive sea kayak training course. Peter’s aim was to gather a few BCU sea kayak awards so that he and his wife could offer more sea kayak adventure activities in Finland.
February and March might not seem the best time to undertake a sea kayak training course and to also bring a young family (2 and 4 years) over for 8 weeks. All ended up having a great time and were on the beach building sand castles most days no matter what the weather. The children came with some super winter/waterproof clothing which allowed us to take a 4 year old sea kayaking on a damp February day in a mini drysuit.
Compared to many UK sea kayaking destinations Jersey’s usually milder climate makes it possible to undertake a lot of sea kayaking around the coast. Add a few extra layers -or a drysuit (we can supply these to our clients) if you really plan to get wet- and Jersey has plenty of varied sea kayaking on offer.
For Peter and Sanna a bonus was that we had daylight and no snow. “After the first month of snow and darkness in Finland we’re had enough” said Peter. Within days of Peter leaving Jersey we were under the thickest blanket of snow seen in many years!
If you are looking at developing your sea kayak and leadership skills the BCU 4 star training and assessment course is a great opportunity. I can arrange these on custom dates. Add this into a personal kayaking development plan and it is possible to wisely spend your money getting a selection of BCU and other awards. Over the years we have had ‘long stay’ clients from Mauritius, Finland, Abu Dharbi, Oman and the UK using the winter months to ‘beef up’ their training with UK awards which are recognised as some of the best around for sea kayak guiding/coaching and skills benchmarks.
At the Canoe Expo Trade show in Germany there is lots of new sea kayaks and gear for 2014 to admire and maybe buy!
What is new for for the sea kayaker in 2014?
For the Sit inside sea kayaker there is the new Rockpool Taran Concept kayak, P&H Hammer for sea kayakers wanting to play in rock gardens and also a new P&H sea kayak with a very clever combined rudder/skeg system. Tiderace continue to display a range of impressive sea kayaks. Keep an eye on Tahe sea kayaks who now own French paddle company Egalis.
Sit on Top sea kayakers see the ending of P&H’s relationship with Feelfree and the launch of their Islay Sit on Top sea kayak in early 2014. I might be able to get a demo of what looks like it may be a rather nice kayak which may be a suitable replacement for the Scupper Pro which is becoming harder to obtain.
There is also a few sit on top fishing kayaks such as the Old Town Predator which is very much designed for the angler to stand up and cast from. I’m not sure just how feasible this is going to be around Jersey but am sure it is only a matter of time before we see one being used. Just don’t try and lift it yourself as it is very heavy and expect to pay lots of £s. Apparently it is being sold under the Old Town label rather than Ocean Kayak because it is aimed at the hunting/shooting sector in the USA. I guess that explains the name…
Kayak sailing. Lots of sail rigs on kayaks to be seen.
Standup Paddleboards continue to be a big area of development and there are now many inflatable designs.
The “Battle of the Paddle” SUP event in the USA attracted over 5000 spectators and loads of competitors. Large retailers are selling 10,000 SUP’s per year in the USA.
For me the big surprise is to find more womans sized wetsuits available and some buoyancy aids for woman paddlers at a better price than some currently sold in the UK. The surprising thing is that in the case of two European ladies wetsuit manufacturers they have been making womans style wetsuits for over 5 years.
I’ve also been looking a some new kayak paddles. The Core Paddles brand are very impressive and I may be able to bring back a demo. One advantage of attending a show like this is that it gives me the opportunity to speak with the manufacturers. In the case of Molly at Robson it looks like we may have sorted out some nice paddles for our clients to use and with luck we will have a couple dealerships so you can try and buy.
Finding useful resources for the BCU Foundation Safety and Rescue Training has been tricky. However, tucked away in a corner of the Canoe England and BCU I stumbled upon some handy resources.
If you plan to attend the BCU Foundation Safety and Rescue Training (FSRT) course there is now a selection of short videos showing key skills for the FSRT course. The FSRT is well worth attending for any paddler because it is a great hands on course covering lots of safety skills.
These short videos are well worth watching before you go for your FSRT or as a refresher. Having recently undertaken a BCU 4 star sea kayak assessment course we used some of the key principles used in the FSRT course to remind candidates of how to stay safe and assist.
I can run FSRT courses on Jersey.
Charter boat over to les Écréhous and then explore the reef by sea kayak. Extra date added: September 21 Saturday 0930-1630. £146 per person. 4 places left Details
Wednesdays 1000-1230. 6 classes 4 Sept -9 October. Details and booking