CSCC Reports 2010: Jersey Sea Kayaking Symposium - June 2010

Beth, Fi, Mark, Stephen, Chris and I attended the final Jersey sea kayaking symposium (28th May - 4th June 2010). We arrived on the ferry a day before the official start and, after settling in at the Beuvelande campsite, CSCC paddled in bright sunshine from St Catherine's slip to Gorey and back.

The symposium began with a mixture of coaching sessions and scenic paddles. The choices of the CSCC contingent ranged from core skills like navigation and rescues and rolling to more specialist activities such as fishing, video coaching and inuit paddle making. The sessions were expertly led by volunteers from Jersey and Scotland.

As the week progressed the symposium focussed on trips including the following-

- Fi, Mark and Stephen successfully completed the open crossing between St Catherine's and the Ecrehous reef;
- Chris, Beth and I performed well in comparatively rough conditions on the north east coast;
- all apart from Fi and Mark undertook the long scenic paddle between St Catherine's and Ouisne Bay (via St Helier) and explored the caves near Greve de Lecq.

On the wildlife front, the highlight for me was when Chris pointed out the puffins flying up to their nests on cliffs on the north west coast. Also on that trip we spotted razorbills and fulmars. Oystercatchers were present in lots of locations around the island. Lucky Fi and Mark spotted dolphins at the Ecrehous.

In addition to all the paddling and training sessions the organisers worked tirelessly to arrange evening events. We all attended the BBQ at the Greve de Lecq fort where we were treated to a beautiful sunset and we also made it to the dinner at the restaurant overlooking Corbiere lighthouse. The latter was made even more enjoyable by a win for Fi in the boat raffle. Jealous comments were avoided, as a rumour was circulating that the civil servants were shortly to be made redundant...

We were a little semi-detached from the symposium, as we had booked our campsite before the decision was taken by the organisers to offer camping at Haut de la Garenne. This had its disadvantages, as we struggled to get accurate, up to date information regarding upcoming paddles. However, it did mean that it made it easier to take time out and do relaxing things like visiting the zoo and we had much better shower and cooking facilities. Our campsite was within walking distance of 'The Royal' in St Martin's and we had fun trying to get a frowning face displayed on the speedometer in the green lane, which for some reason was sensitive enough to detect pedestrians.

From time to time I struggled to cope with all the dashing around from place to place and, as has become traditional on summer holidays, I had a set-to with an elderly tourist (this time over my haphazard parking of the roaring lion). There was so much going on at the symposium that we failed to make it to everything. In particular, we all missed the keynote lecture (it was a choice between that or dinner). We did gradually get into the swing of things though and by the end of the week we were getting up at 6.30am so that we could fit everything in and arrive on time. We wouldn't have done this for anyone else! Kevin Mansell and his hard working friends did a marvellous job and the club is fortunate indeed to have been invited to the final three Jersey symposiums.


Chris's pictures