Sea Kayaking Adventures in Jersey- Wolf’s Cave
One of my favourite adventure activities in Jersey is to explore the many sea caves by sea kayak.
It is rare that you can sea kayak into Wolf’s Caves. You need calm conditions and the tide at the right height. If there is any swell about you could well find yourself having a bit more of an adventure than you bargained for.
In spite of a south force 4-5 blowing on the south coast of Jersey conditions at Bonne Nuit were calm so today’s adventure was to explore Wolf’s Caves.
Wolf’s Caves are at the bottom of the steepest and highest cliff on Jersey’s north coast and just below the Frémont Point TV mast. The caves are a little to the east of Cotil point and about a quarter mile from La Tete de Frémont Point.
The old Wolf’s Caves pub was one of those ‘traditional’ Jersey pubs which never changed. The décor seemed locked in the early 1970’s and was designed for one thing…drinking. There was even a large stuffed Wolf in a glass cabinet. This was our regular watering hole as teenagers, probably because we could get served without any questions asked about our age.
In Victorian and Edwardian times the descent to Wolf’s Caves below was very popular. The attraction was the large cave which is 20 metres deep. Today is only accessible by boat on a calm day. The path down to the caves is in a terrible state and descent is dangerous. Far better to arrive by sea kayak and explore the caves. Originally there was an iron ladder which gave access from the cliff-side, but this was removed by the Germans during the Occupation.
In Victorian times ladies would descend the very steep path to Wolf’s Caves and back up again in the ankle length, wide skirts which were de rigeur at the time. Their male counterparts would rarely be seen with out a suit and hat leading the ladies into the caves.
Once inside the cave there are three possible entrances. However, it is only possible to kayak in through one of these. One has traces of a cement path. There is a small shingle beach at the head of the cave which -at a squeeze- can just about be kayaked.
The origin of the name Wolf’s Caves
A legend of the origin of the name Wolf’s Caves is said to stem from the time when smugglers hid their booty in caves. In order to deter others from entering the smugglers are reputed to have made wolf noises. Personally I’m dubious of this suggestion because English was not widely spoken and most place names in Jersey are in French.
A further reason to doubt this explanation is due to the huge tidal range around Jersey which would seriously limit how long you could safely store contraband in a cave before it got washed away by the 12m tides.
An alternative reason for the origin of the name Wolf’s Caves may stem from the French word “Loup de Mer” or Wolf Fish. This can refer to the Sea Bass. However “Loup de Mer” can also refer to Monk Fish. Perhaps the caves were a good fishing spot.
Derek Hairon Find us on Google+