Today turned out sunny, a good day for sightseeing. After breakfast, we caught the bus into town because, as we now realized, all expeditions start there, at the Liberation Bus Station.
For our first trip of the day, we travelled to the fancifully named Devil’s Hole on the north coast. The bus stops, conveniently enough, beside a pub run by an Irishman. There is nothing odd about that as many accents are heard on the Island, particularly Scottish, for some reason.
A hand-painted sign advises that the Devil’s Hole is 10 minutes away along a footpath. The path is quite steep, which means that going down is easier than coming back up. As you descend, you soon see a sculpture standing in a pond. I was unable to discover whether the sculpture had been made elsewhere and brought to this spot or whether it had been carved in situ from a tree growing in the pond. Judging from its appearance, either origin is possible.
The sculpture represents a humanoid form perhaps 8 feet tall with horns. Is it supposed to be the Devil or is it pan? Given the name of the place, the former seems more likely. Either way, its appearance is suitably dramatic and impressive. The sculture’s feet are at water level which gives it the eerie appearance of standing on water, an illusion enhanced by the fact the duck weed have rendered the surface of the water opaque as if it were a green carpet.
As you continue down the path, views of the rocky coast become visible and these are truly spectacular, especially on a sunny day when the sea is blue with white breakers crashing against the rocks. At the bottom of the walk is a terrace affording views of the sea and the cliffs and, further along, a viewing platform where you can look into the Devil’s Hole itself. This is a deep pit with tumbled rocks and the entrance to a cave. I do not know how deep the cave is as you cannot see directly into it from the platform. It is a dark and eerie place.
There are traces of steps and railings to be seen, so in the past it was presumably possible to climb down into the pit and visit the cave. This is no longer permitted because of the danger of falling rocks.
We climbed – slowly – back up the path and had coffee in the pub while deciding our next move.
We decided to make for quaintly named Bonne Nuit Harbour. One way was to walk roughly southeast until we intercepted the road to St John’s and there take the bus that first looped back over part of the way we had come and then carried us a little way forward to where we hoped to pick up a bus for Bonne Nuit. The plan worked, all except for catching the final bus. We just missed our connection owing to delays en route so ended up walking the rest of the way to our goal.
Bonne Nuit turned out to be a very pretty harbour, We sat in the sun on the sandy beach and ate the filled rolls we had bought in St Helier. After this we climbed the hill to the bus stop and thus returned to St Helier.
We waited there for an hour and took a number 8 bus to Portinfer, in the northwest corner of the island, the only part we hadn’t visited. As the evening was drawing on and it was getting cold, we could have stayed aboard the bus for the round trip but Tigger thought up a variation.
The bus route makes a sharp elbow southwards towards L’Étacq on the west coast. We got off the bus at this point and walked south to meet the coastal road. According to the timetable, there should have been a 12a on the way to L’Étacq, where it would turn around and return to St Helier. We wanted to catch this bus, go with it to L’Étacq and then travel back with it to the capital.
Unfortunately, we were a few yards short of the bus stop when it appeared. I waved hopefully at the driver but he just made a circular gesture with his hand and carried on. I took this gesture to mean that he would turn around at the terminus and pick us up on the way back. He perhaps did not realize that we also wanted to see L’Étacq. He did pick us up and thus we returned to the bus station at St Helier. If we are to see L’Étacq, it will have to be on a subsequent visit.
Opposite the bus station is an Indian restaurant called Jaipur and we repaired here for our evening meal and were not disappointed.
Back at the hotel I enquired about transport to the ferry terminal tomorrow. As we had been collected at the terminal on our arrival, it seemed reasonable to think that we would be taken thither from the hotel, even though no one had mentioned the fact. We wanted to be sure of this and also find out what time the taxi would be taking us. Our sailing is at 9 pm and we obviously do not want to spend the day at the terminal, nor did we want to have to return to the hotel in the evening, just to be picked up. On the other hand, we do not want to drag all our baggage around with us throughout the day. It appears that there is no Left Luggage facility at the terminal, surely a rather obvious fault.
The clerk was unable to tell us anything about transport, so we shall have to wait until tomorrow, when the clerk can phone the travel company and ask.
How much simpler it would be if there were a Left Luggage office at the terminal! It is so often the case that an otherwise excellent service is spoilt by lack of attention to such small but important details.