Port Notes for Herm, Sark & Bembridge

This article was provided by Jonathan Cunnison (P275 "Alchemist") 

Herm – July 2001

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.

Sark – July 2001

We spent one night in Sark - with the prevailing North Easterlies we headed for Havre Gosselin on the east coast. We found that the anchorage had been fully occupied by about fifteen substantial visitors moorings, of which less than half were occupied. By some sixth sense, the mooring owner appeared within fifteen minutes of our having moored and sought £12 for an overnight stay! We learned that he has also laid moorings at Greve de la Ville on the west coast.

With the added reassurance of sitting on such a substantial mooring we embarked on a long voyage of exploration ashore, with even the youngest members of the crew managing both the steps and to get all the way to Creux Harbour and back (requiring only a few ice cream bribes en route!)

On sailing for Alderney the next morning, we were able to use the Gouliot Passage, where you feel that you can touch the vertical rock faces on each side!

Bembridge – March 2002

We visited Bembridge during the Easter weekend. The planned dredging inside the harbour has not yet been started, and is now planned for May 2002. The new jetty on the west side of the harbour has not yet been completed, though this is imminent. When completed, this will connect the longer mid harbour pontoon to the western shore south of Attrills. Apparently the Harbour Improvement Company have not been granted planning permission for loos and showers on this side of the harbour, but plan to use portacabins.

More news as the season progresses – and no doubt we will all see at the May rally!