Afloat, Les Ecrehous (Sketch)
The Écréhous (or in Jèrriais: Êcrého) are a group of islands and rocks situated six miles (9.6 km) north-east of Jersey, and eight miles (12.8 km) from France. They form part of the Bailiwick of Jersey and are administratively part of the Parish of St. Martin.
Though they are only inhabited sporadically by holidaymakers and fishermen, in the past there have been more permanent residents on the Ecrehos due to more abundant vegetation. Two eccentrics who lived on the Ecrehos for a long time proclaimed themselves to be Le Roi des Écréhous (The king of the Ecrehos) and claimed that sovereignty over the islands belonged to them. Philippe Pinel lived on Bliantch’Île from 1848 to 1898 and exchanged gifts with Queen Victoria. In the 1960s and 1970s Alphonse Le Gastelois found refuge in the islands from unfounded public suspicion of being the Beast of Jersey (a notorious sexual attacker of children who was later arrested, thus clearing Le Gastelois of suspicion).
During the summer of 2021 I visited the archipelago several times to make drawings and paintings. Like many people, through the pandemic, I took the opportunity to discover and celebrate my local landscape.