Jersey Walk Adventures

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Maërl in Jersey and The violet Bank

January 11th, 2015

Jersey has a number of areas where you will find Maërl. This is the collective name for a  Coralline red algae. We often find this on our guided seabed walks. Beyond Seymour Tower, the huge purple beds may well be the reason the area got its name “The Violet bank”.

We often find small pieces of Maërl on our Karame walks we we head almost two miles from shore on the lowest tides of the year. Advance booking is advised. You can find the dates of these low tide walks here:

book now

Maërl is a seabed habitat of great conservation significance. Around Jersey the first signs of Maërl is usually the tiny purplish or bleached white coral like bits Lithothamnion corallioides scattered amongst rocks in the low tide zone. You will also see purple coloured rocks which are covered with Lithophyllum– a Coralline red algae. Maërl grows at a rate of about 1mm per year. It accumulates as unattached particles and forms extensive beds in suitable sublittoral sites.

Maërl beds act as nursery areas for the juvenile stages of many commercially caught fish species and juvenile scallops.

Maërl beds offer physical refuge and protection from predation as well as productive feeding grounds but are easily damaged by dredging and towed fishing gear.

Some Ormer fishermen tell me that where they see large areas of Lithothamnion they expect to find ormers. The baby ormers feed on a film of bacteria which grows on the Lithothamnion.

Dredging limits around Jersey

Proposed additional zones around Jersey closed to mobile gear MPAs (green) and maerl present (yellow)

Local research has identified a few key factors:

  • Maërl is slow growing and essential to many species.
  • One local sample has contained 21 species of crustaceans, including one crab not recorded locally for 100 years.
  • After dredging, a survey in Scotland revealed a possible 70% drop in species inhabiting the Maërl beds.
  • It is possible that damaged/destroyed Maërl beds could result in slipper limpet (an invasive species) infestation in the area which would stop Maërl growing.

Recently Jersey introduced restrictions on commercial dredging for scallops and also the use of mobile fishing gear in areas where Maërl is present. Since 2017 this includes Les Ecrehou.

Here is a link to a short Video with more information about Maërl.

Derek Hairon

The Seashore Life of Jersey Book.Buy it here

December 8th, 2014

This handy sized guide will help you identify the marine life commonly found in Jersey’s rockpools, sandflats, gullies and other coastal habitats.

Buy online. £15 (free delivery within Jersey, add £2 for UK posting).

New Book: The Seashore Life of Jersey. Buy it here:

December 4th, 2014
Seahore life of Jersey book front cover

Buy The seashore life of Jersey

This handy sized guide will help you identify the marine life commonly found in Jersey’s rockpools, sandflats, gullies and other coastal habitats.

A perfect visual guide for anyone who enjoys exploring the seashore. Over 550 colour photos show some 367 marine and plant species commonly found around Jersey’s coastline. The English, Latin and Jèrriais names aid identification along with habitat location.

Buy online. £15 (free delivery within Jersey, add £2 for UK posting).

Call 07797853033

When ordering please quote ‘Seashore Life of Jersey book’.

Jellyfish in Jersey

August 3rd, 2014
Compass Jellyfish

Compass Jellyfish

We are seeing lots of jellyfish around the coastline of  Jersey this summer.

This is probably a result of the warmer sea temperature at the moment. Many bays in early August are reporting 19 degrees and aroudn the Oyster farms recordings of up to 30 degrees C has been recorded as the tide comes in.

Compass and blue Jellyfish seem to be the most frequent sightings. Often we are seeing them washed into small bays.

Here is a link to a useful chart showing some of the more common Jellyfish you are likely to find around Jersey.

More information in on the Marine Conservation Society Website.

Walking on the Moon for World Wetlands Day

February 9th, 2014
Standing on the seabed at Karame beacon Jersey

Karame beacon almost 2 miles from Jersey

The South East Coastal Ramsar Wetlands site in Jersey is one of the more unusual Ramsar wetland areas. This year World Wetlands day coincided with the lowest tide of the year – ideal for Derek and Trudie Hairon of Jersey Walk Adventures to organise a seabed walk to explore this remarkable world. Jersey’s South East Coast Ramsar area was designated a wetlands site in 2000 – the first in Jersey.

