Jersey Kayak Adventures

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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

Sea Kayaking Adventures in Jersey- Wolf’s Cave

October 26th, 2013
sea kayak adventure in Wolf's Caves

Entering Wolf’s Caves

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.

Path down to Wolf's caves

The old path down to Wolf’s Caves

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.

The origin of the name Wolf’s Caves

Inside Wolfs caves

Exploring the caves

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.
Derek Hairon Find us on Google+

Custom & Intensive Sea Kayak Guide/Training Courses in Jersey

October 17th, 2013

Fran Hanko udd till Jersey Peter fosstrom kayaking jersey articleHanko 2013We can arrange custom sea kayak guide courses in Jersey. Recently, Peter from Kola kayaking in Hanko Finland visited to undertake our custom intensive sea kayak guide training course. Peter’s aim was to gather a few BC 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.

Drysutis for chidlren

Father and son with matching drysuits

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.

On his return to Finland Peter wrote this article about his sea kayaking activities in Jersey. It’s all Finnish to me. Download a copy or read it here.

Derek Hairon

Jersey Kayak Adventures win Jersey Enterprise Environmental Credentials Award

June 8th, 2013
Jersey Enterprise awards 2013

Derek and Trudie collecting the Jersey Enterprise Environmental award

We have just been awarded the 2013 Jersey Enterprise Environmental Credentials Award sponsored by Jersey Electricity Company.

The awards night which was attended by over 600 people with 90 entrants.

We are just one of 4 Green Tourism Gold standard businesses in Jersey.

The judge’s commented:

“Jersey Kayak Adventures are ambassadors for the environment in which they operate. Their environmental credentials and sustainable business plan were fully endorsed last year when Jersey Kayak Adventures became only the fourth Jersey business to be awarded the UK’s Green Tourism Scheme Gold standard.”

Here is an edited synopsis of our ward winning entry which gives a little more insight into our eco-tourism and environmental approach.

Jersey Enterprise Environmental award. Jersey Kayak and Walk Adventures entry

Environmental Excellence

GTBS logoJersey Kayak Adventures was awarded Green Tourism Business Scheme GOLD in 2012.

We encourage eco-friendly transport by offering eco-discounts to clients who use the bus, walk or cycle to get to our venues.

Developed a supplier screening questionnaire to ensure we are using the most environmentally friendly suppliers when possible.

Staff pick up litter found on beaches/sea and encourage clients to assist.

Bird counts on north coast of Jersey. Organised Societe Jersiaise Marine Biology section overnight at Seymour tower to conduct research in Ramsar wetlands site. Our discovery of unusual bioluminescent creatures on the seabed is generating new research data and presents an exciting market opportunity.

Jersey enterprise award winners logo 2013

Jersey Enterprise Environmental Award winners 2013

Supported the Genuine Jersey Food Festival.

Introduction of an Oyster Trail, which culminates in tasting local oysters at Seymour Inn to encourage buying local seafood. Individuals, who otherwise wouldn’t buy oysters, are motivated to try local produce.

Edible seaweed walk developed for the Genuine Jersey Food Festival 2012/3 We linked up with local restaurants who are producing a seaweed themed menu.

Our Director Derek Hairon is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Sustainable Business Forum.

Customer surveys reveal that for 53% of clients our Eco-awards are a factor when booking.

Changed design and contents of brochures to enhance longevity and reduce the disposal of costly brochures e.g. if prices or dates change each year. Use paper from sustainably managed forests.

Recycling of ink cartridges and use of recycled paper.

Jersey Kayak Adventures. Winner of the Jersey Enterprise Environment award for Eco and Green Tourism in Jersey. 2013Participated in Jersey College for Girls School Eco Day. Produced games and competitions for the children to learn about the local marine ecosystem.

Discounted rates for schools and youth groups.

Jersey Kayak Adventures is the Seymour Tower guide trainer for Jersey Heritage Trust.

Water consumption in 2012 reduced.

Electricity kept to similar levels to 2011

Vehicles fuel costs held to similar levels in spite of fuel increases.

Leadership

Regular meetings with staff and involvement in the development of operating procedures ensure that quality is maintained.

Rewarding staff commitment by funding further training e.g. first aid courses, Jersey Tourism Bronze Badge guide course.

Our instructors’ deep knowledge of local history and nature is regularly praised by clients.

