Jersey Kayak Adventures

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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








Sea kayaking in Jersey. Reconciling Conservation and Recreation – Video

April 4th, 2013

I’ve uploaded this informative video because it gives some very useful information about observing wildlife from a sea kayak around the coast.

The video is about the marine sea kayaking code in Wales. This gives lots of useful advice when observing wildlife from a sea kayak. There are also a few safety tips as well as guidance and dates when sea birds and marine mammals are breeding.

For those of us who sea kayak in Jersey there may be some variations in the breeding dates. However, it is surprising just how many of the species mentioned in the video can be seen in Jersey waters.

Though some species are less common in the Channel Islands most of the advice is very useful when paddling around the coast of Jersey, the Channel Islands and UK.

The Jersey Marine and Coastal Wildlife Watching Code and other Jersey wild life guidelines is on our Sea Kayaking in Jersey – A guide to good environmental Practice page.

Produced by: Pembrokeshire outdoor charter.

Sea kayaking in Jersey. A day of contrasts and changing weather

March 11th, 2013
Sea kayaking near Grve de Lecq,Jersey

Calm seas and sunshine but note the fog banks in the distance

On Saturday Jersey was either a very warm and sunny place or, very foggy.

It all depended on which side of the island you were on. We were kayaking from Greve de Lecq. Trudie was guiding an oyster trail from Seymour slip on the south east coast no more then 5 miles away.

Friends were kayaking to Les Écréhous in 40m of visibility running on GPS and chart work/compass course while others were kayaking to the Paternosters (Les Pierre de Lecq) in sunshine.

Jersey Met had forecast a risk of occasional fog banks drifting over from Normandy. It seems this fog bank decided to spend the day sightseeing around Jersey.

Seymour slip in the fog

Seymour slip in the fog. Taken around the same time as the kayaking photo

This is a good reason to always carry a compass -and know how to use it- as the fog could have easily drifted onto us while kayaking. You can see the fog rolling down the cliffs in the distance.

Three days later and we are experiencing snow and force 8 winds!

Derek Hairon



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+

Adult ‘Intromediate’ Sit inside and Sit on top sea kayak level 2 course

September 6th, 2012

Saturday 22 September- 20 October 1000–1230 Details

For the kayaker who wants to develop their skills.

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+

Sea kayaking in Jersey on German TV

August 26th, 2012
NDR film crew kayaking in jersey

The film crew

We recently had a film crew over from NDR TV who filmed one of our sea kayak trips in Jersey to Seymour tower. This featured on Nordseereport on Sunday 26 August 2012.

The filming was fun as we had all the crew on kayaks.

We had just 24 hours notice as the crew had planned to film some board surfing…but there was no surf. Luckily we happened to have the key to Seymour Tower so the crew could get shots inside and views from the top of the tower.

Nic -who was paddling the tandem- had the tricky job of ensuring the camera-man and broadcast camera did not end up in the sea. We even had the sound man on the other tandem with sound boom.

Conditions were calm and the film crew were willing to do something different when the boat they were due to film from was unable to join us. They had a couple Go Pro cameras and lots of “Gaffer tape” to attach them to the kayaks.

Cameraman gets ready to kayak

Getting ready to kayak and film

The crew were very well organised so there were few retakes.

The kayak trip in Jersey was to Seymour tower and forms part of a longer programme on Jersey.

Staying in Seymour Tower

If you are not familiar with Seymour tower it’s about 1 mile offshore and surrounded by a maze of gullies which fill and empty very quickly. At times the rise can be up to 3” per minute with some fast currents. The area is therefore a place you should treat with respect whether you explore on foot or by kayak.

Guided walks to Seymour tower are sometimes called “Moonwalks to Seymour tower” due to the strange terrain. However, this description does not do justice to the range of marine life you can observe. It is certainly not a barren place.

Sea kayaking in Jersey

Rescue tower in Grouville bay Jersey

Filming at the rescue tower

The kayaking in Jersey to Seymour tower film shows the trip from La Rocque harbour to Seymour tower. You can either kayak or walk over to stay overnight (with a guide) in Seymour tower. We organise both kayak and walking trips. If you kayak over it’s usually easier to get a booking because you can stay there when it is neap tides and not possible to walk over.

Though the TV programme is in German it’s pretty easy to follow with lots of great images and some filming which shows the interior of Seymour tower.

Watch sea kayaking to in Jersey to Seymour tower.

Derek Hairon

Adult Introduction to Sit-on-top sea Sea Kayaking Level 1 Course

August 25th, 2012

For anyone who wants to discover sit-on-top kayaking, explore Jersey’s coast, or improve their paddle skills.

6 & 8 week options: Sundays 16 September 1000-1230 £235 or £310.

Call 07797853033 or Email

Sea kayaking course in Jersey.New date added

July 2nd, 2012

Our 6 week kayak course starts on Sunday 29 July 0930-1200

£235 with manual.

Kayak course details

Sea kayak safety in Jersey

May 20th, 2012
kayak safty tips and advice

Kayak safety feature

Our local newspaper recently ran an article on sea kayaking in Jersey and why it’s a top sea kayaking destination in the UK.

A quick look at the number of cars with sea kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks on the roof bars reveals just how popular sea kayaking is in Jersey and the other Channel islands.

Our big 12m plus tides do add a bit of potential for excitement around our coastline and with so many people wanting to get out sea kayaking in Jersey every Summer sees a few incidents and close shaves that might be avoided with a little bit more knowledge and training.

Safety tips when sea kayaking in Jersey

Tips from the Jersey Evening Post article to make your sea kayak trip around the coast of Jersey (and elsewhere) a safer and enjoyable experience:

  • Dress for immersion. Even on the hottest days a pair of shorts and a T-shirt may not be appropriate if you fall in , or it starts to feel cold offshore.

    sea kayaking the north west coast of Jersey

    Exploring the North west coast. Range control tower at Grosnez

  • Don’t go out on your own. If things start to go wrong there is no one around to help you.
  • If you do decide to paddle alone make sure you know your limits and build in a good safety factor.
  • Wear the right kit and make sure it fits you. A buoyancy aid is essential along with a waterproof top (cagoule). Make sure the kit fits otherwise it can make things a lot harder if you fall in.
  • Carry communication and safety gear. The Coastguard recommends you carry a VHF marine radio, but not everyone has a VHF so take along a charged mobile phone I a waterproof bag. We have very good mobile coverage on Jersey.
  • Make sure you know how to use your safety kit. It’s no use having all the safety gear if you have to sit in the water trying to read the instruction manual when you are in trouble.
  • Tell someone what you are doing, where you are going and what time you expect to be back. Tell them who to call if they do not hear from you. Remember to let them know if your plans change otherwise you could have people out looking for you while you are sitting n the pub!

    Kayakers beneath Pinnacle rock Jersey

    Pinnacle rock

  • Put your name an phone number on your kayak. If the coastguard find your kayak they can quickly know who it belongs to.
  • Learn about the tides, currents and weather. Take care when it is an offshore wind.
  • If paddling with others ensure everyone knows what the plan is. This ensures everyone knows what they are letting themselves in for! It also means others may spot trip planning errors.
  • Remember, children will get tired and cold a lot quicker than adults.
  • Know your limits.
  • Sign up for a kayak course if you plan to start sea kayaking. You’ll learn faster and get more fun from paddlesport.

Derek Hairon

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