Category Archives: 2017 – France

Biscay – Brest to Loctudy

Brest

On Monday 29th May we left L’aber-wrac’t at 10.00am, two hours after high tide. The difference in the landscape is quite something. Where the day before we could see lots of rock when we arrived at low water, you couldn’t see them just after high tide when we left.  We took the Grand Chenal which is a safer route at high water. We received a salute from Bob and Gillian, Morning Star, who have decided “to stay another day” (as E17 sung).  Yet again we were going to windward (this not going to windward is not happening) but winds are light and we have flat seas so it’s OK, this time.

I realise we’ve now gone some distance as when I refer to the almanac I discover we have completed the “France – North Coast and Channel Islands” section and we are now into the “France – West Coast” section.

 

As part of our marina booking we got one free ticket to Oceanopolis, which is similar to Seaworld.  So we thought we would take advantage of this, it was that or the (another) Maritime Museum. We were moored at the Chateau marina which is in the main part of town, we initially were going to the one a little way up the harbour, the Moulin Blanc marina, but decided it was too far out of the way.  Ironic that Oceanopolis was right next to the furthest marina. It was about three miles away too far too walk or should I say hobble so we got the bikes out. This was a breeze, particularly as they are electricly assisted which was a great help on the way back with the wind against us (we even get to go to windward on a bike).  We were glad we went it was very interesting albeit there were quite a few school parties who are always excitable.

 

The pictures below show one fish hanging onto the other’s tail. They are Blue Spotted Bamboo Sharks.  After five minutes or so another one came along and flicked the one holding the tail and then hung onto its fin and wouldn’t let go either. This shark tried its upmost to flick both sharks off.  The female would just stop for a while then she would have another go at trying to get the other shark off but couldn’t. Intrigued by this we “Googled” it (as you do) and discovered that this is the courtship. The male will hang onto the fin or tail, the female will try to resist but generally after an hour or so will relent and then the male does his stuff.

 

12. View from mooring on River Alune 1.6.17.

View from mooring on the Alune River

By the time we got back to the boat Morning Star had arrived. We found a restaurant and had a nice meal. The following day we decided to go up the Alune River to a small anchorage. There was very little wind but the sun was out so we had a slow gentle sail. Again another beautiful river so we were amazed when we turned the corner to the anchorage and saw these three great big war ships.

 

Thursday 1st June 2017

Breakfast on Morning Star then off to Audierne which is somewhere we’ve visited, albeit briefly, twice before. First time with the Turners (Kev and Sue) and Jessica (daughter for those that don’t know) on Moyistar bringing her home from Spain and the second time with the Linton’s (John and Prim) bringing home Cuffysark from La Rochelle where she was born!

It was another sunny day but no wind to start with so we motor sailed. After a while the wind got up to about 8 knots so out comes the code zero (an enormous sail for close reaching – a technical sailing term). It was lovely and warm so we sat at the front of the boat arriving at about 6.30pm

 

We passed the Rez de Sein with no fuss, nice and calm which are the best conditions to be going past.

 

We had just the one night in Audierne before we departed for Luctody which was about 35 miles along the coast arriving early evening.  We initially thought we would have just ktwo nights here but a storm with high winds was coming though so thought this was a good sheltered spot to stay so we were port bound for five days.  Wednesday 7th June was the first opportunity for us to leave.  We had a lovely bike ride around the area before the storm arrived.

 

Bob and Ian seemed to have a bit of trouble with riding their bikes.  We did tell them it would be better to have both wheels on the ground!

 

B3. Loctudy - calm before the storm 04.06.17.

Loctudy – calm before the storm

Now we picked to stay in Loctudy because we thought it would be nice and safe.  From the storm yes, other boats no.  On Sunday evening sitting minding our own business and Ian saw a small sailing  boat coming towards us the skipper not paying attention and smacked into the back of our  boat!  Took out some of the gel coat and scrapped along the transom.  He was very apologetic and we exchanged details.  The following day was bank holiday so nothing happening then. The boatyard “Uship” were really helpful and able to do the repair so we stayed another day so it was done and we didn’t have to worry about finding somewhere else to get it sorted.

 

 

We decided to take the bus into Quimper (pronounced Kemper).  The day before had been a bank holiday and this affected the bus timetable the following day, which is obviously something you would expect, NOT!  So after waiting half an hour and still no bus. Bob popped into the Tourist office who told him that the 11.30 bus wasn’t running that day and the next one wasn’t for another two hours.  So we came back later.  Quimper is a beautiful old city with a cathedral.  Bus travel is cheap here too, 4€ round trip, which was 40 minutes each way.

