Jersey Kayak Adventures

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British Canoeing Sea Kayak Leader Training Courses 2018

December 28th, 2016

2018 British Canoeing Sea Kayak Leader Training dates.  Visit our 2018 Sea Kayak Leader Training dates page:

book now

Sea Kayak and equipment hire is included in the price.

Additional sea kayak leader training courses can often be added. Contact us.

Sea Kayak Leader Award

Explore the superb coastline of jersey on your 4-star sea kayak training course

Develop your towing and safety skills on our 4-star sea kayak courses.

The sea kayak leader (4-star) award is designed for sea kayakers who may find themselves leading/guiding groups of 4-5 paddlers on 6-8 mile journeys in moderate tidal waters (winds not exceeding force 4 and sea state 4).

This award is an excellent benchmark of your leadership and sea kayaking skills.

Increasingly, the sea kayak leader certificate is used as a standard for club leaders and centre staff to ensure they have a good level of paddle and safety skills to lead groups on the sea.

Even if you have no plans to lead/guide groups, our training course is a great way to develop your paddle skills in the superb moderate waters around Jersey.

We’ll explore the amazing coastline of Jersey with its caves, cliffs, rock gardens and surf beaches during the training course. With a tide range of almost 12m the coastline is never the same and there is a huge range of sea kayaking experiences to be had.

All the time you’ll be guided by our expert British Canoeing qualified coaches who are all local residents and have many years sea kayaking experience.

sea kayak in tide race. 4 star leader training

Tide streams and moderate tidal waters training

Add Extra Days to your Sea Kayak Leader Course

Our 2-day course covers the essential training elements of the Sea Kayak Leader (4-star) syllabus in some great tidal waters around Jersey.

Many paddlers add a couple of extra days to log more leadership hours and experience of sea kayaking in a new area.

You can also add extra days to complete the BC 3-star sea kayak and Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning modules which are pre requisites for the 4-star sea kayak leader assessment.

Sea kayaking in Jersey

4 star sea leader training Jersey

Explore the superb coastline of jersey on your 4-star sea kayak training course

An advantage of completing your 4-star sea kayak training course in Jersey is that there is a huge range of different paddling opportunities to experience all within 20 minutes travel time.

We are used to working with European and international clients and are happy to help ensure you have the correct pre-requisites in place for your 4-star sea kayak leader training and assessment.

Our French and German speaking staff and can assist with the translation of your certificates into English and give you advice on the completion of your Leadership Registration (LR) form which essential for anyone planning to complete the 4-star sea kayak assessment.

Fly from Gatwick and UK regional airports (Easyjet, BA, Flybe operate regular services all year). There are also good connections from European airports via Gatwick and direct flights from Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland in summer.

Regular high-speed ferry services operate from Poole, Portsmouth and St Malo (France) for those who prefer to use their own kayak.

Use our kayaks at no extra charge

Practice first aid skills in the outdoors

Safety training

Make the most of your time on Jersey by using our kayaks at no extra charge. Save yourself a long drive and fly to jersey. Many paddlers find that they can be on the water within a couple hours of leaving home so you can maximise your 4 star sea kayaking experience.

Choose from our range of sea kayaks which includes Valley Nordkapps, Avocets, Aquanaut, P&H Delphin, Hammer, Rockpool Taran, Tiderace pace 17, Venture Kayaks Esky 15, Epic V5 and V7.

All students will receive a Paddlers Performance Action Plan.

Additional sea kayak leader training course dates can often be added. Contact us for more dates.

Easter Sea Kayak Development Course

February 9th, 2016

Designed for the sea kayaker who wants to tune up their sea kayak skills while exploring the fantastic coastline and reefs around Jersey. Book day or multi-day options

March 25,26,27,28,29,30. 1 April

Sea Kayaking in Fog. Be Prepared

May 12th, 2015
Derek hairon. Les Ecrehous sea kayaking P1110887

Derek at les Ecrehous, Jersey

Yesterday was a great day to get out sea kayaking in Jersey. A 5 nautical mile offshore trip to les Écréhous off the north east coast of Jersey in our fast sea kayaks looked a good idea. We set out from Archirondel off the east coast with a calm sea, good visibility with barely any wind.

“I can see some grey shadows over there” said Mick. The “shadows” turned out to be a small pod of Dolphin feeding about 1 mile south east of les Écréhous.

It felt cooler once we’d stopped paddling so the extra bits of clothing and paddle jackets we’d packed proved to be a good idea. I later learned that two kayakers dressed in light clothing had been rescued off the south east coast of Jersey after one had fallen in and could not get back into the kayak. On May 11th the sea temperature was 11.5 degrees. Without extra clothing you soon lose your ability to perform a rescue so dress -or be prepared- for immersion.

sea kayaks at les ecrehous, jersey. Rockpool Taran

Mick at les Ecrehous, jersey

An evening snack while sitting on a bench looking back towards Jersey was a chance to enjoy the peacefulness of this wonderful place. We were the only people on the les Écréhous apart from a couple of yachts on the moorings.

As we sat on the bench Mick spotted another shadow. This time it seemed to be forming along the north coast of Jersey. Just a bit of haze we thought at first but as we watched it gradually crept eastwards.

After 20 minuted paddling the “shadow” had changed into a fog bank and visibility was less than 100m. At times Mick was starting to look a bit hazy so it must have been even less visibility. The last time I’ paddled in these conditions I was on a 5 hour crossing when the had been due to lift but instead remained around us for almost the entire trip. We could hear aircraft on their approach into Jersey airport repeatedly trying to land.

Sea kayaking in the fog back to Jersey

Sea kayaking in the fog back to Jersey

For the next hour we cruised across a mirror like sea on a compass bearing of 240 degrees which we’d calculated would allow for the south east running stream. Sounds of vehicles and aircraft drifted through the fog but they seemed to come from all directions. If you stopped for a moment our kayaks ended up pointing in all directions. Without a compass and a bearing to steer we’d have been in trouble.

We had a GPS was on board. However, we had a compass bearing, and knew our speed was about the same as usual. Some kayakers find there speed drops when they enter fog or head offshore so this is something which might alter the route plan and timings. In our case paddling in fog just added a nice dimension in what was still excellent sea conditions. There seemed little need to use the GPS until we were around or just past our estimated time of arrival. Jersey is also quite a large island to miss -though I know a few who have ended up well off course due to the tide streams and by not trusting a small bit of magnetised metal.