Strategy

We meet National Standards for our activities. British Canoe Union Approved centre, Adventuremark, Learning Outside the Classroom. Annual inspections by UK based national governing bodies (NGBs) ensure our processes meet current good practice and also enable us to learn of new ideas and developments.

We support staff to undertake further training e.g. Jersey Tourism Bronze Badge award and BCU Coaching qualifications. This has resulted in an increase in staff motivation and commitment.

People & Process

Apart from selecting and maintaining high quality equipment and the promotion of Jersey’s natural beauty, the quality of our staff is the key to our success. The company stands on good communication with our customers as well as within the company to guarantee best performance. Staff meetings at the beginning and end of the season take place and staff receive direct feed back during the season. Compliments are passed on to staff along with our customer service feedback survey.

We fund staff participation in conferences and courses, not only to keep their currant instructor qualification valid (British Canoe Union courses; First Aid; Wild Life Safe training).

New ideas for specialised walks were developed by staff, which generated increased income.

With customers leaving booking more and more to the last minute in 2012 we invested in an office manager to facilitate a more efficient customer service. The introduction of an online credit card payment system frees up staff time.

Product, Pricing and Marketing

New products developed/introduced/or planned in 2013:
Shorter taster style sunset paddles
Kayak fishing courses
Family kayaking tours
Special walks for families with young children,
Food walks with the focus on oysters and seaweed
Participation in the Jersey Food Festival
Guided fungi forays.

Oysters and seaweed walks combined with dinner events promote and support local businesses, e.g. members of Genuine Jersey, from where Jersey Walk Adventures now also receives marketing support. The food walks raised considerable media interest at a local, national and international level and helps to promote Jersey.

To add value to our products and attract new customers we invested in Wellington boots and neoprene aqua shoes. This service has created extra income stimulating the booking of walks in winter and at night with visitors and locals alike (who might have been deterred from booking because they lacked suitable footwear). Walks bookings have increased.

To break ground in the British kayaking market, director Derek Hairon writes for specialist kayaking magazines. Derek has co-authored the Channel Islands and SE England Sea Kayaking guide (published by Pesda Press late 2013).

New business opportunities off island: Links developed with a Finnish outdoor company to offer kayak courses in the shoulder months. Creation of an island walking program with a Swiss personal development and team building company.

Customer Focus

Customer satisfaction is vital for the business, as in the small community of Jersey word of mouth is the best recommendation – proven by our annual customer survey.

Customer retention is assisted by post course kayaking trips at reduced rates. Our kayak club for our regulars also offers low cost Third Party Accident Insurance, so our kayakers comply with recent changes to Jersey Coastguard regulations for kayak registration and insurance.

German speaking staff are able to target the developing German market.

Video clip shown at the Jersey Enterprise awards event.

Derek Hairon

Boat Show Competition Winner

May 15th, 2013

Congratulations to Chris S who has won a free kayak adventure tour in Jersey by entering our Jersey Boat Show competition.

Next Introduction to Kayaking Course Starts 21 May

May 7th, 2013

For anyone who wants to discover sit-on-top kayaking or has bought a kayak and wants to improve their paddling skills. 6 Tuesday evenings 1800-2030. Starting on 21 May.

Details

How to Prepare Jersey Lobster and Brill – a Master-Class

March 27th, 2013
Learning to fillet Brill

Daniel makes it look very easy

Peter and Sanna have been visiting Jersey from Finland to complete an intensive sea kayak training course. Along with the great sea kayaking in Jersey they have been blown away by the quality of Jersey seafood.

They asked us to show them, how to prepare Jersey lobster. In Finland lobster is an expensive dish, so it’s important to get it right. They were also keen to learn how to prepare fish.

Knowing just how passionate Daniel and Mary at Bracewell’s Restaurant, St Aubin, are about using fresh Jersey produce to produce their excellent meals, it seemed a good idea to ask a professional chef to show them.

Sanna’s homework was to go to Faulkner fisheries at L’Etac to buy a live Jersey lobster and four brill. The lobster was popped into a plastic bag with a couple of elastic bands around its claws and she boarded the bus with her ‘catch of the day’. Fortunately the lobster didn’t try to make an escape attempt on the number 12a bus.

