Jersey Walk Adventures

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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’.

How to cook limpets

June 4th, 2014
Limpets being cooked

Limpets on a base of winkles

Limpets are really easy to cook writes Bev who recently stayed in Seymour tower with her children.

Send the boys out to collect but really only winter months (our first ever exception for Seymour tower) please ask people to take only small amounts and from a wide area and to take all sizes as the females are large and the males small and I think reproduce differently at differing stages in their lifecycle so it is important to do this or it is easy to decimate a whole population by only taking larger specimens.

Cooking is easy, some people take them out of their shells raw then take the black sac off, we found this a bit of a fiddle so just stick some garlic butter on the top and put them in a hot oven until they look done when they are coming away from the shells and garlic butter just browning. Usually i use a snail dish or just a tiny holed muffin/petit four case making tin to hold them upside down but any small fairy cake tray will do, or even a dish of old winkle shells!

Sometimes they need a quick scrub before cooking if they have been in a sandy or weedy bucket..minimal prep really!

Bon appetit!!

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+

How to catch Razor clams

November 10th, 2012

Low water fishing for Razor clams (or Razor fish) in Jersey

Razor fish

The best way to find Razor fish is to join us on our seabed walks to Icho Tower. We often walk through Razor fish beds on this walk.

Icho Tower walks are listed via the Book now button:

book now

This is a method of low water fishing that really has an excitement and drama like no other. For many the hunt for Razor clams is their overriding memory of low water fishing and is one of Jersey’s low water traditions.

Years ago many families looking for a way of keeping their children busy would pop down to the beach in search of Razor clams -locally known as Razor fish. Not only were the children kept amused, they also caught their supper.

Today, very few people head out in search of Razor clams.

Where to find Razor clams or Razor fish

Find an area of sandy shore right down by the low tide line. Usually tides below 1.5m should be okay. We often find them near Icho Tower and also at the south side of the main channel leading out from La Rocque harbour.

The Icho and Two Towers walks are the best walks to find Razor fish on. Dates of our seabed explorations are listed here.

Best Walk to join to see Razor fish

The best walk to join to see Razor fish is on the Icho Tower walks. Visit our dates page.

How to catch Razor clams

Armed with a packet of salt (there seems to be no correlation between sea salt or rock salt) start searching for small key hole like shapes in the sand. A clue that you are in a Razor fish area is when you see fountains of water erupting for the sans as you walk across.

Keep you shadow away for the key hole and pour some salt into the hole. They wait. With luck you should catch a Razor clam.

An advantage of involving the children in the task is that they can be ’employed’ to do the back breaking task of bending down to gather the Razor fish!

Razor clams appear in various recipes so it’s worth gathering a few to try cooking at home.

The small top of the Razor clam that falls off as the the clam comes out of its burrow appears to be a sacrificial offering to any predictor the clam things is attacking it.

In case you do not believe this, here is the video:

How to eat Razor clams

The tastiest part is the foot (when extended for the shell it looks a bit like a ‘willy’). Most people do not eat the black stomach. The Razor clam is cooked when it loses its translucent appearance. Try lightly grilling or barbecued Razor clams with a little lemon juice.

Responsible Razor fishing

If you plan to eat Razor clams only take what you need. If you are just curious to try out this old method of razor fishing please do this in moderation to avoid damaging the stocks.

Razor clams can live for around 20 years and are a very good indicator of a rich a diverse marine environment. If you are looking for one indicator of a vibrant intertidal zone look out for the tell tale fountains of Razor clams.

Around Jersey the minimum size is 10.cm. Only gather when there is a letter “r” in the month.

Blue Rayed Limpets on the Violet Bank

February 12th, 2012
Blue-rayed Limpet on Laminaria, Jersey

Blue-Rayed Limpet

It is easy to miss these little wonders.

Attached to Laminaria, the Blue-Rayed Limpet ( Helcion pellucidum) happily munches its way through the stem of the Laminaria which gradually weakens it until it breaks off. You often see the little indentations on the Kelp when the stems are washed up onto the beach.

Blue-Rayed Limpets grow up to 15mm and are almost always on Laminaria. It takes a bit of hunting to spot them. We spotted lots while out on our walk to the end of Jersey to Karame beacon and the Violet bank. This spot is only accessible on some of the very lowest tides.

With such bight colours I like to think of them as being dressed in their best outfits before heading off to party.

The “little rascal” Large Necklace Shell (Euspira catena)

February 1st, 2012
Necklace shell Seymour tower area Jersey

Necklace Shell

February is the time to find the Large Necklace Shell’s large egg ribbons in the sandy gullies near Little Seymour and Seymour Tower. These large molluscs grow up to 3 cm and look a bit like a garden snail.

They lay their eggs in collar like ribbons consisting of sand, mucus and eggs. (The smaller egg ribbons of the Alder Necklace Shell resemble flat sand spirals.)

Forget all the nice images of marine wildlife.

The first Necklace shell hatchlings feed on the eggs surrounding them. Once fully grown their appetite switches to eating bivalves, e.g. cockles, which they dig up from the seabed.

First they soften the shell chemically and then drill a neat hole near the hinge to get inside. The cockle is paralysed and killed – and will open up, full of fine food … Life on the seabed!

Drilled Cockles.Made by a Necklace Shell Grouville Jersey

Drillholes made by a Necklace Shell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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