We finally said goodbye to Loctudy after six nights bound for the River Belon on Thursday lunchtime.

 

8th June 2017

 

Brittany Part 2

St Quay Portrieux to L’aber Wrac’h

We left a lovely sunny St Malo (Tuesday 23rd May) and arrive in a cloudy St Quay Portrieux, a small village, but it did eventually brighten up.  We went up to the Capitainerie’s office in the marina to pay and we are told we have to pay 1.5 times the standard rate because we are a catamaran which can sometimes be the case if you use up two moorings however on this occasion we were alongside a pontoon so we weren’t taking up any more space than a boat the same length.  Ian wasn’t really paying attention up until this point, busy looking at boat pictures and such like.  He feigned outrage, “we are not paying that to be alongside” and it wasn’t as though it was busy.  He offered to pay 1.25 or we were off!  The lady disappeared off in the back and came back and said on this occasion we could have the standard rate.  Bob and Gillian were quite taken aback at his forthrightness.  I wasn’t!!

We had a meal in one of the marina restaurants with Bob and Gillian.  I’d set my sights on moules.  Just my luck they weren’t on the menu.  We decided on the 20Euro meal for two courses and we all had the same starter which we thought was prawns.  When it came up we were amazed we not only had large prawns but four oysters with bread and mayo.  We thought they had brought up the wrong starter and was trying to send it back.  It was lovely, it was only after we had all eaten ours I thought I should have taken a picture.

We got up the following morning (Wednesday 24th May)to a fog.  We were due to leave about 11.30 to go to the Treiux River, thankfully it lifted and off we went.  We took the Chenal du Ferlas approach to the entrance to the river, which is quicker but rocky and at high tide many of the rocks aren’t visible.  We arrived at low tide and you can see from the pictures the difference in colour on the rocks whey they are submerged at high water.

 

We spent one night in the marine at Lezardrieux, alongside a pontoon and NO we weren’t asked to pay the higher rate here.  A very pretty little village.

The following day, Thursday 25th May, it was busier as it was Ascension Day and this is a public holiday in France.  We decided to meander on down the river to Portrieux to have a look then go back some of the way and anchor up.  It was lovely and hot with very little wind so fabulous, not only that, the views along the rivers were amazing and the photos really don’t do it justice.  There is a big chateau, Chateau de la Roche Jagu, that sits on the hillside which is quite imposing.  We got as far as we could go which is the Pontrieux lock.  We decided to sit on the lock waiting and have a glass of Pimms, as it was definitely a “Pimms moment”.  After 20 minutes the lock keeper calls out that he had opened the gates for us.  We hadn’t planned on going through the lock but thought we had better as he’d opened it.

Inside the lock was also a trip boat with about 50 people on board.  Morning Star went in first.  No pressure on Bob and Gill to tie up correctly with 50 pairs of eyes watching.  Anyway they did it perfectly and received cheers and a round of applause.

We were pleased we did go through the lock as the village was very picturesque.

We spent just the one night here then went back to nearer the Trieux River entrance the following day on Friday 26th May 2017 and picked a sheltered mooring buoy up and spent a few hours soaking up the sun.

Off to Roscoff

2. Roscoff 26.5.17.

 

Saturday morning (27th May) at 8.30am, it was quite a contrast when we left the Trieux River , overcast and drizzling with rain.  An hour later and the sun was out however, it was a bit on and off for the trip.  Roscoff is a small town but quite busy and touristy. We decided to walk into town (or hobble as I’m still doing) get some supplies then go back to the boat before dinner in the marina.  We did this, but in a slightly different order.  We got some supplies although we are finding that most places only have a very small shop with limited goods, the seafront was heaving with bars and restaurants so we took in some refreshments ie beer.  After about half an hour a band set up and they started playing jazz, so we stayed longer than we anticipated.  The place was heaving.  By the time we left and got back to the marina it was 7, which was the time we had booked our table for, so straight there, no time to go back to the boat.  We then had cheese and wine back on Cuffysark.

Sunday morning (28th May) was very grey skies and just as we were about to leave for L’Aber Wrach’t we had a thunderstorm. 1. Roscoff rain - 27.5.17.

L’Aber-Wrac’h

After about five hours we arrived, the wind finally dying off and it was low tide.  This meant that we would use the Chenal de la Maloiune approach which goes very close to some rock formations and saved a couple of miles as this was a cut through that you would only approach in very calm conditions.  Quite scarey as there are rocks here that cover and uncover at low tide so extreme caution is required.  They also farm huitres (oysters for those of you who don’t speak French, that’s us included).

