Up the Creek - Further Afield

St. Peter Port and Havelet Bay, Guernsey, Channel Islands

St. Peter Port Harbour with the Waiting Pontoon, Visitors Pontoons (showing shore access) and Victoria Marina

   St. Peter Port is the centre and main port in Guernsey. This port being commercial can be very busy with local traffic especially Cruise Ship Tenders.  Beware strong easterlies when entering the harbour.  It is the hub of the area attracting vessels from UK as well as France and is always very popular.   On entry on port, fuel is available (tidal) by the “Boatworks” chandlers wall (floating pontoon, bottom left of photo) on Castle Pier (Tel 01481-726071) with Petrol, Gas and “fast” & normal flow of Diesel at almost Vat free prices.   Continue onwards west then north and you will be met by one of several Harbour Masters and directed to an isolated Waiting pontoon where you may have to raft in considerable numbers should your visit be popular. It is sometimes necessary to keep your engine running to correct the swing of the trot.  When the tide is right (water available over the sill) you again will be directed to a mooring inside Victoria Marina (entrance approx. ±2½ hrs HT for 1½ M draft) with assistance should it be required.  On occasions due to its popularity one can be rafted so much so that one can walk across boats from one pontoon to another and if so will have to reverse out of the trot so expect the worst and enjoy the best.  

   There is a Tide Gauge on the north wall of the marina facing the waiting pontoon and the approx. limit on draft inside is 2.1 M and LOA 12.8 M (if in doubt, phone ahead).   You can also “dry-out” on Sleepers against the west wall and by arrangement, electricity.  The central Bus station supplying services to all parts of the Island is just some 100 M south of the marina with tickets available from shops & stalls.   The 800 year old Castle Cornet is always worth a visit especially the firing of the “noonday” canon.   Its a short re-enactment but the cannon charged with a 1/3 rd charge still gives one a shock (and the smoke gets everywhere).   Harbour Masters can be contacted on Tel 01481-720029 or VHF CH 80 and a Water Taxi (Terry Hodson) on Tel 01481-424042 VHF CH 10 or Mob 07781-108767.   An alternative mooring would be the Visitors moorings north of the Visitors pontoon outside the Marina.  Beware the drying area west of these pontoons.   These have water only but pontoons 1 to 4 are Walk Ashore to the Victoria Pier.  Pontoon no 5 is isolated.  Again during peak times, expect rafting.  These pontoons are ideal for a layover for tidal advantage being able to slip at any time but they are more liable to swells (especially easterlies).  Moorings in Queen Elizabeth 11 (North Beach) and Albert Marina’s are mainly for local but are available to visitors by prior arrangement.   Guernsey Yacht Club (Tel 01481-722838), Castle Emplacement on route to Castle Cornet (has a quiet balcony facing east) and Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club (Tel 01481-723154 Office or 01481-725500 Club), 57 Lower Pollet (just north of  Victoria Marina) are both worth a visit, my preference being the RCIYC.
There is a plethora of restaurants all within walking distance with pubs to match both too many to mention here.  Shops of all kinds with a small underground Co-Op behind the church and an M&S on the front, ideal for vittling.   Best of all, as there are so many fishermen in the area, is a small supplier of fresh and if required, cooked to order sea food which I can certainly recommend especially when served with Guernsey’s home grown Jersey Royals (and a glass or 2 of a chilled white nectar) consumed in a sunny & warm cockpit.  Also if you are keen on Fish ‘n Chips then try “Guernsey Fish & Chips” in Fountain Street (Tel 01481-722108) reputedly the best on the Island.   Should you require assistance in maintaining your vessel then first try Boatworks (Tel 01481-726071) within walking distance, is the biggest around and who also serve fuel.   There’s just too much to see and view on the Island and a bus (£1 around the Island) will stop where ever you are, just hold out your hand.  I cannot emphasise enough the efficiency and ease of using the Guernsey Bus Service.   Worth a visit is Victor Hugo’s house (Tel 01481-723301), once French Territory where he spent many years in exile. Its located in Hauteville just a short walk from Victoria Marina and can be recognised by a Tricolour flying above.   There’s a labyrinth of narrow streets, winding steps, mysterious alley cuts and old town houses all supporting each other fitting in perfectly.   Just walk a little out of town and explore.  You will truly be amazed.

Boatworks (blue) in distance

Waiting pontoon (left)

Street Market & Drying out Wall (with slip)

Wedged-in Victoria Marina

View of the Marina from the Terrace

The Street Market

View of the Harbour Entrance (Cruise Liners outside)

The new Trimaran in the Harbour

Mysterious alley cuts or Hidden Walkways

Hidden Walkways with a view

Streets full of Character

'The Terrace' Thai Restaurant (a Gem)

A sign inside the Restaurant

With the Soldiers in Castle Cornet after the Noonday Cannon

Evening on the Balcony of Guernsey YC with Floodlit Castle Cornet in the background

Havelet Bay south of Harbour

 Should you be somewhat restrained by draft or LOA or just want a quiet undisturbed anchorage then you should look at Havelet Bay just south of the Castle Emplacement.  It is advisable to “buoy” your anchor (tripping line).   Holding is very good but of course no protection from easterlies and you should expect a persistent rolling swell near high water even in quiet weather.   This Bay is generally used as an Overflow anchorage in the high season so you could expect company.   Crowded in Summer and beware of swimmers far out.  There’s a landing slip on the bay side of the wall (NE of Bay) with water at all states of the tide to ensure your dinghy stays dry.  Once at anchor you would not be too far from several shore side swimming pools (SW of Bay) and also Guernsey’s Aquarium.  In 1967 the Aquarium was transformed from WW2 tunnels into what you see today and is open 7 days a week inc. Bank Holidays.  Another to try is the German Occupation Museum (Tel 01481-238205, closed Mondays) just south of the airport behind Forest Church.

Havelet Bay showing the best areas for anchoring
(and the areas to avoid)

© Copyright Terry Paynter