Jersey has tidal ranges of up to 12m. On 2nd February the low tide reached 0.4m. Whilst others sat down for lunch a small group together with a journalist of BBC Radio Jersey headed almost 2 miles offshore to Karame beacon, a navigational tower that most people only see when they pass by in a boat.

This walk is only possible on the lowest tides of the year so advance booking is essential. You’ll find dates listed here.

Octopus in Jersey

Octopus on a Scallop shell

The walks are often called “Mooonwalks” due to the remarkable landscape of rocks, shingle and sand bars, which are revealed at low tide, and a labyrinth of gullies and wide rivers. However, unlike the lunar landscape the intertidal zone is a world which is full of marine life.

The walk aimed to raise awareness of the unique biodiversity of the area and reconnect people with the marine environment. Cameron from BBC Radio Jersey joined us and produced a short radio documentary of the walk which highlighted our favourite topics – as well as letting us hear what we sound like to our clients. Hopefully we did not sound to bad.

There were many exciting finds: whelks busy egg laying, a few sand-eels, blue rayed limpets feeding on laminaria seaweeds, further a tiny octopus, some scallops and numerous varieties of clams.

Whelks laying eggs

Whelks laying eggs

For many the walk was an opportunity to explore one of the remotest areas of Jersey and experience the islands very own wilderness. Considering how low the tide was many in our party were surprised at how few people were out low water fishing. This reveals how much we have lost contact with one of our island traditions.

Go back a couple of generations and the Violet Bank would have been mobbed with islanders gathering their supper. My mother recalls my grandfather going low water fishing and popping a limpet into his mouth first thing down at the beach. He’d spend the next few hours chewing – like chewing gum – the limpet as he harvested a seafood meal for the family.

Violet bank Ramsar site in Jersey

Violet bank

Three of our group even manged to head home with their pockets stuffed full of clams and shellfish. Enough to make an evening meal of freshly foraged food and reconnect with our traditions. The sharing of the catch took place in the nearby Seymour Inn afterwards.

A short report was submitted to the Ramsar Convention World Wetlands Day website.

More photos are on our Facebook page.

Derek Hairon on Google+

Plans to Enclose St Aubin’s Bay Revealed

September 24th, 2013
St Aubin bay reclamation 1850

Nothing new! Plans to reclaim land in St Aubin’s bay dated 1850

A while ago I was passed this sketch showing the proposed enclosure of St Aubin’s Bay. It certainly shows that nothing is new.

This demonstrates how ambitious our 19th century ancestors were. Considering it is dated 1850 it shows how this was the age of grand designs.

I wonder how they coped with the environmental impact study and planning application….

Derek

St Aubin’s Bay Water Quality Workshop

September 19th, 2013

Last night we attended this workshop. The aim is to develop the vision and objectives for St Aubin’s bay which will aim to protect the ecology whilst still allowing business and leisure activities to thrive in the bay. A tricky task especially when the workshop was exploring:

  • What currently happens in the Bay and what makes it special?
  • What is going well and what are current concerns?
  • Suggestions for objectives to deliver the vision.

The structure of the event was good with plenty of opportunity for input and perhaps the most interesting feature is how an Ecosystem approach is being suggested. What this means is that it is more than just looking at the bay but is considering implications such as the water run-offs and sewage.

There certainly seems to be a lot of concern about the bay and how what is perhaps the most often viewed bay on the island can be enhanced. A lot of people suggested improving the bay infrastructure and the reduction/removal of the sea lettuce which is a major problem facing the bay.

A useful evening.

Ultimately the success of this event will be judged by what actually results from it.

Jersey Kayak & Walk Adventures Win Jersey Enterprise Environmental Award

June 8th, 2013
Jersey Enterprise environment award

Jersey Enterprise Environment award presented to Jersey Walk & Kayak Adventures

We have just been awarded the 2013 Jersey Enterprise Environmental Credentials Award sponsored by Jersey Electricity Company.

The awards night was attended by over 600 people with 90 entrants. We are just one of 4 Green Tourism Gold standard businesses in Jersey.

The judge’s commented:

“Jersey Kayak and Walk Adventures are ambassadors for the environment in which they operate. Their environmental credentials and sustainable business plan were fully endorsed last year when Jersey Kayak Adventures became only the fourth Jersey business to be awarded the UK’s Green Tourism Scheme Gold standard.”

Here is an edited synopsis of our award winning entry which gives a little more insight into our eco-tourism and environmental approach.

