Saturday, January 31, 2015

Daily Picture - 31

The last day of the month and so far I have manged to get out somewhere every day and take a photograph.  Today's picture shows where we hope to be kayaking tomorrow.
I have looked at this area for a number of years and thought at the right state of tide it would be possible to paddle safely in strong winds as the reefs would protect you from the larger waves.  Tomorrow morning the forecast seems ideal NW force 6-7 possibly gusting to 50 mph and low water at 11.22.  The worst that can happen is that you will be blown onto the beach.  So hopefully tomorrow morning we will be able to paddle in the reefs off La Pulente at the southern end of St Ouen's Bay.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Daily Picture - 30

Inspired by thoughts of Morbihan and its rich archaeology I decided to visit the what is probably the oldest dolmen in the Channel Islands this afternoon, being approximately 6,500 years old.  Heading to La Sergente, on the headland above Petit Port it was a matter of dodging the showers which were being blown towards the island on the brisk northwesterly wind.  Sark, on the horizon appears to have missed one but it looks like Herm and Jethou were being hit.
The dolmen was excavated in 1923, prior to this time it was covered by a mound.  During the excavation the only finds were 4 pottery items, there were no human remains present.
Today it is located on the headland between Petit Port and St Ouen's Bay, a special place to visit, particularly at sunset.

Sea Kayak Morbihan 2015

After the pool session last night with the Jersey Canoe Club we headed to the pub as usual for a quick pint and the conversation very quickly turned towards our future trip to Morbihan, on the first weekend in May.  I didn't manage to get there last year but since my first visit in 1984 I have paddled in this sea kayaking mecca numerous times.
It is the combination of strong tidal streams, numerous islands and world class historical sites, which combine to make this area of southern Brittany such a  great kayaking destination.  Roll on May but a quick look at a few photographs whetted the appetite.
 The island of Gavrinis, with the passage tomb clearly visible.  It is believed that it was constructed about 5,500 years ago.  There are great views as you paddle past but to see the ornate carvings inside the tomb it is necessary to travel by boat from Larmor-Baden.
 Sea kayaks on the quayside at Auray.  A delightful paddle up the western side of the Gulf.
 Er Lannic towards low water.  Where else in the world is it possible to paddle through a stone circle.
 Ruth enjoying the sensation of being on the water in Morbihan
 Heading south out of the entrance to the Gulf.  It won't be long to the welcome cool first drink at the campsite bar.  Port Navalo is on the opposite side of the entrance
 The tides are always entertaining.  Nicky is playing on the west coast of Ile aux Moines
Larmor-Baden.  Preparations are well under way for the first Greenland rolling competition to be held in Brittany.  We had a superb couple of days judging a large number of Breton paddlers competing in a variety of challenges. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Daily Picture - 29

Another blustery, cold day with a strong northerly wind, it was gusting at nearly 50 knots when I took this photograph of La Rocco Tower, in St Ouens Bay.  It was built between 1796 and 1801and named Gordon's Tower after the Lieutenant Governor.
It looks particularly dramatic when up close.  It has been recently refurbished and will soon be able for rental from Jersey Heritage.  What a great place to stay!
If you were to head due west from here (straight out to sea) the next landfall is Newfoundland.

Daily Picture - 28

Beauport is one of the most stunning bays on the south coast of Jersey.  It is a popular paddle with the sit on top paddlers who leave from St Brelade's.  The flat area just above and behind the beach is a classic raised beach from when the sea level was about 8 metres above its present level.  Some of the ancient sea cliffs can be seen protruding through the trees on the opposite side of the bay.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Daily Picture - 27

This is the old lighthouse, which stood at the end of St Catherine's Breakwater, warning shipping of the hazard for over 100 years.  Today it stands, outside the Maritime Museum in St Helier, as a memorial to the Islanders who were deported from Jersey and died in concentration camps far from their Island home.
The wreaths were the result of a service earlier in day, as part of Holocaust Memorial Day.

