Week 9 - Guernsey in The Channel Islands 

15th - 23rd April 

150419 6 St Peters Port Harbour Guernsey from Fort George.jpg

St Peters Port Guernsey 


150419 2 Tides out and dinghy is high and dry.jpg

Heading out of Weymouth Harbour on Thursday 16th we set the sails and pointed in the direction of Guernsey and we were off - literally. We had one of those rare runs when the wind was in agreement with where we were headed and the traffic of the English channel coordinated brillantly with our crossing so that not a beat  was missed. Covering the 73nm in 8 hours from setting off from the dock to being tired up in St Peters Port we were most impressed.

150419 1 Castle Cornet.jpg150417 2 St Peters Port Town.jpg

Our berth for the next week was a waiting pontoon in the harbour that was marginal on depth. We could have gone into the QEII Marina but that would have meant rafting up and given the wind direction and force we knew was on its way we opted to stay where we were. Just as well apparently a French charter boat not two days later came in and did damage to several boats as it bounced off everyting in its path until secured. 

Getting to shore meant considering the tide and given we were on Springs (big tidal differences between high and low) getting it wrong meant finding a nice place for coffee or more shopping. Not a bad thing really.

Guernsey is located just 50 kms west of Frances Normandy coastline and 120 kms south of Weymouth from where we had sailed. Given its location it is not surprising that it has had a long history of battles between the French and English for ownership. The most recent history of occupation was in 1940 when the Germans occupied Guernsey for five years. Having read the book “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” it was interesting to now be on the island and to see the true history of what must have been such a terrible time. 

150418 4 The Candie Gardens St Peters Port.jpg

In St Peters Port we visited Castle Cornet initially as it looked like the best place to head to on a very windy Sunday. It turned out to be much more than a castle that has guarded the island for over 800 years. Inside its walls were five museums outlining the history of the island including maritime, RAF, infantry and military. Over a few days we wandered the cobblestone streets of the Old Quarter, found the Candy Gardens with its beautiful flowers that were struggling to hang onto their blooms in the blow and confused ourselves with the many staircases that thread their way between buildings down to the harbour. 

150420 3 The Little Chapel.jpg

We have been spoilt for local assistance on the island. Our first host was David Clarke a distant cousin of Andrew who has been on the island for 13 years and happy to call Guernsey his home. David kindly collected us on a very windy day and took us for a drive around the island to get a view outside of St Peters Port.

Richard Holme whom we had met in Southampton also gave us a tour of the island and in particular a close up view of the entrance to Beaucette Marina. Once a quarry the entrance to the harbour is interesting and challenging to say the least. Not one that we envisage ever taking Katherine into. A great meal was also enjoyed in the evening with his daughter at the Duke of Richmond Hotel - the scallops were amazing.

150423 1 Another one for the  collection.jpg

Last but certainly not least was Phil Babbe who we had met a year ago in Haderslev at the X-Yacht factory. Phil kindly assisted us with local knowledge for a few bits for Katherine along with drive all over the island visiting The Little Chapel, a work of art or insanity is debatable, the Cafe at Cobo Beach and definitely finding us the best fish and chips to date at the local Guernsey Yacht Club. 

Though it was not the most direct route to get to Cherbourg coming via Guernsey we are very pleased we took up the suggestion and stopped a while. Andrews even managed to find a local Gin to add to the collection.  So now with our Guernsey pounds spent its time try and speak a little French.

au revoir


© SV Katherine 2017      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Faro Portugal with Askari of Australia