Friday, 28 August 2015

# 20 Visit the Ecrehous

Or Les Ecrehous to be exact. All Jersey people will be aware of this group of islands and rocks located around 6 miles off the north-east coast of the island, though not many have had the chance to visit. Despite what the French may think, they are part of the Bailiwick of Jersey and the parish of St Martin and, while there are no permanent residents, there is a small collection of buildings including an official customs house. For lots more info and history have a look at Wikipedia.

Jersey Seafaris offer various boat trips from and around the island and as there were initially ten of us planning on taking part (and twelve on the day) we booked a private trip just for us on Thursday 20th August. We were given the option to go in the morning, during high tide, and at 5pm in the evening when the tide would be low. We chose the later time which in the end turned out to be the right decision.

Our trip left from St Catherine's breakwater and we were met by Richard and his colleague who got us kitted out with waterproof jackets for those who wanted them and life vests for everyone.

I wasn't expecting the saddle-style seating at the front of the boat but they actually turned out to be quite comfortable.

Once the boat was away from the harbour our guides picked up the speed more than some of us had expected, however they were happy to slow down a bit on request. It took around 20 minutes to reach the islands at which point our guide slowed the boat right down and gave us a bit of information about our surroundings.

As mentioned above, our visit coincided with low tide which meant that a lot more of the rocks and islands were exposed and we had the opportunity to make a stop at a small, isolated beach for a few minutes. We learnt that this beach only appears at very low tides and is the only area of the Ecrehous made up entirely of shells (everywhere else is just rocks).

Our shell beach

After a short stop we returned to the rib and carried on towards the main island, passing a few seals on the way.

At around 5.45 we arrived at the main island and hopped off at the end of the small jetty. We then had 45 minutes to explore before we had to return to the boat.

At high tide these buildings are all separated by water

We all loved exploring the little collection of houses and imagining what it would be like to spend some time here.

We found a little red jellyfish stranded in a rock pool.

Finally it was time to head home and once we were clear of the islands our guide upped the speed again and even included some speedy twists and turns before we reached St Catherine's.

Someone's having fun!

Nearly home

All in all it was a brilliant trip. Although it wasn't sunny at least it stayed dry and the only small negatives were not seeing any dolphins and the trip not being long enough. Everyone agreed that they'd love to do another trip - maybe next time we'll go all the way to France!

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