What a great trip from Guernsey to St Helier. The sails went up just outside St Peter Port and the engine wasn’t switched on until 1/2 hour before we arrived. St Helier marina was open as we approached the cill, so there was no waiting around. And the harbour master directed us to a prime spot at the end of one of the visitors pontoons.
If all this was planned for us, it couldn’t have been planned better.
There are three principle reasons why we felt compelled to visit Jersey:
1. We arranged some things to be delivered to the harbour master’s office
2. Our flag set included a Jersey courtesy flag
3. It looks nice in the brochures
Photographs in those brochures are beautiful, so expectations were high, and a risk of sunken disappointment was lurking in the mist as we turned the corner into St Helier. But the sun came out and we found it to be particulary lovely. The people are friendly, the place has a cosmopolitan feel to it. And it seems to live up to its claim to be the sunniest place in the British Isles.
There is even a tourist train.
This time we managed to lure ourselves away from the tourist train and took the tourist bus instead. An old classic open top green bus that shuttles passengers around the western side of the island, and throws in a couple of site-seeing stops along the way.
At one of these stops, Corbiere lighthouse, the seagulls have trained themselves to steal ice creams from tourists.
I kid you not. And if I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes – I would not have believed it.
The ice cream vendor made a specific point of mentioning this, stating that the safest place to eat his produce is with your back to his stall. Some ignored this, probably thinking he was making this up. But these birds are smarter. The tactic they use is to do a wide scan of the area to identify a victim, then approach from the blind side – at least 120 degrees abaft the beam in nautical parlance – and grab the ice cream with their feet. I saw this happen twice in the space of five minutes.
This nearly happened to Maria, who made the mistake of wandering from the safety of her back to the shack. One of the seagulls spotted this transgression and made his approach from the rear with feet at the ready. I spotted it too, and suggested she make a move. She got away with it – just.
I know this is ignoring the cultural heritage of the island, of which there is plenty – and it’s fascinating – but I found this incredible.
And so is the scenery. The brochures aren’t airbrushed – it really is stunning.
The prices aren’t too outrageous in the restaurants either. Although I should caveat here that my analysis is restricted to the fish and chips restaurant near the marina. And I spotted a price board proclaiming diesel to be 50p per litre at the marina fuel pontoon. That really does float a northern lads boat.
Jersey is the last place we will visit before we move on towards the Bay of Biscay. Spain is calling.
After leaving St Helier , we will make our way west across Brittany, then south towards A Coruna or Gijon – depending on the weather conditions.