One of the best things about having friends to visit (apart from the obvious joy of catching up) is that it allows you to unashamedly pop on your tourist hat and do something that seems a little too decadent for an average weekend.
Last time my joint-favourite Australian Chick popped over to the rock, we spent the night surrounded by Lemurs in a yurt at Jersey Zoo, which was always going to be tough to top. But top it we certainly did! This last weekend the stars all aligned, the weather gods smiled down, and on Sunday morning we stepped aboard Farways, a Fontaine Pajot Athena 38 Catamaran, owned and sailed by the lovely people at Go-Sail Jersey, for a day-long adventure sailing right around the Island.
Heading out East under a brilliant blue sky with the sun beating down, we couldn’t believe our luck. The boat takes up to 10 passengers and 2 crew, but on this occasion there were just 4 of us, plus our friendly and experienced Captain, Nigel. We had plenty of room to relax and stretch out around the table at the rear of the vessel, but before long we were reclined on the deck up front, soaking up the sunshine as we sailed through La Rocque harbour and on towards Gorey Castle.
Even after 14 years in Jersey, I’m still taken aback by the beauty of the north coast, and the towering cliffs are all the more impressive from the water. As lunchtime approached we dropped anchor in a secluded bay, where the only other signs of life were a few swooping oyster catchers and couple of kayakers who had stopped for a break on the rocky beach.
We tucked into a scrummy picnic and the bottle of Prosecco which is obligatory on such occasions, before girding our loins and jumping in for a quick but refreshing dip. Back on board and on the move again, we questioned our decision to swim when the sheer number of jellyfish along the coastline became apparent! (Happily Nigel assured us that he’d scanned the bay whilst dropping anchor, and that particular spot was free from the slippery little stingers).
As if the day wasn’t perfect enough already, as we rounded towards Plemont Bay there was a cry from the helm as Nigel pointed out a rippling patch of sea ahead, and we watched in awe as the first of two pods of dolphins showed themselves, gliding through the water, edging a little closer to take a look at us in return. This is the first time I’ve seen dolphins around Jersey, and it was utterly wonderful. The second pod were so close to Plemont that they must have been visible from the beach, so that’s where I’ll be spending my Summer days from now on!
Onwards we sailed, around L’etacq and along the west coast towards Corbiere lighthouse. I must admit that the sunshine and the gentle motion of the boat lulled me into a little nap as we turned back towards St Helier, but what’s a 20 minute snooze when we had 7 fantastic hours at sea?
Nigel proved his manoeuvring skills beyond all doubt when an unexpected gust of wind swept one of the deck cushions overboard around Beauport. Careful as we all are not to litter the ocean, it had to be retrieved, so with me perching at sea level on the steps and some impressive reversing, we eventually managed to grab the pesky pillow and bring it back on board.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at St Brelades Bay and wished it were me on one of those shiny white boats in the bay; and for one day only it was, at least briefly as we passed through! As the clock ticked closer to 5.30pm we headed on in still blazing sunshine past Portelet and Noirmont headland (keeping a sharp eye out for nudists!) and across St Aubins Bay towards our destination.
The whole day seemed to flash pass in a few minutes, and before we knew it we were passing Elizabeth Castle and pulling back up to the pier. I can honestly, hand on heart, say that it ranks in the top five days I’ve ever had in Jersey. Top 3 in fact. I hopped off the boat feeling like I’d had a therapy session, a spa treatment, a full days rest, an incredible Island tour and a good old girly gossip all at the same time. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat, and will certainly be back for more at the next opportunity.
Go Sail offer 3 hour south coast trips from the Albert Pier daily in summer, and the all day voyage that we enjoyed as often as the tides allow. It’s an absolute bargain too, at £40 per person for the morning trip, and £75 for the whole day. So what are you waiting for?
The only, only, negative from the whole experience is that I just don’t know how I’m going to better it the next time Elle comes to visit. Suggestions on a postcard please!! 😉