Fog lifting over Jersey at sunset

Fog lifting over Jersey at sunset

Finally the fog lifted 1 hour 20mins after it enveloped us. Directly ahead of us was our target, St Catherine’s breakwater.

Elsewhere around Jersey the fog was very thick while in other areas visibility was very good.

A superb trip which shows how important it is to carry a few basic bits of kit especially when heading away from shore. In these conditions even crossing a bay would have been a challenge without a compass. A compass was an essential item along with a spot of trip planing with a chart. A GPS was just an extra aid but with lots of previous paddling practice at night and in poor visibility it was just an extra safety device.

We had a VHF but were in the strange VHF marine radio “blackspot” that seems to be around St Catherine’s bay and missed a call from the Coastguard which we only learned about when we called in by mobile phone after landing. A good reason to carry a couple methods of communication.

A great trip so long as you have a compass and the right gear.

We run a range of intromediate and advanced sea kayak courses in Jersey

Derek Hairon

Essential Sea Kayaking Skills and Leadership Development Courses

March 3rd, 2014

Develop your paddle and leadership skills while exploring the fantastic coastline of Jersey over 4 or 5 days. Improve your sea kayaking skills in a range of conditions along with trip planning and safety and rescue techniques.

Easter dates: April 18-21 or April 21-24 Easter offer £300 with kayaks and kit available. Courses

Jersey Sea Kayaking Guide

January 20th, 2014

Jersey Sea Kayaking. A guide to the top places to sea Kayak in Jersey

jersey caves

Devils hole caves

Arrive on Jersey and things look British. The cars drive on the left, the people speak English and all the usual high street retailers are in the capital of St Helier. It all looks rather familiar.

Gradually you begin to notice that things are not quite what they seem. The currency is sterling, but there is a watermark of a cow instead of the Queen on Jersey bank notes. Car number plates carry long numbers and drivers seem to spend most of their time stopping to let people out of minor roads or playing “No, no, after you” at mini roundabouts called filter in turn. The more you look, the more you realise that you are no longer in England.

When you get lost travelling around the island (and “when” is the correct word to use), the labyrinth of lanes is confusing. Stop a local for directions and road names become a verbal challenge, as you try to pronounce the Jersey French place names. I’ll leave you to decide how to pronounce Le Ouaisné or St Ouen. Place names also vary between maps.

Independence and war

sea kayaking beneath Mont Orgueil Castle

Mont Orgueil Castle

Jersey is largely independent from the UK and sets its own taxes. Laws are based on Norman customary law, so do not assume the same laws of the UK – or “mainland” as the locals like to refer to the UK – apply. An example is that local kayakers are legally required to have their contact phone number written on their sea kayak, though visiting paddlers are exempt. This is probably good practice in case you underestimate the speed the tide rises around Jersey and return from a stop at one of the many excellent beach cafés to find your kayak has drifted away.

Though Jersey is geographically much closer to France than the UK, the island is loyal to the British crown. This dates back to Norman times when the Channel Islands became part of the English realm in 1066.

In 1204 King John lost Normandy to the French kingdom. Jersey and Guernsey though remained with the English crown. To all extents the islands were Norman and with Normandy visible on the horizon, it would have been easy to switch sides and join France. The geographical position of Jersey made it a strategic asset whenever England was at war with France. To keep Jersey on the English side King John poured huge amounts of money into Jersey for its defence and granted the island more independence. In return the island became the front line for English forces and a haven for privateers. At every bay and headland you will see 18th and 19th century British fortifications.

sea kayaking the north west coast of Jersey

Exploring the North west coast. Range control tower at Gros Nez

In 1940 the Channel Islands were occupied by the Nazis and Jersey quickly became an almost impregnable fortress. All the Channel Islands were more heavily fortified than any other coastal region in Europe and this level of fortification far outweighs the strategic importance of the islands to the Nazis. Around 10% of the entire Atlantic wall defences were constructed in the Channel Islands.

By 1944 an incredible 244,000 cubic metres had been excavated compared to 255,000 cubic metres for the entire Atlantic wall in Europe. The Führer greatly prized the islands in part because he had captured the oldest possessions of the English Crown. Hitler even ordered that all plans for the islands must be sent to him personally for approval. By 1943, 42,800 Germans were based in the Channel Islands – equivalent to two thirds of the civilian population.

Sea kayaking in Jersey

Jersey’s rich maritime history today manifests itself in the vast number of boats moored in the small harbours. For the Jersey-man owning a boat is almost a constitutional right, and as you drive around the island, it seems that if you don’t have a surf board, SUP or kayak on your car or in your garden you’re probably a visitor.

Jersey tides

sea kayaking into caves at Bouley bay

Jersey has a large tidal range so there is always plenty to explore.

Jersey has big tides of up to 12.5m. Get your timings wrong and the tide streams will easily send you backwards. On spring tides a rise of up to 3” per minute is common.

That’s not to say that Jersey is only suitable for experienced kayakers. Much depends on selecting the best location based on the wind and tide streams – which is a good reason for the less experienced paddler to get afloat with a local kayak company.

There are plenty of bays and coastline to explore and discover on an island of 45 square miles. If conditions are unsuitable on one coast, it is usually possible to paddle on the opposite side of the island, which is usually only a short drive away. And the big tidal range means, you can paddle a coastline which appears completely different within a few hours . This means the return trips are never boring, and if you time the tide streams right you will get assistance both ways.

Along with a good chart the States of Jersey 1:25,000 map and a copy of the Admiralty tidal stream atlas NP264 are essential items.

Apres paddling

There is a huge choice of accommodation on the island ranging from camp sites to 5 star hotels and lots of other activities and sights to visit when not kayaking. Wild camping and sleeping in camper vans at local bays is discouraged, so you may wish to opt for a hotel, B&B or camp site.

The southeast coast of Jersey

Seymour tower. kayaking the gullies

Sea kayaking on the seabed. Low tide in the south east coastal gullies of Jersey

The intertidal zone in the southeast coast is remarkable. Select the right tide and this is literally a paddle on the seabed with many different habitats. Since 2000 the area is an internationally designated Ramsar wetlands site.

During the third hours of a spring tide the rise and fall is around 3” per minute, so on the ebb tide you need to get your timings right, unless you like long portages up the gullies. Alternatively bring a set of kayak wheels with you.

Start at the old lifeboat station in St Helier Harbour. If it is a big low tide, expect to wade through ankle deep harbour mud.

To the north of the Dogs Nest (Le Nic ès Tchians) on a big low tide is the wreck of the SS Diamant (sunk 1942); this reef can be exposed to a south west swell.