A bit of deja vue here as it rained heavily for most of the afternoon and evening we were here.  This was a stopover place before our next leg onto Brest so wasn’t planning on going ashore which was just as well with the amount of rain we had.

 

28th May 2017

Brittany Part 1

Monday 15th to Monday 22nd May 2017

Cherbourg

After a long sail the day before we had a leisurely start to the day. Later we went for a walk and Bob and Gillian took us to a local micro brewery.   The weather  forecast was good for Tuesday 16th May so we set off for Guernsey. We arrived too early to get into the marina as it has a sill so has to wait on a holding pontoon for nearly two hours. By the time we could get in it has started to rain, typical. This is one time we can’t sit inside and watch from the saloon we have to be outside to moor up. It was getting on for 9.30pm by the time we were moored so too late to start cooking so we found a fish and chip shop close by and had that for dinner.

3. St Peter Port Harbour, Guernsey 19.5.17.

St Peter Port Harbour, Guernsey – NOT on a rainy day

Since we arrived and for all of the next day all it did was rain, rain and yet more rain. It’s so much more noticeable on a boat. So everything feels damp. The Harbour Master suggested the best thing to do on a day like this is to go on a bus trip around the Island which was a £1 each. It was a great way to see the whole Island. Only issue was that it was raining so much that the Windows kept steaming up and in places the visability was not good. Added to that we sat on the back seat and water kept dripping from the air vent.

We spent four nights in Guernsey because it was buy 3 get 1 free. In St Peter’s Port there is a large castle called Castle Cornet. At 12.00 noon the gun is fired and although we knew it would be loud it was still a shock when it went off.

After this there was a play carried out by three guys about the SS Stella that hit the rocks and sunk in 8 minutes. It was quite amusing (not that the ship had sunk) and three people in the audience were asked to ring the bell, blow the whistle and blow the foghorn. The guys thought Bob would be good for the foghorn. The views and visability from castle cornet were amazing. We could see Sark, Herm, Jersey. Guernsey is a very pretty island as is the surrounding areas.

As it was Friday night it must be time to visit a yacht club. There are two in Guernsey the Guernsey YC and the Royal Channel Islands YC, the latter of which we visited. Up flights of stairs which gave us a good view. It was a very quaint cosy club and were made very welcome, even though “we weren’t local”. Every Friday night they hold a raffle and the prizes are a various assortment of fresh meat. Bob “I never win anything” not only won but was the first ticket out.

We left Guernsey for St Malo on Saturday 21st May. A lovely sail although the wind died off the nearer we got there. It started to rain as we came into the harbour (becoming a bit of a pattern!). We had to go into a lock to get into the inner marina which is situated alongside the old city walls by the Quay. The lock walls are so high that the port guys have to help tie off your ropes as we were so low. While waiting the sun came out, so we thought all is improving. This is where it went downhill, for me at least. We came through the lock into the marina. I tied off the stern line, then stepped and it was a step I don’t jump anymore (not with twin engines, Ian can get close to the jetty) and slipped over bending my knee back. So I’m now hobbling and before anyone thinks no there wasn’t any alcohol involved. There’s no drinking and sailing at the same time, only tea.

Once we had moored up the sun came out and we had a barbecue with Bob’s “I don’t win anything” winning meat assortment. Which was lovely.

The old town of St Malo is beautiful so the next day we had a very very slow walk as I couldn’t walk properly around the town and along the city walls. Up and down stairs wasn’t easy.

 

The weather has improved and is now sunbathing weather so managed a couple of hours after doing my chores of course, washing and housework. I do have a little washing machine but it’s not like throwing all your stuff in and coming back when it’s finished. It only takes about 3kg, you have to fill it up with water let it wash for 10 mins, take that lot out put the next lot in, using the same water but topping it up a bit, same thing a third time. Then it has to be emptied and do the same thing three times for rinsing. Then spin it, which takes even less weight plus you have to hold onto it or it will end up the other side of the cockpit. Takes a while but definitely quicker than washing by hand which will have to for bedding and towels. I’ve got two lovely purple buckets for that! How lucky am I!!!

We left St Malo on Monday evening (22nd May 2017) and picked up a mooring outside for the night so we didn’t have to get up so early in the morning to get through the lock. You can only go through the lock +-2.30 either side of high tide.

A8. St Malo anchorage 22.5.17.

St Malo Anchorage

 

23rd May 2017