The marina at Jastarnia has a club and some facilities for individual sailors. It is just across the small bay from the fishing port and well-worth exploring if you like watching the boats and meeting interesting people. A new pier for yachts has recently been launched. Last time we were there was in early June, still before the season but it is bound to be much more crowded later. There is even a hotel on a boat. We must stay there someday.
The church in Jastarnia rises above the peninsula - its greenish tower is visible from both the sea and the bay. It is situated in the oldest part of Jastarnia with narrow streets and some traditional low cottages. Already the door with its interesting maritime brass ornaments suggests that this is a fishermen's place of worship. If you find the place open you will see that the interior follows the same style with the pulpit for instance in the shape of a fishing boat riding the stormy waves. I have wanted to take a picture of that pulpit for years but have only been able to take it just before Easter this year. The church apparently boasts a magnificent organ which can compete with the famous organ in Gdansk-Oliwa. But there were no concerts while we were in Jastarnia out of season.
Muzeum Pod Strzecha - The Thatched Museum - is owned by Juliusz Struck, a local man, who will show you around his museum. The collection includes all kinds of objects connected with fishing and with the past life of the people on the peninsula. The collector will tell you all about their traditional way of living, in which they had to be very much self-sufficient as there was little contact with the rest of the country. They had to produce their own food, make their own clothes and build their houses themselves. One of the most interesting exhibits in the museum is a contraption for catching seagulls, which the local people used to feed on in addition to the fish of course. The building also houses a boatbuilder's workshop run by the Struck family. Outside you can see traditional fishing boats and can have a picture taken of you in one of them.
The guide's talk is interesting but unfortunately in Polish only (must find out if he might speak German too). One thing that didn't look original to us was the roof thatched inside as we had never seen thatch made like this, with straw sticking out in all directions. And where would the local people take straw from anyway - there were no fields on their narrow piece of land.
Jastarnia has its own fishing harbour, which supplies the town and its restaurants with fresh fish. If you go there at the right time, you may buy some fish straight from the fishing boat. Some of the fish is exported abroad and you can sometimes see enormous foreign lorries waiting there. However, the local fishermen keep complaining about fish stocks becoming more and more depleted, so that some day we may be deprived of the fish and chips we like so much.
From the port you can take boat trips to the open sea or to Gdynia but only in the summer months. You can also hire a traditional Kashubian boat for a trip on the bay as well as kayaks, water bikes and scooters, and windsurfing equipment.
The old fisherman's cottage at Jastarnia dates from 1881 and is now a museum. It displays a collection of all the paraphernalia of fishermen's everyday life on the Hel Peninsula in the 19th century and earlier. I found a child's primer in the Kashubian language especially interesting. As the family living in the cottage were musical, there is even a harmonium there. You can also see some beautifully embroidered linen. In fact, as the custodian said, Kashubian ornaments had their beginnings there - the painted crockery with Kashubian patterns is a modern invention. Hidden behind a door, I found a painting of a nameless contemporary Kashubian artist painting along the lines of the Kashubian tradition. The custodian did not think much of his work, but I liked it very much and hope he will still be discovered. It is worth noting that the timber used in the construction of the cottage came from shipwrecks.
In the summer months the museum is open between 14.00 and 18.00. Otherwise, you must come with a group. We found it locked in April but managed to get in with a group in September this year. Asked why the museum is always closed, the custodian, who, to put it mildly, did not seem to love his work, asked me in return who was going to pay for it. Haven't they heard of volunteer work?
Admission: 2 zl
The lighthouse at Jastarnia is visible from the distance of 18.5 km when you are at sea but locating it when you are in town is not that easy. You may pass it on your way to the beach and not even notice it as it is hidden in the forest.
The 13.3 m high lighthouse was built in 1950 to replace the old one dating from 1932. It is automatic and, unfortunately, not accessible to the public.