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I was invited by Poole Canoe Club to join them on a trip to the Channel Islands on the live-aboard MV Salutay.

Day 1 - Sark
Day 2 - Les Ecrehous
Day 3 - Les Minquiers
Day 4 - Alderney

On the map, the tracks in red are the kayaking, click on the markers for details, click on the broken square symbol in the top right hand corner to make the map full screen. Use the satellite map to see Les Ecrehous and Les Minquiers.

Day 1 - Sark

After an early start, crossing the channel.

Skipper navigating the main shipping lanes.

Passing to the east of Alderney.

Arriving early afternoon to anchor in Le Grand Greve, Sark.

Most of the kayaks were stored on the roof.

Getting kayaks into the water was one thing.

Getting paddlers into their kayaks was another. An elevating platform on the side of Salutay helped.

Select the symbol in the top right hand corner of the map to toggle full screen.

GPS track on: Open Maps

We had a couple of hours before dinner so we headed off to the south end of Sark for some rock hopping.

On reaching the east side of the causeway it was time to turn back.

The causeway from our mooring.

Day 2 - Les Ecrehous

Select the Satellite view on the map to see Les Ercehous. Select the symbol in the top right hand corner of the map to toggle full screen.

GPS track on: Open Maps

We motored from Sark to Les Ecrehous, about 10k to the north west of Jersey.

Leaving Salutay.

Around the outliers.

Approaching Maitre Ile near low water .

The French coast in the distance.

The high tide mark visible in front of the huts.

Other visitors.

Looking south west to Jersey and our crossing to St Catherine's breakwater.

There was some cross flow from the tide but we made a good crossing to Jersey and were greeted by our hosts on their SUPs.

The plan had been to paddle to St Brelades but there wasn't enough time so we motored.

Approaching St Brelades some dolphins decided to entertain us. We had a superb view over the front of Salutay as they played on the bow wave.
There was just enough time for a quick paddle before dinner so a few of us set off towards La Corbiere lighthouse.

GPS track on: Open Maps

We ran out of time and had to turn back before reaching the lighthouse.

Day 3 - Les Minquiers

Select the Satellite view on the map to see Les Minquiers. Select the symbol in the top right hand corner of the map to toggle full screen.

GPS track on: Open Maps

After breakfast we motored south for about 20k to Les Minquiers, an area in the ocean of about 15k by 10k of rocks and shallows that are over 90% submerged at high water - an amazing place. Historically its sovereignty was disputed but it now belongs to GB.

Departing against a gentle wind and some tide.

Not a cloud in sight and the promise of a warm day to come.

Heading for Maitresse Ile.

The famous 'most southerly toilet' in the British Isles.

Main street.

The famous loo.

Someone decided to use the loo so a bucket of water was fetched.

Salutay at anchor with Jersey in the distance.

Sadly the time had come to leave.

We landed on a sandbank which had about an hour of exposure left with the flooding tide. (photo acknowledgement Dan J)

We then paddled against the tide to a spot on the sandbank where we could ferry glide back to Salutay (photo acknowledgement Monika L-B).

I had motored against the flow and when Salutay was clearly achievable I went back to see if anyone needed assistance; this can be seen on the GPS trace. After boarding we motored north to the west of Jersey to the bay in Sark where we'd anchored on day 1.

Day 4 - Alderney

Select the symbol in the top right hand corner of the map to toggle full screen.

GPS track on: Open Maps

In the morning we motored north to Alderney. As we travelled north east up 'The Swinge' between Alderney and Burhou, we picked up a 5 knot tide in our favour. It was spring tides and Alderney experiences some of the biggest flows and tide races.

Approaching the south west corner, the gannets from the colony at Les Etacs came into view.

Further to the north west was another gannet location - looking like a mini Ailsa Craig.


After mooring in Alderney harbour we set off on our anti-clockwise circumnavigation. We hoped that most of the strong flows and races would be sufficiently offshore for us to get around the inside.

Alderney was heavily fortified with a fortress on every headland.

One of the highlights of the day was the gannet colony at Les Etacs. We kept offshore as we went around the colony and were lucky to be there at slack water.

The rockhopping was big scale.

Soon after we had a lunch stop on a beach that was a sun trap.

The tip of the Cherbourg peninsula was clear.

It had all been too easy; as we approached the eastern end of the island we could see a strong flow around the headland. A few of us took a closer look, then after going ashore we scaled the castle remains to get an overview.

(photo acknowledgement Dan J)

We reckoned that to get around it would mean going a considerable way offshore and a long paddle against the flow, so we decided to portage across a rocky area next to the castle.

Then after some brief sprints against the flow we were around the north east tip and into the slack area.

One would not wish to be anywhere near this lighthouse when the foghorn is sounding.

Back to Alderney harbour. We had about an hour free before dinner so a few of us went ashore to explore Braye.

There was a consistent forecast of a high pressure over the UK with a squeeze of north easterly winds over the channel so the decision was to head for home rather than risk a rough crossing the following day. So as soon as we were all aboard, the Salutay raised anchor and headed for Portland.

A super trip, memorable for not only the paddling, locations and weather but also the company of fellow kayakers Allen, Monica, Ian, Margaret, Viv, Andy, Fraser, Roger, Dan and our hosts Al and Freda who looked after us so well and enhanced the experience. Thanks to all.

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