SOME holiday moments take your breath away.
As the 600hp boat bounced along the water, its rollercoaster speed left me fighting for air.
Moments later, I was gasping for a very different reason: Dolphins!
Barely 20 metres away from me, their silver fins ducked and weaved playfully as they swam around the RIB boat.
Our speedy orange vessel was just a few kilometres off Jersey, delivering sights I thought were only possible on a tropical island getaway. Scooting along the water with Island RIB Voyages, we even earned a wave from a seal, his sleek head popping up between the waves as we came into dock at one of the rocky Les Ecréhous islands.
Les Ecréhous are a series of small rock formations with a fascinating history of pirates and hermits, all within clear sight of the French coast.
The island chain is home to a number of birds and a fishing hut or two precariously balanced on either end, with a tiny bay, perfect for paddling, in between.
Skimming stones and exploring all 300 metres of the biggest of the little Ecréhous islands, Maîtr’Île, it wasn’t long before we were back on board for more fast-paced action as the boat did doughnuts before bringing us safely back to Jersey.
The largest of the Channel Islands — a 40-minute flight from Heathrow — isn’t only for adrenaline-fuelled adventure. It boasts more than 30 bays with stunning views, coastal walks, museums and tunnels, plus plenty of fresh seafood.
One of the more stunning foodie spots is Sumas, a family-owned restaurant bringing oysters from the bay direct to your table.
Its poached salted-cucumber-and-chive oysters are so good that the owners are flooded with complaints if they take them off the menu.
We dive into the seafood with gusto before finishing with sweet lemon tarts and chocolate fondue cake, Mont Orgueil castle lit up on the hill beside us.
If you are after something more casual, Jersey offers that too. Huts like Hungry Man and The Hide Out dish up tasty bites such as bacon rolls and halloumi wraps with fresh chips to chow on as you sit by the beach.
EVie electric bikes are dotted around the island, easily paid for via an app. At six hours for £12, they are a great way to explore the coastline.
They make the island’s steepest hills a breeze and are ideal for travelling between the various historical sites.
Jersey’s five years under German occupation during World War Two helped establish a strong bond between locals you can still feel to this day.
Bunkers dot the coast while inland, the Jersey War Tunnels offer a glimpse into the years of hardship under German rule.
Also steeped in history is the Pomme d’Or Hotel in the centre of St Helier, the island’s capital. In keeping with modern times, it is also well equipped with coronavirus precautions.
Scene of triumph
Just a short walk to the town centre, the 4H hotel’s elegant rooms are also close to the stretch of boardwalk along the water as well as the Maritime Museum and Jersey Museum and Art Gallery.
The Pomme d’Or, the German HQ during the occupation, was a scene of triumph when the island was liberated, with locals racing inside to pull down the Nazi flag.
My husband and I are keen travellers, having traded life in Australia for the promise of weekends in Paris and beach breaks in Spain.
But coronavirus had changed our travel plans for 2020.
Lying on the sandy beach, clear blue sky above me and sparkling water behind, I didn’t feel like I was missing much, though.
Making time to post the obligatory selfie on Instagram, a friend replied “Wow! Are you back in Australia?”
I grinned and took in a deep breath of the salty air as I wrote back: “Nope! Just Jersey.”
COVID TESTING ISSERIOUS
JERSEY is strict when it comes to monitoring coronavirus. But that does not mean you need to write it off as a travel destination.
Before arriving, everyone needs to fill in a form stating where they will be staying, how long for, flight details and contact numbers.
You then have three options for your trip to Jersey; self-isolate for 14 days on arrival; take a Covid test when you get there and socially distance until the results come back; or test negative in the 72 hours leading up to your arrival.
I got a negative test before touching down, having sent off for a Government home testing kits. If you can manage this, or get to a drive-through testing centre, I would recommend it.
It takes the stress off worrying if you will have to quarantine in Jersey for 14 days if you happen to test positive. Once you get this negative test, forward the result to an email address and you will receive an exemption letter that means you don’t need to get tested again.
My husband also took a coronavirus test in London but despite sending both our tests at the same time, his results didn’t come back before we left. So he had to queue up with other passengers on arrival and was tested there.
While we waited for his results, we made sure we distanced – getting takeaway food, avoiding museums and travelling in our hire car and on bikes.
About 30 hours later, he received a text message and email confirming the Jersey test was negative. Phew.
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