Aim 0.5km south of Green Island (3km distant) for La Sambue channel. Initially this looks like a mass of rocks, but you soon notice routes appearing and your speed will increase as the flood tide rushes between the reefs. From now on you will be going with the flow as if on a travelator. This is when river techniques come in handy.

As you cross St Clement’s Bay slipping down gullies like a Mackerel going with the flow, observe the seabed and the jungle of seaweeds (most are edible). The deep water Laminaria releases an iodine like smell; there are records of Laminaria being used as a dressing for wounds during the Nazi occupation.

sea kayaks at Seymour tower

Seymour Tower. Built in 1782 to defend against attacks by the French

La Rocque Harbour was the site of the French invasion led by Baron De Rullecourt on 5th January 1781. The British garrison wrongly assumed the treacherous reefs of the Violet Bank would stop any landing. De Rullecourt, however, had local knowledge from a somewhat dodgy character named Pierre Journeaux.

At midnight 26 boats sailed up the main gully, the nine militiamen on guard had been celebrating Twelfth Night, so they were in no fit state to detect the 700 men. The French attack was finally defeated after a brief battle in St Helier.

A metal safety tower (0.75 km east of the harbour) is a good target, as the water will be flowing through dozens of small channels by now. Take care if you climb the tower as the tide rapidly covers the shingle spit.

A detour out to Seymour Tower (1782) is worth doing before the tide gets too high. You can stay over a tide on the parapet. Sleeping inside the tower, which is fitted out with bunk beds and cooking facilities, must be booked in advance with Jersey Heritage or Jersey Walk Adventures. The view is superb and you may see gannets fishing.

If you have time paddle out to Karamé and La Conchière beacons and the Violet Bank. There is a good chance of seeing seals here though you will now be 4 km offshore and tide streams run fast.

seymour tower and kayaks

1 mile offshore

From Seymour and La Rocque it is a straight run across La Baie du Vieux Château to the busy harbour village of Gorey with plenty of places to eat and enjoy a pint.

Oysters galore

Until 8000 years ago it was possible to cross to France on foot. As the sea rose shallow lagoons formed off the east coast of Jersey, which were perfect for oysters. In the 19th century oyster fishing developed into a huge industry. This led to the construction of most of the small Harbours around Jersey at an average cost of between £2500-£3000 per Harbour.

The high levels of extraction were unsustainable and the oyster stocks had collapsed by 1872.

Gorey to Bonne Nuit Bay

white water sea kayaking in tide races off jersey

Tide race at La Tour de rozel

From Gorey a north going stream runs between Le Nez du Château rocks beneath Mont Orgueil castle. Few people get the chance to see the castle from this angle, so it is worth looking up, while you try a few ferry glides.

Instead of paddling directly to St Catherine’s breakwater follow the coastline, which is best paddled around high tide. Archirondel Bay marks the start of the Rozel Conglomerate, a product of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.

The slip at St Catherine is a handy take out and is next to the Jersey Canoe Club boathouse. It’s worth contacting the club in advance for advice and the opportunity to paddle with club members.

Unless you are in a rush, explore the usually deserted bays of Fliquet, La Coupe and Scez as you head to Rozel. The small harbour has long been the departure point for fishermen (and smugglers). Onwards to Bouley Bay the inshore route has many tiny coves to explore. There are also plenty of rock gardens of varying technical levels.

La Tour de Rozel (or White Rock) is a well known tide race and play spot, which works best on the rising tide (east going stream). If the overfalls are big at La Tour they will be even bigger off La Belle Hougue point.

Beneath La Tête des Hougues is the wreck of the SS Ribbledale which ran aground during a storm in 1926 and is visible at low tide. All that remains is the engine and boiler after the ship was broken up for scrap metal.

Le Petit Port or Égypte is a tiny cove with an ancient guardhouse that is maintained by the Jersey Canoe Club as a bothy style accommodation (for hire).

Survival at sea

sea kayak among rock gardens in Jersey

Rock gardens

On 9th October 1964 Jersey was battered by westerly 94 knot winds. During the storm the yacht Mariecelia was found abandoned off Noirmont Point on the south coast. There was no sign of the five people on board and a search ensued.

On the 10th came news that 14 year old Alison Mitchel had survived. Having abandoned the ship one by one her companions drowned. After being swept around Jersey for 18 hours she struggled ashore at Égypte, her body so swollen by the seawater, she could only see by forcing her eyes open with her fingers.

La Belle Hougue and unexploded bombs

Between La Colonbine and La Belle Hougue the coast shows off some fascinating geology and a narrow gully in Les Ruaux can often be paddled.

La Belle Hougue Caves lie in the gully below the viewing point and can be explored on foot in very calm conditions. Take care as you scramble over the rocks as I once found a large unexploded German shell here. Paddling against the stream around Belle Hougue on a big tide is difficult unless you are prepared to handrail the coast and use every tiny promontory as a breakout.

Bonne Nuit

rock hopping in sea kayaks

West of Bonne Nuit is “The Toilet” where you can get flushed through!

At the entrance of Bonne Nuit Bay Le Chaval Guillaume rocks once formed part of the St John’s day celebrations (24th June). Back in 1792 Phillipe Dumaresq wrote: “For years an old custom has drawn … people to enjoy the insipid amusement of being rowed in a boat around a rock. That done, there is nothing to do but to drink gin and cider.” Dumaresq decided to liven this event up with a two day fair. This became so popular it was closed down by the authorities for being “contrary to good morals”.

Bonne Nuit is the finishing point for the annual Sark to Jersey rowing race. The single seat rowing boats make the 28 km (15 nm) crossing in around 2 hours. Currently sea kayaks are not permitted to enter the race.

Greve de Lecq caves

sea kayaking in caves at Greve de lecq in Jersey

One of the many caves near Greve de lecq

The harbour is a good example of how things were not always built to last in the past. Constructed in 1872 it collapsed within 13 years. Above the bay though is a late Iron Age promontory fort. The headland is a popular spot for Jersey’s national sport of “cliff jumping” as well as coasteering.

Rounding Rouge Nez are some of the best sea caves in Jersey. Entry to each cave varies depending on the height of tide. Half tide gives some of the best opportunities to explore the caves, some of which are up to 100m deep. Check there is no swell running and keep an eye for sudden changes in swell height unless you fancy some advanced rescue practice.

