MV Pilgrim is no ordinary boat. Conceived behind the dunes in Normandy on the adjacent Cotentin Peninsula, she later came to life on the drawing board of celebrated nautical architect Michel Joubert. A French built prototype has stood the test of Alderney for over a decade. MV Pilgrim was part built in Guernsey and fitted out in Jersey, to meet Maritime and Coastguard Agency standards for commercial use. Powered by twin 115HP Ultra Low Emission Mercury four-stroke outboard engines, with nearly eight square metres of deck area, she makes a very quiet and efficient wildlife-watching platform.
Purpose designed for the waters of the Normano-Breton Gulf, MV Pilgrim was launched in September 2006 and is licensed by the States of Jersey to carry 5 passengers under Category 4 of the MCA Code of Practice – up to 20 miles from save haven, in favourable weather and daylight. She carries a full complement of modern electronics and safety equipment, including a life raft for eight people. Andrew holds an RYA/MCA Certificate of Competence Powerboat Advanced together with a RYA/DoT Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore qualification. He also has a Jersey Boatmaster’s Licence, is trained in first aid and was too young to remember his first trip to sea. Pinnacle Marine Limited is covered for Third Party and Passenger Liability up to £2,000,000.
MV Pilgrim is conveniently moored in La Collette Yacht Basin, affording us round the clock step-aboard pontoon access, free of tidal constraints. Heading west out of St Helier across St Aubin’s Bay, past the southwest coast cliffs toward La Corbière and the arc of St Ouen’s Bay, is but one short cruise option. Turning east, the Channel Island’s first Ramsar Wetland of International Importance stretches into the distance, making the bottom right hand corner of the Island and meeting our French horizon. Why not float gently round the southeast frontier for a few hours? The Violet Bank changes from moment to moment, a first shallow water passage from St Helier to Gorey is something you will never forget.
More adventurous trips can take in the offshore Ramsar Sites of Les Minquiers, Les Ecréhous and Les Pierres de Lecq; important haul-out sites for Atlantic grey seals, critical roosts for seabird populations and preferred bottlenose dolphin territory. Or you could circumnavigate Jersey to see the many different facets of our outstanding coastline up close. MV Pilgrim is a stealthy vessel; her raised forward observation deck is a first class place to try out a new camera, lens or binoculars. Andrew has been an ‘Accredited Wildlife Safe Operator’ under the WiSE Scheme since 2008.
Whatever your preference might be – from a quick run around the bay or a gentle cruise and picnic lunch anchored somewhere special, to a full days wildlife tracking – MV Pilgrim and skipper can adapt. Early starts and late finishes are no problem. Dawn and dusk are particularly good times for seeing natural phenomena; to us ‘daylight’ begins one hour before sunrise and ends one hour after sunset. Spring and Autumn rate highly for bird migration. Scientific research opportunities will be seized. By special request, we may even try fishing here or there…
“A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree.”