Our second stop turned out to be the small island of Alderney. On the way past Cap de la Hague (a notorious headland in bad weather) we were visited by a dolphin. The trip from Cherbourg is only 25 miles so we were able to pick up a mooring buoy by 1400. After lunch, we wandered into the only town on the island, St Anne, which is up a hill from the harbour and very quaint. Alderney was evacuated during WWII and the island turned into an internment camp. Nowadays, there are around 2,000 people living there but swells to many more during the summer months. The local chandlery runs the water taxi service where the driver looks suspiciously like “one of the girls”.
From there we left the following morning for the long trip down to Jersey. With the first of the ebb tide, we went through the Swinge rather than go the long way round. This is another channel like the Alderney Race with a fearsome reputation with its fast running currents and outlying rocks. It was an uneventful journey as the sea was calm and the wind nearly non-existent, although we still managed 10 knots. We did pass a rock near Alderney that was white from all the nesting gulls.
Jersey, the largest of the islands, also has its share of history. Occupied during WWII, there was one German soldier for every four civilians. Heavy fortifications were built including an underground hospital by slave workers from Russia and locals. The history of the war is told at the Jersey War Tunnels. Well worth the visit.
There was a boat show on in the marina whilst we were there but it turned out to be a rather damp affair as it poured with rain on the Friday afternoon and all day Saturday – unlike the Thursday evening when we arrived.