Look out for lengths of rope and even ladders leading down to rocky ledges along the coast. They are used to access good fishing spots – fishing in Jersey can be an extreme sport.

caves near greve de lecq

One of the huge sea caves in Jersey

Beyond L’ île Agois, a small islet with narrow gullies and a sea arch, the cave entrance at La Touraille (Devil’s Hole) is tricky to find. It lies just below the line of the small valley and before the path swings west. Though facing north east there is often a swell inside this cave, which opens into a large amphitheatre complete with tourists looking down on any kayakers. The name Devil’s Hole is reputed to come from when a ship’s figurehead was washed into the cave in 1851. A statue of a devil was adapted from the figurehead by Captain Jean Giffard “Stonemason, self-taught stone-carver, Prison guardian, Master Mariner and reputed smuggler” and erected above the Devil’s Hole as an attraction. The statue was regularly ‘borrowed’ as a prank in the 19th and early 20th century and would reappear outside the local newspaper office in St Helier.

In calm conditions you can approach a small waterfall at the end of La Vallee de Mourriers. Continue round Sorel Point towards Le Cormoran Rock. Nearby is Wolf’s Caves. The unsafe cliff path descent is now closed, but you can land at low tide on the boulders and enter a tiny entrance on the right at base of the cliff. Around half tide it is possible to paddle into the cave system via an entrance between Cotil Point and the boulder beach. 100m further east are some excellent rock gardens known by local paddlers as “The Toilet” because you get flushed through them.

Gros Nez

Head west beneath the cliffs from Greve de Lecq to La Tête de Plémont. Check it is not the Puffin breeding season as a voluntary 100m exclusion zone exists. From a few hundred birds in the 1920’s Puffin numbers have plummeted. It is suspected that this is a result of rats, wild cats and perhaps the arrival of Fulmars, who have colonised traditional Puffin nesting spots.

Le Creux Gabourel is one of the few caves to have a sandy beach. Above the entrance of the cave, wedged into the roof are rounded boulders from when sea levels were 8m higher.

exploring caves by sea kayak in jersey

Le Creux Gabourel

The small cove of Le Petit Plémont (with evidence of boat moorings on the rocks) is a good spot to assess the tide race and swell off La Tête de Plémont. There can be a huge difference in the swell size once you round this headland.

Plémont Bay or La Grève au Lanchon (lanchon the Jersey French name for sand eel) has some caves and a very good café. The beach is completely covered above half tide.

This section of cliffs beneath Gros Nez castle is rarely paddled by local sea kayakers because it is quite exposed and it is rare not to have some swell about. As you approach the sea stack known as La Vie, there is a sea cave with two entrances which can sometimes be paddled. 300m west of Plémont beach (and above sea level) is La Cotte à la Chèvre, where some of the earliest Palaeolithic remains of habitation in Jersey were discovered.

At the base of the cliffs below the Nazi range control tower lie the remains of some heavy artillery guns which are visible at low tide. At the end of the occupation the guns were dumped over the cliff. Some have been recovered and can be seen at Noirmont Battery.

Le Pinacle Rock is an important archaeological site with Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman remains. For more than 4500 years this imposing rock which resembles a huge Menhir (standing stone) captured the imagination of the inhabitants of Jersey as a very special place. A narrow cave runs beneath the headland.

Kayak surfing

La Baie de St Ouën is an excellent surfing beach and it is not until you are near La Pulente that you may find a relatively sheltered landing. In large surf it is a good idea to head inside the reefs towards La Rocco tower and land at La Pulente.

If you are planning on surf kayaking, you are required to have third party insurance such as is provided through BCU membership.

La Pulente and La Corbière

La Corbière and sea kayak in rough water

La Corbière

This area has many reef breaks, so you’ll need to keep a close watch on the wave patterns and keep a good distance apart. Victor Hugo (who lived in Jersey 1852–1855) described this area as the ‘herdsman of the waves’. I’ve seen sea kayaks go airborne here, as paddlers frantically dash beyond the swells, and this is also where tow ins (surfers are towed in to catch huge swells by jet ski) may take place …

Landing at the La Corbière lighthouse is tricky, as a tide stream runs over the causeway on both the flood and ebb tides. The causeway is a great spot for ferry glides and overfalls occur off the western end of the lighthouse.

There are numerous shipwrecks in this area, the most recent was the St Malo high speed ferry in 1995 with 307 passengers. The captain was attempting a tricky inshore passage as a short cut. Fortunately all were rescued.

St Brelade heading west

sea kayaks at Beau Port

Beau Port

There is a sea stack at Les Jeteuses below Beau Port battery. The gun battery is one of 13 that defended St Brelade bay from French attack. Le Beau Port is a jewel. On a sunny day the bay takes on a Mediterranean feel and often has a few luxury yachts at anchor. The red granite cliffs along this part of the coast have a wonderful warm feeling.

The cliffs continue from Beau Port to La Corbière with many small caves and sea arches that are easily missed, if you stay further offshore. There are a couple of peregrine falcon nests at La Grosse Tête and Trespass point (La Tête) and lots of bird life around Les Leaux de Ficquet.

A little offshore, Les Caînes reef was the site of the grounding of the SS Roebuck in 1911, when travelling in thick fog at 17 knots the steamer ran onto the reef. A subsequent inquiry suspended the somewhat accident prone Capt Le Feuvre’s master’s ticket for only three months even though it was the second time he’d hit rocks off Jersey. In 1897 he’d lost his ticket for six months after the Ibex, which was racing a rival vessel, hit rocks off La Corbière.

sea kayaks near Portelet

Cave with a view

Near Point La Moye is a large cave. On the cliff top is a huge hole which some locals recall once worked like a whale spout in storms. You can paddle into this cave, but look out for the swell from passing boats. Inside, you can see the remains of a few old cars that used to be pushed into the hole until the 1960’s. From Point La Moye to La Rosière there are numerous channels and stacks. The granite wall at the base of the cliffs in La Rosière was constructed in Victorian times as a tourist path into the caves.

The large tidal range makes the return trip very different and worthwhile.

The you-can-do-it-here island

With such a huge range of sea kayaking opportunities on Jersey this brief guide has not even covered the offshore routes to Les Écréhous, Les Minquers, Sark and beyond.

Apart from excellent kayaking the small island also offers an astonishing variety of things to do and visit – be it walking, coasteering or explore neolithic dolmen, a mediaeval castle and romantic harbours with inviting restaurants, not to forget friendly shopping precincts.

Landing at les Ecrehous

Landing at les Ecrehous

Add that there are regular high speed ferry links and flights from most regional airports, and you may well be out sea kayaking the Jersey coastline quicker than if you were driving to some “Mainland” paddling destinations.