At Bracewell’s Daniel set about preparing the lobster and brill at a rapid rate and armed with a razor sharp knife, which he tested for sharpness by cutting pieces of paper with. “Tell me to go slower, if you can’t keep up” Daniel reminded us with a smile.

Learning to fillet Brill

Trickier than it looks!

Having watched the expert prepare a lobster and then fillet the brill, Peter had to prove his skills. No question, he took far longer. What looked so easy with Daniel proved to be much harder for a novice – be it taking off the skin of the flatfish or getting the meat off the bones.

With some professional tips from Daniel, Peter was soon starting to get the hang of filleting fish.

By the end of the class the family had a lobster and a selection of fillets to take back to their apartment with. As might be expected the lobster and fish were eaten that night, and Peter is already planning to head out to buy more Jersey seafood to practice his preparation skills.

There is more than just some great sea kayaking in Jersey!

A big thanks to Daniel and Mary at Bracewell’s Restaurant, St Aubin, www.bracewells.je, tel. 01534-747014.

Jersey’s outdoor riches sampled by Britain’s leading outdoor writers and photographers

October 15th, 2012
kayaking at Beauport

After the rain had passed

This weekend we joined forces with Jersey Tourism and other local activity providers to lay on a feast of outdoor adventure activities for the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild (OWPG) 32nd annual conference.

As well as attending the annual conference around 50 delegates explored the vast range of outdoor pursuits offered by local activity providers, from bush walking, blo-karting and mountain biking to coasteering, walking, climbing and sea kayaking.

“Jersey is an intriguing place for this gathering of many of the country’s leading outdoor writers with its combination of sunshine, history and wide range of outdoor activities.” Said OWPG chairman Jonathan Williams.

And OWPG conference organiser Dennis Kelsall added: “The island is packed with outdoor things to do and see. I’m sure our delegates will be inspired by what they experience and will want to write about this wonderful outdoor island.”

kayak photography

An opportunity to try and get a good photo

The Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild, founded in 1980, represents the cream of the UK’s media professionals working largely or entirely on outdoor subjects. Its membership includes writers, journalists, photographers, illustrators, broadcasters, film-makers, artists, publishers and editors, all of whom share a passionate interest in the outdoors.

Feedback already suggests that many delegates were impressed with the range of adventure activities in Jersey on offer. At least one photo journalist is already planning an article on the island.

As part of the conference programme we organised both novice and intermediate sea kayak tours to explore the coastline.

Derek Hairon on Google+
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Introduction to kayaking course

September 8th, 2012

6 weeks on Sundays starts: 16 September 1000-1230

Details 

Sea kayaking at les Ecrehous,Jersey.A short video

September 5th, 2012

Kayaking the small tide race at les Ecrehous on a 10.96m tide.

There is a lot of water flowing around les Ecrehous. This short video is from one of our guided sea kayak tours. A few more videos can be seen here.

This is just one example of the sort of tides you can find. Think of it as a river (which changes direction twice a day) and the flow of water makes sense.

Les Ecrehous is a remarkable offshore reef 6 miles north east of Jersey with old small fishermen’s huts.

Kayaking to les Ecrehous

La Marmotiere les Ecrehous.View towards le Blianque Ile on a dropping tide

Le Blianque Ile and la Taille shingle bank on a dropping tide

It is possible to kayak to les Ecrehous from Jersey but the trip is for the very experienced sea kayaker as you will be more than 3 miles from land with tide streams of up to 5 knots in places.

I often get asked by paddlers wanting to undertake the trip and remind them that this is a classic BCU 5 star sea assessment trip so it is not for the novice.

Get the crossing wrong and you can easily miss the islands. I’ve ended up off the Grande Rousse and have also been swept well past Gorey when paddling on big tides, or when we have turned to soon towards the islands.

I know of one trip which completely missed the islands so the 6 mile paddle became a 12 mile trip back to Jersey in the dark.

Les Ecrehous at low tide

Les Ecrehous at low tide

For the less experienced paddler we organize escorted and guided trips to les Ecrehous by charter boat. This is a great way to explore the reefs and see perhaps Seal and even Dolphin in Jersey.

Guided walks are also possible as there is a lot of history on the reefs. For example the main historical book on les Ecrehous is over 200 pages long (les Ecrehous, by Warwick Rodwell).

Derek Hairon on Google+

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