A SELF-GUIDED snorkel trail is due to launch in Bouley Bay this week as part of an ongoing initiative to give Islanders an insight into Jersey’s ‘mesmerising’ marine environment.
The trail, created by Blue Marine Foundation in partnership with the Bouley Bay Dive Centre and supported by law firm Mourant, is the second in a network of snorkel trails planned for the Island, the first of which was launched at Portelet Bay last year.
‘Snorkel Bouley’ will adopt a similar format to the Portelet trail, showcasing a range of habitats, including rocky reefs along the bay and around an islet, as well as a reef of kelp and seaweed stretching across the bay alongside a sandy seabed.
These habitats are home to wrasse, rays, anemones and sea hares among many other species.
Information about the location of the trail, species and habitats snorkellers can spot will be made available on information boards in the bay, as well as online.
Kathryn Smith, Jersey project officer for the Blue Marine Foundation, said: ‘We are incredibly excited about the launch of our second trail in Jersey, Snorkel Bouley, and hope it will provide another insight into our mesmerising marine environment, enabling people of all ages to fully immerse themselves in the ocean. We hope it continues to foster appreciation of the diverse animals and habitats we have in our waters, from tiny seahorses and catsharks to slender pipefish, billowing kelp, disguised rays and bright anemones.’
The initiative will also feature an educational outreach programme targeted at primary-school pupils aged nine to 11, which aims to provide underwater experiences to approximately 420 children.
The programme will consist of 14 sessions that each include a classroom lesson, a pool session and a guided snorkel tour at either Portelet Bay or Bouley Bay.
Ms Smith continued: ‘We are particularly thrilled to be supporting more schools through an education programme and hope the snorkel trail will continue inspiring the next generation of ocean stewards.’
Bouley Bay Dive Centre manager Toyah Tomkins will lead the inaugural snorkel in Bouley Bay on Saturday.
She said: ‘We are thrilled with the success of last year’s snorkel trail education programme in Portelet, and are delighted to be working with Blue Marine and Mourant again on Snorkel Bouley. It’s great to be part of such a unique offering to schools, where not only do pupils have the opportunity to learn a new skill, but they are also exposed to marine life that most people don’t realise is right on our doorstep here in Jersey. I believe it’s important to encourage young people to develop different skills and get them in the ocean in a safe manner.’
The scheme will consist of two trails that sit within the bay, as well as a more ‘advanced’ trail leading around the rocky islet called L’Islet.
Ms Tomkins added: ‘We need to inspire the future generation of ocean ambassadors and ensure they spread the message that we need to protect the fragile marine environment.’
Snorkellers will also be able to take part in a citizen science scheme – led by the Société Jersiaise – through which they can record the marine life they see and help track changes in biodiversity in response to climate change.
Daniel Birtwistle, managing partner of the Jersey office of Mourant – which is funding the snorkel trails for a second year – said: ‘We are very much looking forward to the launch of Snorkel Bouley this summer, as well as the accompanying educational outreach programme, which is aimed at inspiring and fostering a connection between Jersey’s younger generation and the ocean around them.’
Those who wish to join the first snorkel at 3pm on Saturday are asked to bring their own equipment – such as a mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit – as this will not be provided.