Derek Hairon

This article was originally published in Ocean Paddler. View as a pdf.

Les Minquiers sea kayaking trip. Offshore sea kayaking in Jersey

August 7th, 2013
les minquiers

Maitresse ille

On Wednesday I had the pleasure to sea kayak 12 miles south of jersey to les Minquiers, the most southerly part of the British Isles.  If you have sea kayaked the 6 miles across to les Écréhous the kayak trip to les Minquiers is a much bigger commitment. Jersey looks small on the horizon -though you can still see les Marais flats and the new Portelet development…!

Expect to be 6 miles from land at some stage. This can be pretty disconcerting for some paddlers and really makes you feel very small and insignificant. Personally I find this to be one of the best bits of the trip. A moment when you are surrounded by nothingness and just the sound of nature surrounds you. This is where I head when in search of silence.

Spotting the tiny islet of Maîtresse Île can be a bit tricky so you need to be pretty sure of your navigation.

1 mle from les Minquiers tide streams go in all directions

1 mle from les Minquiers tide streams go in all directions

Expect cross tide streams but nearer les Minquiers and around the Demie de Vascelin buoy the tide streams go in all directions. I’ve paddled here and had a south going stream while 100m away the stream was racing northwards.

I was with Mark who was making his first crossing to les Minquiers. We were staying in the harbours hut. It’s pretty basic but has a great view. We’d taken bivvi bags along as well because there was some question as to whether we’d been given the right key. Our first turn of the lock was not encouraging but with the aid of a Leatherman tool we got the lock to open. The hut may not be 5 star accommodation but it has a great view of the sun rise.

Jersey is a small place and you can’t get away from bumping into someone you know, even on les Minquiers. Around 2100 Jerome, a local guide, turned up in his RIB. Earlier mark announced the arrival of three French sea kayakers who’d paddled over form Chausey and were en route to Jersey. I’d previously met one of them as well!

The most southerly toilet in the British isles

The most southerly toilet in the British isles

On our return I spotted a Sunfish lazing about on the surface and doing just what it name says – lying in the sun.

Weather-wise it was pretty mixed. A southerly 4 on the way down did not really decrease until well after our arrival and was certainly “resistance training”. The wind later dropped and the sun came out for the rest of the day. Next morning it was still calm and only once we passed the Vascelin buoy did the wind increase to a 3-4 from the west with a reasonable swell running.

This really is a remote place where nature rules. Even the seagulls strut about with attitude and look at you with a “You looking at me mate…” attitude.

If you do not feel up to the open sea crossing to les Minquiers I also arrange boat crossings to the reef so you can kayak and explore this remarkable place and even spend a penny in the most southerly toilet in the British isles!

les minquiers  harbours hut

The harbours hut on les Minquers can be hired

Details about our charter boat sea kayak trips to les Minquiers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunfish in jersey

Sunfish. A summer visitor around Jersey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Finnish kayaking company plan kayak tours on Jersey

March 6th, 2013
Waterfall at le mourier valley,Jersey

Waterfall at le mourier valley. There has been plenty of rain this winter

February and March may not seem like the best months to undertake an intensive sea kayak course in Jersey with BCU 4 star sea kayak training/ assessment. However, if you are coming from Finland with low temperatures and short days Jersey probably seems semi tropical.

Intensive sea kayak courses

Jersey Kayak Adventure director Derek Hairon is working with Peter & Sanna Forsstrom from Finish sea kayaking company Kola Kayak to develop their sea kayak skills, so they can run more advanced sea kayak tours and coaching courses in Finland.

While on Jersey Peter has completed a range of British Canoe Union sea kayak awards including the BCU 4 star sea kayak leader course, while Sanna is working towards her kayak coach award. Both have been exploring the superb coastline of Jersey by sea kayak.

The advantage of training in Jersey is that there is a huge range of sea kayaking opportunities for all abilities and it is easy to select the best venues without having to travel long distances. “internationally British kayak awards are held in very high esteem, and having trained on Jersey Peter and Sanna have spotted the fantastic advantages of the island” said Derek Hairon.

Easier travelling

sea kayakers in la tour de rozel tide race

BCU 4 star sea kayak leader training

Travelling to Jersey from Finland (and many places in the UK and Europe) is faster than you’d expect. Peter, Sanna and their two young children (aged 3yrs and 15 months) took less than 7 hours to fly to Jersey. “That’s a lot less than when we went to Cornwall last year” said Peter.

The weather has not proved a barrier for the family, who are used to very cold conditions. When not kayaking the family has been out and about exploring the coast and beaches.

As a result of their stay Jersey Kayak Adventures is teaming up with Kola Kayak to arrange sea kayak holiday courses for paddlers and adventure seekers from Finland during the shoulder seasons. “With the cold winters and short days Finnish people love to take an autumn or early spring break” said Peter.

Plenty to do on Jersey but where’s the sauna?

north coast of jersey sea kayaking near Sorel point

Sanna sea kayaking in February

The couple is spending almost 8 weeks on Jersey with its two young children and has been impressed with the range of facilities and resources on such a small island.

The island’s fresh produce and seafood have inspired Sanna to learn how to prepare seafood dishes – as a result of attending a master class organised by Daniel, the chef at Bracewell’s Restaurant in St Aubin.

Peter’s one criticism of Jersey is that there is a serious lack of saunas. “It’s like your love of BBQ’s. In Finland everyone has a sauna and you can even buy portable ones” said Peter.

How to prepare for the BC Sea Kayak Leader (4-Star) Award & Course Dates

February 10th, 2013

2018 BCU (4-Star) Sea Kayak Leader training and assessment courses are listed here.

Our top tips for the British Canoeing (BCU) 4-star sea kayak leader award will help you get the most from your training and assessment course.

Dates and information about our advanced kayak courses and multi-day kayak trips.

This article isn’t called how to PASS your four star sea kayak leader assessment – that’s down to you, and how you prepare, but by following these top tips and ideas written by Phil Hadley (with a few of my updates) it should help you in your consolidation between BC (4-star) sea kayak leader training and assessment.

Note: The British Canoe Union (BCU) is now called British Canoeing (BC). From April 2017 the 4-star sea kayak award is called the Sea Kayak Leader (moderate or advanced water) award to reflect the content of the course.

The British Canoeing (4-star) Sea Kayak Leader training course

Sea kayak 4 star leadership training.Jersey.

