Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Bonne Nuit

Whilst writing one of my previous posts on photographs from aircraft windows it became apparent that I had written very little about Bonne Nuit over the last few years.  In fact the only real piece I could find was on the recent Stand Up Paddleboard race.  This is quite a serious omission as Bonne Nuit is a delightful north coast harbour from which to start a number of entertaining sea kayaking journeys.
The harbour was built in 1872 by the States of Jersey, to provide shelter for the local fishermen and a means of exporting stone from the quarries at Mont Mado, at the top of the hill.
In the middle of the bay is Cheval Rock, traditional was that on midsummers day the young maidens of the parish of St John as part of a fertility rite whilst other traditions state that it was merely a way of preventing bad luck in the coming year.
Today, located below some of the highest land on the Island, Bonne Nuit is a popular bay with visitors and locals alike.  Launching from the bay superb kayaking is reached, which ever way you head.  To the east is Belle Hougue, with steep slopes and some great tidal race paddling at certain times.  Heading to the west takes you towards Wolf's Caves and Sorel, steep cliffs and entertaining rock hopping.
Those who are attending the Sea Kayak Symposium in May, this year, will have the opportunity to paddle from here several times during the course of the week.  There are still a few places left, it is an excellent opportunity to visit Britain's most southerly inhabited island.
 High water on a neap tide.  The pier has always been a popular jumping location but unfortunately signs have appeared in the last couple of years stating it is not allowed.  Most people seem to ignore the signs as pier jumping is part of the heritage of Jersey people.
 Looking across to Bonne Nuit from Belle Hougue.  This clearly demonstrates how sheltered the harbour is from the south westerly winds, tucked in under some of the highest land in Jersey.
 Preparing to launch, early one January morning.  At low water on the larger spring tides the sea retreats to the end of the breakwater.
  Looking across to Belle Hougue, the tallest headland in Jersey, from the harbour wall.  There is a great tidal race, particularly on the ebb.  The sunlight is just catching the on the roof of La Crete Fort.
 Looking across Giffard Bay, from La Crete Fort.  On a big swell there is a lovely low tide break on this beach.
 La Crete Fort and Belle Hougue, the north coast footpath is clearly visible cutting across the hillside.  A walk or run along this path is a great way to spend a few hours and an excellent way to assess some superb paddling water.
Bonne Nuit from the west, the harbour is tucked in around the headland.  This picture clearly illustrates how quickly you reach an interesting section of coast.
Playing off Belle Houge, the tide is running from east to west and meeting the swell which is approaching from the west.  Great paddling.

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