Les Minquiers sea kayaking trip. Offshore sea kayaking in Jersey
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.
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!
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!
Details about our charter boat sea kayak trips to les Minquiers.