Leadership training

Your training course will be a good start on your path to a successful assessment, but there is no way, in two days you are going to learn everything required. The training course can only really give you an idea of what is expected of a sea kayak leader and help you to formulate your own action plan in order to get you ready to achieve that.

Very few people can turn up to a two-day training then rock up to an assessment without doing anything in between and expect to pass – not unless you have loads of prior experience.

Go into your training with an open and enquiring mind, ask lots of questions, engage in meaningful discussions with the provider and the other candidates – be that ‘information sponge’ thirsty for knowledge!

Make sure that your basic skills are honed and that you are at your very best before the training, if you are constantly trying to keep your boat on track you aren’t going to be taking on all the information about leadership and group management. It’s difficult to concentrate on the subtleties of leadership strategies when you’re in survival mode!

Hopefully, you should come away from your training with an idea of your strong points, and more importantly what you need to work on. This is where the real work starts!

Sea Kayak Leader Training & Assessment Dates.

Make an action plan

sea kayak incident management on a rocky beach.Jersey

Incident management skills

The first thing is to reflect on what you have learned and to write down an action plan, formulate some goals and set yourself time limits on when you aim to achieve these goals. (At Jersey Kayak Adventures  all students leave with a personal action plan).

Be specific – ‘I want to improve my paddling’ doesn’t have the same meaning as ‘I need to improve my draws on the move on my left-hand side!’

Keep in touch with your training provider, discuss your action plan and improvements with them, some may be willing for you come along to observe others being coached.

Providers often need ‘mock’ students for assessments so offer to be one of these, it’s a great way to see different styles of leadership, see where the ‘benchmark’ is – who passes, who doesn’t, and it’s a great insight into how an assessment works. Don’t be afraid to drop other 4-star leader providers a polite email, most are more than willing to give advice and possibly assist in your development.

Syllabus, Training and Assessment Notes for BC Sea Kayak Leader

sea kayak rough water and tide race training.Tour de Rozel.Jersey

Sea kayak skills in rough water. Video analysis.

Go to your Home Nation website (British Canoeing, Canoe Wales, SCA, CANI, BCNA) and download all the sea kayak leader documents and read them thoroughly. These are the standards you will be assessed against.

There’s a logbook that you can download, or you can produce your own. Whatever format you select make sure the assessor can see your personal paddling trips and any sea kayak leading you have done.

If you paddle different disciplines try to have a section for each one. If you are thinking about getting into coaching, it’s a good idea to have a separate section for that too.

Personal Skills

You need to get into your kayak and get out paddling – lots! Practice your basic skills on flat-water to make sure that when you get onto moderate water your fundamental strokes are all intuitive, make sure you practice on both sides and put as much variety as you can into your drills.

If you are short of time it may be worth considering adding extra training days to our sea kayak leader training course.

We can also arrange training and assessment for the BC 3-Star sea kayak and Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning (CNTP) certificate. Both are requirements for 4-star sea kayak leader. We can also offer  BC guide training modules: Camp Craft and Expedition Skills, Customer Experience, Trip Planning and Organisation.

Custom dates can be arranged. Email us.

sea kayak incident management on a rocky beach.Jersey

Incident management skills

Get someone to observe you and give you feedback, if that proves difficult set up a video camera on a tripod and self-analyse your techniques.

Don’t be afraid to get some specialist coaching. Just because you are working on the (4-star) sea kayak leader award don’t assume that you wouldn’t benefit from some flat-water coaching. Using Wing paddles and surfskis are a great way to tune up your forward paddling techniques. You need a large repertoire of techniques so that you are able to choose the most appropriate one in a skilful application when the need arises in a dynamic environment.

Paddle other types of boats. Lots of good sea kayakers have found their paddle awareness has improved by paddling canoes. Slalom and/or surf kayaking is a great way to improve your boat positioning and ability to read water. Surf and white water is also a great place to develop a ‘bomb proof’ roll!

We have a range of different craft including surf kayaks, sea kayaks and high-performance sea kayaks including Epic surfski designs. Plus a selection of Euro and Inuit style paddles.

Find other people in the same position as you, if you haven’t got paddling buddies at that level, get on the online paddling forums and find some.

Get into the habit of observing and giving feedback to your paddling buddies and try to nurture an atmosphere of peer support, coaching and improvement.

Moderate Water!

BCU 4 star leaders.Kayaks in rough water.Jersey north coast

Develop your leadership and sea kayak skills

This should be your playground! You need to be super confident moving your boat around and putting it where you want in these conditions. Again variety is the spice of life so go and explore!

Find out what moderate water means for your discipline, and make sure you have an appreciation for what that means in practical terms especially on the sea and on open water canoeing.

The wider the range of moderate water situations that you put yourself in, the less chance of you having a nasty surprise on your assessment.

Most people who struggle with (4-star) sea kayak leader assessment often have weak logbooks in moderate water conditions. Make sure yours shows lots of trips at this level and lots of experience at leading different types of groups in the moderate water environment. Again, this may be a good reason to book a few extra days kayaking with us.

Mentors!

There are quite a few aspirant level 5-coaches and trainee level three coaches who are looking for ‘long-term students’ – offering to be coached by these guys is a great way to get some quality coaching and it is always worth asking around. Again Internet paddling forums, Facebook etc can be very useful.

Leader!

sea kayak on 4 star training course.Developing paddle skills near rocks

Develop essential paddle skills during the course

The sea kayak leader(4-star) is a leadership award, so make sure you get plenty of practice at leading in these environments. We see quite a few candidates fail their assessment because they have only led novice paddlers or have wrongly assumed that because they do a lot of kayak coaching they have developed the leading skills that are required at the sea kayak leader level. Remember, this is a leadership award based on you leading paddlers who are around the 3-star level. Keep the group involved and part of the trip. Let those who clearly have the experience play an active role.

Give a good briefing and involve the group. We find it helps if you have a system for your briefing such as Area, Boats and equipment, Communication, Doctor -health/medical matters-, Emergency matters/protocols. You can put this on a small card as ABCDE and use this to remind you. Keep this briefing short and concise as your students will want to get on the water!

Remember to maintain good levels of Communication, Line of sight, Avoidance and select a Position of most usefulness (CLAP). Involve the paddlers in tricky areas so they “buddy up” or use “mirrors” so no one is ever out of sight.

Consider the route all the time as you paddle along. Look well ahead for “future water” so you can shape your route in advance. Use protocols such as SAFER (Stop, Assess, Formulate a plan, Execute the plan i.e: do it, Reflect and modify) when looking at more tricky spots.