Environmental Excellence

GTBS Gold for guided walks in JerseyJersey Kayak and Walk Adventures was awarded Green Tourism Business Scheme GOLD in 2012.

We encourage eco-friendly transport by offering eco-discounts to clients who use the bus, walk or cycle to get to our venues.

Developed a supplier screening questionnaire to ensure we are using the most environmentally friendly suppliers when possible.

Staff pick up litter found on beaches/sea and encourage clients to assist.

Bird counts on north coast of Jersey. Organised Societe Jersiaise Marine Biology section overnight at Seymour tower to conduct research in Ramsar wetlands site. Our discovery of unusual bioluminescent creatures on the seabed is generating new research data and presents an exciting market opportunity.

Derek Hairon and Trudie Trox

Trudie and Derek collecting the Environment award

Supported the Genuine Jersey Food Festival.

Introduction of an Oyster Trail, which culminates in tasting local oysters at Seymour Inn to encourage buying local seafood. Individuals, who otherwise wouldn’t buy oysters, are motivated to try local produce.

Edible seaweed walk developed for the Genuine Jersey Food Festival 2012/3 We linked up with local restaurants who are producing a seaweed themed menu.

Our Director Derek Hairon is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Sustainable Business Forum.

Customer surveys reveal that for 53% of clients our Eco-awards are a factor when booking.

Changed design and contents of brochures to enhance longevity and reduce the disposal of costly brochures e.g. if prices or dates change each year. Use paper from sustainably managed forests.

Recycling of ink cartridges and use of recycled paper.

Participated in Jersey College for Girls School Eco Day. Produced games and competitions for the children to learn about the local marine ecosystem.

Discounted rates for schools and youth groups.

Jersey Kayak and Walk Adventures is the Seymour Tower guide trainer for Jersey Heritage Trust.

Water consumption in 2012 reduced.

Electricity kept to similar levels to 2011

Vehicles fuel costs held to similar levels in spite of fuel increases.

Leadership

Regular meetings with staff and involvement in the development of operating procedures ensure that quality is maintained.

Rewarding staff commitment by funding further training e.g. first aid courses, Jersey Tourism Bronze Badge guide course.

Our guides deep knowledge of local history and nature is regularly praised by clients.

Strategy

We meet National Standards for our activities: Adventuremark, Learning Outside the Classroom. Annual inspections by UK based national governing bodies (NGBs) ensure our processes meet current good practice and also enable us to learn of new ideas and developments.

We support staff to undertake further training e.g. Jersey Tourism Bronze Badge award. This has resulted in an increase in staff motivation and commitment.

People & Process

Apart from selecting and maintaining high quality equipment and the promotion of Jersey’s natural beauty, the quality of our staff is the key to our success. The company stands on good communication with our customers as well as within the company to guarantee best performance. Staff meetings at the beginning and end of the season take place and staff receive direct feed back during the season. Compliments are passed on to staff along with our customer service feedback survey.

We fund staff participation in conferences and courses, not only to keep their currant instructor qualification valid (First Aid; Wild Life Safe training).

New ideas for specialised walks were developed by staff, which generated increased income.

With customers leaving booking more and more to the last minute in 2012 we invested in an office manager to facilitate a more efficient customer service. The introduction of an online credit card payment system frees up staff time.

Product, Pricing and Marketing

New products developed/introduced/or planned in 2013:
Special walks for families with young children,
Food walks with the focus on oysters and seaweed
Participation in the Jersey Food Festival
Guided fungi forays.

Oysters and seaweed walks combined with dinner events promote and support local businesses, e.g. members of Genuine Jersey, from where Jersey Walk Adventures now also receives marketing support. The food walks raised considerable media interest at a local, national and international level and helps to promote Jersey.

To add value to our products and attract new customers we invested in Wellington boots and neoprene aqua shoes. This service has created extra income stimulating the booking of walks in winter and at night with visitors and locals alike (who might have been deterred from booking because they lacked suitable footwear). Walks bookings have increased.

New business opportunities off island: Creation of an island walking program with a Swiss personal development and team building company.

Customer Focus

Customer satisfaction is vital for the business, as in the small community of Jersey word of mouth is the best recommendation – proven by our annual customer survey.

German speaking staff are able to target the developing German market.

Click to view JWA certifications and organisations we support