Day 11 |
May 17, 2012

St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands 

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 49°27´N, 02°31´W
Weather: rainy
Air Temperature: 10°C

It was the first time that the Silver Explorer was alongside in the St. Peters Port on Guernsey and luckily we had this opportunity because of the swell and wind, as no Zodiac operations would have been possible. This was also the reason why we had to cancel the landing on Sark Island this afternoon.

The weather today was windy and rainy, not the best, especially for our cliff walk that was also offered for the first time in this port. My colleague Chris, the ornithologist, and I, as botanist, were guiding together with two local guides joining the excursion. Although it was raining, 21 guests still joined us on the tour, which led along the picturesque cliffs of the small island. Two 16-seater buses brought us to our starting point. Right from the beginning the views over the cliffs were stunning. A rough coast with sandy beaches in between and adorned with flowers in all colors. Following the trail one could observe the white flowers of the Oxeye Daisy and Sea Campion, the yellow Gorse bushes, the pink flowers of the Red Campion, Blue Bells and Three-cornered Garlic. Once in a while we stopped to have a look at the beautiful scenery, and our local guide explained the interesting history of the island while I was very pleased to give some information on the botany that was all around us.

Due to the weather, bird watching was not so exciting this time, but one group was really lucky and could observe a Peregrine Falcon chasing a gull. After approximately an hour-long walk we reached one of the 15 loophole towers built in the Napoleonic times to defend the islanders from France.

Sadly there was not much of what I call the “good” botany, which means native plant species. There were some examples on our way like the Hottentot-Fig or the Monterey Pine, introduced on the island and now becoming more and more a problem because they are displacing the native plant species.

Another half an hour more, strolling up and down this wonderful coast and we reached our final destination the Hotel Bon Port. There, tea and coffee were served with delicious scones, marmalade and butter. It was a really delightful end to a wonderful walk, despite the weather, along the cliffs of Guernsey Island. The small buses brought us back to the ship through even smaller roads, passing by beautiful old houses and manors.

In the afternoon, guests had the opportunity to explore St. Peters Port on their own before the Silver Explorer set sail for our next destination: Honfleur in France. As we were not able to land on Sark Island, the afternoon program was changed and at 4pm my colleague Chris held his famous Team Trivia during Tea Time. Also during Recap my colleagues Imogen and Gordon gave a short precap on the history of the sites that we will visit tomorrow. In the evening, the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail took place in The Theatre, followed by a delicious dinner in The Restaurant. Everyone seems to be looking forward to our next day in France.