It can take a long time to move a group through some sections and you might, therefore, need to adjust your plan/route based on the group size and experience. If you find you are taking a long time to explore a cave or rock garden some members of the group may lose interest. Active paddlers like to be doing something so keep people involved and feeling part of the group.

If you opt for extra training days we can often arrange opportunities for you to lead more experienced paddlers.

Offer to help out on club trips and ask if you can take the lead as often as possible. This is even better if it’s done under the supervision of a more experienced leader who can give you some feedback on your performance and suggest alternative strategies.

Even if you’re just paddling with your friends, it’s good practice to have a leader and for everyone to know their roles in the group, you can switch these roles around throughout the day, but turn every feature into a learning environment by discussing various strategies.

Kit

Ensure you are familiar with your equipment. Try out your new tow line before you need to use it for real in the training or assessment course. Remember, it is all very well to read about techniques and safety skills, however, you need to try them out for yourself to see if they will work for you. If you borrow gear and kayaks expect to be assessed as if they were your own.

The Internet may be a great source of information but not all of the advice will be relevant to you and some is just wrong!

Candidates are expected to have a VHF marine radio so make sure you know how it works. Carry it on your person and agree on a working channel if others in the group have a VHF with them. This makes communication between the group very easy and allows you to give advice e.g. when leading the group in through large surf or to communicate with a team member who has gone out of shouting range.

Incidents

If you are being assessed at this level incident will happen. We have seen the following incident occur during our courses: broken paddles, lost hatches, damaged kayaks, paddlers needing tows, problems with using a kayak they had only just bought, a cut hand, capsizes in rock gardens, overestimating the group’s ability. None of these was set up by the assessors and the key message is to be prepared.

Events can escalate rapidly. Remember your key priorities are: Self, Group, Swimmer, Equipment. Get this right and you are likely to deal with the incident well and impress your assessors. If you have completed a first aid or Foundation Safety & Rescue Training (FSRT) course this is going to be familiar to you.

Sadly, we often see paddlers forget this basic protocol and rush in to deal with incidents. Too often I see leaders charging in and sometimes putting themselves at risk and even becoming the second person in difficulties. Before you charge in to assist consider if they can swim clear, climb out of the danger. Will the problem be reduced if they do a few things to help get out of the predicament themselves

I avoid calling the paddler in difficulties a victim. This implies they are incapable of doing anything to rectify their predicament. Instead, I call them a swimmer -which is usually what they will be-.

Another handy protocol is: Stop, Assess what is happening, Formulate a plan, Execute it (do it), Reflect on how it went afterwards.

Delegate

When paddlers often lead groups who are less experienced they can end up in an assessment thinking they are the ones who need to deal with any incidents. Remember, the sea kayak leader is not alone, others in the group may have sufficient experience and kit to help deal with an incident.

Your role as a leader is to overseas the situation and in effect managing things. Get yourself involved in a tow and you risk being locked into the tow when further problems arise.  For example, if others have tow lines get them involved in the tow to free you up to ensure others things do not start going wrong. This is a good reason to check what gear and experience your group has before going afloat.

Too often minor incidents generate a chain of consequences so be ready to spot them before they escalate. When you are busy putting a paddler back into their kayak it is easy to overlook what is happening to the others in the group…

Get fit!

The assessment can be physically tiring, often entailing long drives to the course venue, paddling all day for two days, working evenings looking at plans for the next day, self-rescues and rescuing boats in moderate water.

Assessors often see candidates flagging and losing performance towards the end of the two days – make sure you are as paddling fit as you can be. Try and give yourself a day before the assessment when you are not travelling to the course. We all lead busy lives so give yourself a bit of time out rather than plunge from a busy week at work on a Friday into the assessment on Saturday.

Pre-requisites

4 star sea kayak incidents.Damaged sea kayak

Dealing with incidents afloat- a holed sea kayak.

Ensure you have the correct safety course pre-requisites – Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning is needed at sea kayak leader training and we can usually add this as an extra day. 3-star sea kayak is a good benchmark to have when going to the sea kayak leader training course. Again, we can assess this.

Attending the training course doesn’t mean you are going to automatically have all the skills necessary for your assessment. They are training courses, and the techniques taught will need consolidation, there is a huge amount of information to be digested, and skills to be perfected.

There is definitely a ‘use it or lose it’ phenomenon around these pre-requisite courses. Just because you used to be able to throw a throw line, perform a slick X rescue or plot a tidal passage doesn’t mean you will still be able to do it in two years time when you go for an assessment. Keep working on these skills and practice them in real conditions.

You also need an up to date 16 hour First Aid. Try to do an outdoor one, like REC or the BCU Aquatic First Aid. We can sometimes arrange a 16-hour first aid course for you.

LR form

When you think you are getting close to being ready to take the assessment, and you have all the pre-requisites you need to download a Leader Registration (LR) Form from your Home Nation website.

You must be a BC member to undertake the sea kayak leader assessment and pay the Leadership Registration fee when sending in your LR form. British Canoeing will accept certificates from awarding bodies that are not on their list e.g. first aid, navigation, VHF awards. This often happens when non-UK residents want to be assessed.  I am aware that in some European countries 16-hour First Aid courses are being phased out. My current advice is to submit an Accredited Prior Learning (APL) from with a copy of your certificate and the course syllabus. BC HQ can then decide if it meets the standards required.

If you need to fill in an Accredited Prior Learning (APL) form send a copy of your certificate and course syllabus (in English) to BC HQ. Contact me and I can usually give advice.

Fill your LR form in as instructed and send it with the correct fee back to your Home Nation. After checking all the info is correct, they will send the form back to you stamped for assessment. You must hand the stamped LR form to the assessment director before your assessment. No LR form, no assessment!

Note: Non-UK candidates will need to complete the International Leadership registration form.

Go boating!

Phil Hadley in Jersey on 4 star course

Phil Hadley in action

Go paddling as much as you can but don’t forget to have fun! If you make all your trips interesting and exciting then you and the people you are leading will learn so much more!

Put variety into your paddling, different venues, different paddling buddies, different disciplines, different boats all add to the breadth of experience that shows you as a competent, confident leader.

See you on the water!

Dates of our 4-star sea kayak leader and advanced courses.

Written by Phil Hadley, BCU Coach and (4 star) moderate water Canoe and Sea Kayak assessor with additions added by Derek Hairon (2018).

BC Moderate water  (4 star) sea training courses

Remember many sea kayakers attend (4 star) moderate water  sea kayak leader training courses as a means of gaining more experience of paddling in different waters and conditions. Training courses are not just for paddlers who plan to go for an assessment.