Some more aerial photographs

It has been a while since I have posted some photographs taken out of aircraft windows so here are a few from the last few years.  Some great kayaking destinations seen from above.  With views like these it is hard to understand why anybody would book an aisle seat!
 Passing over Calshot when heading south towards Jersey.  The site of the BCU Sea Touring Committee Symposiums in the early 1990's.
 Greenland West Coast.  The island on the right is Uummannaq and the larger Salliaruseq to the left.  The cliffs and the larger islands are over 1,000 metres high.  This post documents the day we paddled between the two islands.  This was taken whilst flying from Heathrow to Seattle.
 Final approach into Stockholm.  It looked like a kayaking paradise.  Little did we realize the frustration which was to follow after we landed
 Take off from Jersey on a beautiful summers day.  The aircraft is banking north over St Ouen's Bay.
 Sunrise over the Thames estuary.  The south coast of Essex is clearly visible, just minutes after leaving Heathrow.
 A few hours later the Essex coast had been replaced by the Turkish coast to the west of Istanbul.
Approaching Heathrow.  The rectangular shaped water directly in front of the engine is the location of Tower Hamlets Canoe Club, an area we have visited regularly over the years as members of the Jersey Canoe Club paddle with kayakers from London.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Daily Picture - 26

Look east from the cliff path along Fiquet Bay early this afternoon.  The rock formation on the right is the Grosse Tete, where the swell was running yesterday as we paddled along this stretch of coast.
Beyond is Pt Le Fret, possibly the most dramatic headland on the south coast of the island but great paddling.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sea kayaking Sunday morning - St Brelade's

The last Sunday morning session with the Jersey Canoe Club saw much warmer weather than we have been experiencing over the last few days.  Launching from St Brelade's the plan was to head towards Corbiere but it was necessary to take into consideration that we still had an 11+ metre Spring Tide and there was a swell approaching from the North Atlantic.
It was a reasonable turn out for the time of the year, there were 17 of us heading along the south coast of the Island, experiencing some constantly changing conditions.  We turned back just before Corbiere, spending some time working on skills, something we probably don't do frequently enough.  The Peregrine, which flew over whilst we were looking at edging was a real bonus. 
A pint sitting outside, at the end of the session, was a treat for the end of January.
 Passing through the gap between St Brelade's Bay and Beauport.  In the summer months this is one of my favourite places to stop and swim.  There are some great jumps off the rocks, particularly towards high water.
 Just entering Beauport, one of the most beautiful bays on the Island.  In the summer months there would be numerous boats at anchor in the bay but we had the water to ourselves today.  
 Approaching the Grosse Tete, just to the west of Beauport.  This was the first time that we had really appreciated the swell
 The swell was certainly arriving in sets. Pete Hargreaves and Peter Wrigglesworth certainly gained some altitude as the passed through the gap.
 Trespass Point, the tide was certainly starting to flow west.  The cliffs behind are a lovely climbing location, short steep routes and sheltered from the prevailing winds.
 We pulled into the bay under the Highlands Hotel.  This is where the Jersey Sea kayak Symposium was based last May.
 Corbiere seemed isolated today.  We decided not to go all the way to the lighthouse.  The swell arriving in sets, the speed of the flow and 17 members in the group, seemed to have the potential to become just a bit too interesting.
 We, therefore, decided to turn and head east along the base of the granite cliffs.
 Some late morning sunshine catching the granite.
 St Brelade's lies ahead.  We had only been out for 2 hours but it had certainly been a morning of contrasting water conditions.

Daily Picture - 25

Mine and Nicky's kayaks ready to depart St Brelade's.  Lovely paddle to Corbiere although we turned back before the lighthouse because of the size of the swell and the speed of the tidal currents on the spring tide ebb.  17 paddlers from Jersey Canoe Club out on the water followed by out first apres paddle pint sitting outside at La Marquendarie Pub.  So much warmer than yesterday.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Daily Picture - 24

Another day of winter sunshine.  The network of Green Lanes on Jersey are ideal for cycling and allow some unusual views of a familiar landscape.  This is looking across St Ouen's Bay, early afternoon today.  St Ouen's Pond is visible, surrounded by its reed beds, they provide a home for the Marsh Harriers which could be seen flying around the area earlier.