If you haven't squeezed into your swimsuit for quite a while, the experience of exposing tender bodyparts to the elements might be too much of a shock for the less than (fool)hardy. Sea kayaking seemed like a good idea at the planning stage but I needed a bit of convincing when told to go down the slipway and put on a wetsuit fully exposed not only to the elements but also to any unfortunate passer by who happened to taking in the sea view.
I tackled the task of getting into the damp, impossibly tight neoprene in stages, so that no part of me was exposed to the rain for an unnecessary length of time, only to be told by Caz, our instuctor, that I'd got it on back to front.....already I was wishing that I had opted to stay in the nearby, cosy cafe eating freshly made doughnuts.
The waves were slapping menacingly against the concrete as we hauled the kayaks down to the water's edge. The brief transition from landlubber to seafarer was daunting but suddenly I was bobbing off towards the open sea trying to remember what exactly we had been told to do with the paddle. Surprisingly, it seemed calmer on the water than it had done on the shore and the kayak was a lot more stable than you might expect.
Caz was an entusiastic instructor and as we paddled along the rocky shoreline he was telling us how he collects seaweed from the North coast of the island to sell to local restaurants. 'Foraging' for wild foods is suddenly trendy but Richard Mabey was extolling the virtues of eating nettles and other 'weeds' 30 years ago in his book Food for Free. I had a brilliant idea out there at the mercy of the waves - why not hold 'Foraging week-ends' at the gites so that people can come and collect wild foods and cook them.......watch this space - first of all I need to try them myself.
Back to life on the ocean wave. We explored St Catherines Bay and headed back to shore wishing that we could spend more time messing about on the water. I'd love to try 'coasteering', which involes making your way around the coast on foot, both in and out of the sea. All of these activities are organised by Jersey Adventures and are great value for money.
We finished off our adventure with a late breakfast at the 'Breakwater Cafe' overlooking the sea. Steaming mugs of tea and food that has never tasted so good!