You can find more information about our (4 star) sea kayak leader training and assessment courses as well as Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning here.

Derek Hairon

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Les Minquiers video. Sea kayaking in Jersey,Channel islands

October 7th, 2012

For the adventurous and experienced sea kayaker living in Jersey, or paddlers planing a kayaking trip in the Channel islands, Les Minquiers are a superb destination.

This video shows Les Minquiers from a sea kayaker’s perspective as we explore the rocks, gullies and sand bars which are revealed at low tide. Try to explore the reef at low tide. There are huge Caribbean blue lagoons, channels and enormous sand bars.

Kayaking to Les Minquiers

Les Minquiers Jersey

Maitresse Ile is the only part of the reef where it is possible to stay overnight.

Les Minquiers reef is the most southerly part of the British Isles, 12 miles south of Jersey, and tide streams are up to 5 knots.

If you plan to sea kayak across expect to be up to 6 miles from land at some stage. This is one of the most committing and advanced sea kayaking trips in Jersey.

Once on Les Minquiers you will often be the only visitors on the tiny islet of La Maîtresse Île.

Tide streams around Les Minquiers

Jersey has tides of up to 12.5m. At high water only a few hundred metres of the reef remain. Only Maîtresse Île is habitable – with a few huts – at high water. By low water the reef is said to dry to almost the size of Jersey. The reef is approximately 16km long and 11km wide.

The east going stream commences at -0540HW St Helier and gradually swings southeast until -0240HW when it then turns East. By HW a northwest stream is established near La Maîtresse Île. This is not shown on the tide stream atlas. The main west going stream is flowing by +0050HW St Helier.

Air crash and shipwrecks on Les Minquiers

Maitresse Ile. The cabins or barraques

Maitresse Ile. The cabins -or barraques- are now used as weekend residences

In 1936 the flying boat “Cloud of Iona” en route from Guernsey to Jersey became lost in fog and crashed at the Pipettes killing all on board. It took two weeks to discover the crash site.

A more amusing incident is Jersey’s version of the film “Whisky Galore”. In 1953 the Coaster Brockley Coombe was wrecked on the reefs. Part of its cargo included a quantity of Bristol Cream Sherry which hut owners from Les Minquiers rescued before Customs Officers arrived. Some bottles were never recovered.

History of Les Minquiers

Les Minquiers derive their name from the French word “Minkier” – a fish wholesaler – and probably reflects the abundance of fish and seal around the reefs. The reef was once important for conger fishing.

carvings on les minquiers

Carvings made by the quarrymen. Stone was shipped to Jersey to build Fort Regent

Today, you will see many lobster pot buoys which are useful markers to assess the speed and direction of the tide streams. On the biggest equinox tides the reef is a popular low water fishing spot for lobster and ormers (a type of abalone).

Approximately 89 out of 440 species of molluscs in the Channel Islands are found at Les Minquiers.

The huts on Maîtresse Île were constructed by quarrymen who were intent upon reducing the islet to nothing in order to build Fort Regent on Jersey (completed in 1814).

The La Rocque fishermen who sailed (and rowed) down each week to fish and hunt seal became irate at the rapid disappearance of their island base and resorted to direct action by removing the quarrymen’s tools and dropping them into deep water. Quarrying had ceased by 1807.

Landing is at the natural harbour to the east of Maîtresse Île. It is reported that this harbour was a very protected anchorage until the north-eastern crescent of the harbour was extensively quarried. This may have been a deliberate decision to stop the French navy using the natural protection afforded by the reef to escape detection from Jersey.

Years ago fishermen would sink their boats in bad weather because the boats were safer on the seabed than bouncing about at anchor during a storm.

A game of cards

The old quarrymen’s huts are now used as holiday cabins. The large hut at the north end of the islet was won by Bill Coom in a card game during the occupation after the owner was unable to pay his gambling debt.

les minquiers sea kayaking in jersey

Superb waters at les Minquiers

 

Stone carvings

As you explore the islet look for the carved names and initials written on the granite rocks by the quarrymen. Modern carvings can also be seen including a concrete kayak at the top of the slip. This was made by a party of storm bound kayakers who found a sack of cement to keep them occupied until conditions improved.

The most southerly toilet in the British Isles

Perhaps the most famous spot on Maîtresse Île is the toilet. This is the most southerly loo in the British isles and should be used with respect and care. Unlike its counterpart on Les Ecrehous construction of the loo in the 1930s did not create any outrage from the residents or national media attention.

Dolphins in Jersey

 

sand bar at les Minquiers

Sand bars surrounded by crystal clear water

Look out for dolphins. The southeast coast of Jersey and Les Minquiers are home to pods of dolphins, and there is a good chance you will see them.

Charter boat kayak tours of Les Minquiers

If you do not fancy sea kayaking across 12 miles of ocean, Jersey Kayak Adventures have scheduled charter boat sea kayaking trips to Les Minquiers. Private group tours can be arranged on request.

Derek Hairon on Google+

 

 

Andy at Anchor. Kayak anchoring photo shoot

June 22nd, 2012

Andy Benham, author of Kayak Fishing is kayak fishing in Jersey to write some kayak fishing articles for Sea Angler and Canoe Kayak UK magazines.

anchoring a sit on top kayak

Anchoring a sit on top kayak

Andy and myself have been doing a kayak anchoring photo shoot to demonstrate safe methods of anchoring your kayak. The message is to avoid anchoring in areas where there is any current until you have got used to anchoring.

You can find lots of comments about anchoring in 3, 4 and even 5 knot plus tide streams on the Web. In some cases people are over estimating the speeds, or have loads of experience. Take some statements with caution, especially if you are just starting to learn how to kayak fish with an anchor.

Though there may be little or no current when you drop anchor, after an hour or so things can change. What was once still water can easily become a faster stream.

Around Jersey it is common to find tide streams of 3 plus knots so anchoring may not be a sensible option except in some very still spots, and even then, these places can change very quickly.

Know the tide streams rates in the area you plan to drop anchor with your kayak. Remember, tide streams may run along the coast and can speed up near rocks and headlands.

Avoid attaching your kayak directly to the anchor system. We were using a free running rig which means that it is relatively easy to ditch the yellow (floating ) line. You will see more the finished article.

If you are going to anchor your kayak to fish ensure you have practised anchoring in calm water so you know the advantages and disadvantages of anchoring your kayak.

Once the tide streams start to speed up it is not the time to start reaching for the ‘instruction manual’!

Derek Hairon

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