Jonathan Cunnison (P275 "Alchemist")
As work commitments meant that we had to leave the Summer cruise early, we decided to visit Herm and Sark on our way back from St Peter Port, as the rest of the fleet set off for Jersey and France.
The passage to Herm is well covered in the pilots and, once you have adjusted to the Channel Islands norm of sailing in water that dries several metres at low tide, is straightforward. We went straight across to Herm Harbour where four or five boats were already moored.
Mooring here is to chains on the sand bottom – be warned, some of the chains were not connected to their sinkers when we visited. The bottom is described as sand, but has scattered pebbles that are apparently thrown up by the frequent ferries using the harbour around high water. The water was wonderfully clear (and warm) so it was an easy job to clear the stones from under Alchemist. After a few hours we settled comfortably on the sand, just below the island office and water tap.
In order to dry out on Herm, you must register at the island office – once completed, this permission remains valid for the calendar year. We were invited to make a payment to reflect our anticipated usage of this facility, and my offer of £5 for one night seemed to be the right level.
Once the trippers leave around six, Herm becomes even more magical than normal. An air of peace and calm descends (though James (7) and Henry(5) set out to change this!). The pub is calmer and child friendly, so a pleasant evening was had by all.
The only downside was that when we dried out overnight, the propeller skeg hit a hidden stone and bent 30 degrees. We left the next morning, but will return to dry out in Shell Beach when the weather is right. Include an overnight stay in Herm in your cruise plans – it is worth it.