27/04/2012, Trebeurden Marina (position 48 46.282'N 03 35.196'W)
Just to let you know that we've arrived in Trebeurden. Update to follow.
Before committing ourselves to this purchase I must confess that we did a lot of research ... what a surprise I hear you say! Whilst we had no doubts about its capability as a book reader what we were really interested in were its connectivity options and how efficient and effective it was at storing (and retrieving) electronic manuals.
As a document repository:
If you've been following our blog you will be aware of our constant challenge regarding weight, so carrying less books and manuals has a major appeal - we have a lot of them! Whilst most of our manuals are already stored in electronic format on our Pc, we've found it impractical to reference them when on the move particularly when conditions get tough. The vulnerability of a laptop, its power requirements, the difficulty in reading the screen in bright conditions (even below in the cabin) and the time it takes to boot up really isn't acceptable. The Amazon Kindle3G however, in a transparent waterproof cover addresses all of these issues. Boot up time is almost instantaneous, power consumption is minimal and reading the screen in broad daylight is not an issue. Transferring documents (PDF format) to the kindle is very straightforward (drag and drop) using the USB cable supplied and subsequent retrieval is simple. For convenience you can also create folders on the Kindle containing like material for easy reference. e.g. Route Planning, Recipes,
Raymarine User Guides, Nokia Users Guides etc.
The Kindle3G comes with two connectivity options, Wi-Fi and 3G...but what isn't really published is that it also has a web browser included and for Uk registered customers the 3G connection is free in many countries. Please note however that this doesn't apply to Kindle's purchased from Amazon.com or the German equivalent, only Amazon.co.uk. As most of you probably know mobile data costs in Europe aren't cheap (Tesco Mobile - £4/mb vs. £5/Month for 500mb in the Uk) so you can see why this really appeals. Checking email, obtaining weather reports are all easy to do and free! The downside - unfortunately there is one; the keyboard is rather clunky and special characters (numeric's included) need to be selected from a separate
menu, so responses (e.g. our earlier sailblogs entry) are best kept short.
Finally as a book reader we've (or rather I have) found it absolutely fantastic, so much so that we will probably invest in another (for Caroline) when funds permit (and as a backup). On a final note, if you register multiple Kindles to the same account you can share all your books which is great but for my sister (where our Kindle is registered) this means that her credit/debit card takes the hit if we purchase anything direct from the Kindle store e.g. Books, Newspaper subscriptions...etc (Thanks Sis :-)~.
So to summarise, a fantastic bit of kit that will very quickly pay for itself if you use all the facilities.
25/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)
I just have to mention how steep the angle is at low tide (spring) in order to get off the Marina and back onto dry land. The picture probably does not reflect how steep the angle is but take it from me it's easier to walk up in preference to walking down. It's pretty close to abseiling (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration but the angle is very near to 45 degs).
I certainly wouldn't want to be walking up or down the ramp on a cold frosty morning!
By the way that's Bruce waving at the bottom of the ramp (to give some perspective)!
21/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)
We should have followed our gut instinct!
We've been keeping an eye on the weather for the past few days as we feel it's now time to move on. The weather over the past week has been pretty windy with no real let up, however on Saturday it looked like we had an opportunity to leave.
We have access to a few forecasts; the UK Shipping forecast, French MeteoFrance and French Meteo Consult as well as our Navtex weather receiver which are all updated a couple of times throughout the day and night.
All forecasts (issued early hours of the morning) predicted West 5-6 with the occasional 7 so initially we were not going anywhere. We decided to check the latest forecast, around 08.00 to find that both the French forecasts predicted West 4 with the occasional 5. However, the UK forecast remained unchanged.
Taking the more favourable forecasts, we donned wet weather gear and left the marina around 09.15 with the high tide. An hour later we were calling it a day as the wind certainly was not a 4 or even a 5, but instead a constant 6 with gusts to near 7 (as detailed by the UK shipping forecast). Seas were in the region of 3.0m.
We made really slow progress going back up the river to Treguier as we were now against the tide so we took a buoy for a few hours off a little fishing village called Roche Jaune and took in the scenery until the tide turned in our favour. The return journey back, now low tide was quite enjoyable as we got to see the fascinating and beautiful landscape made up of rocks as well as the rows of oyster beds situated along the river estuary. We eventually arrived back at the marina and as the wind strength increased further, we were grateful that we did turn back.
Bruce said that in hindsight, he should have followed his gut instinct - I couldn't have agreed more, but it was good to leave the marina and experience the extremely strong currents that exist at spring tides ... and I thought Dartmouth had strong tides - gulp!
So for now, we are still keeping one eye on the weather ...
Total distance this season: 108.96 nautical miles
19/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)
Up bright and early to try to catch the bus to Lezardrieux, again! The number 7 bus turned up and so I promptly jumped on asking for two return tickets. However the conductor said that it was the wrong bus as it was going to Lannion. I asked what time was the bus to Lezardrieux and he showed me his timetable and then it all became clear. It's school holidays so another timetable is used instead! (by the way this conversation was held in french - not bad for a beginner).
The number 7 bus to Lezardrieux was scheduled to arrive at 09.38 so now armed with this new information we went back to the boat to pass the waiting hour before trying again.
Success, 20 minutes later we were at Lezardrieux exploring the town.
This small town appears really modern compared to Treguier. It has all the facilities you could need eg. small supermarket, restaurants, cafes, patisserie and laundrette. We were glad that we visited, but for us it does not compare to the medieval town of Treguier which we are really enjoying.
Photos can be found in the photo gallery 'Lezardrieux'.
18/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)
Decided to visit the Wednesday market, held weekly in the square.
Unfortunately the weather over the past few days has been appalling (thunder, hale, rain, wind and generally cold) and it didn't let up when we visited the market.
Thankfully the majority of stalls had tarpaulins erected so all produce was still on display rather than being hidden under sheets. Every conceivable fresh produce was available from strings of onions and garlics, fruit and vegetables, various meats, eggs, live chickens, sausages, cheeses, breads/baguettes, various fish and various shellfish: live spider crabs, live lobsters, mussels, clams, oysters and scallops.
Whilst walking around we stopped to taste one of Brittany's delights; crepes and galettes (savoury crepes made from buckwheat flour). Cheap to buy from a market stall, but not very easy to eat in your hand.
The aroma from various foods being cooked was just too much to bare ... so we just had to walk away with dinner - paella!
Photos can be found in the photo gallery 'Treguier - Market Day'.
17/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)
Sometimes the best laid plans just don't fall into place do they! We like to be as organised as we can so we decided that Monday would be the day to catch the local bus to Lezardrieux. We visited the bus stand on Sunday afternoon to take note of the time table so all we had to do was to turn up on time - easy .... wrong.
We turned up in plenty of time and waited for the bus to turn up, and one did, showing Bus number 7 to Lannion. We both confidently noted that this was the bus that we would need for the return journey back to Treguier so we smugly continued to wait the remaining 3 minutes that was the difference between the bus going to Paimpol and the bus returning back from Lannion. What we didn't appreciate that the waiting bus (that waited the 3 minutes difference) then turned around and started to head down the road that went to Paimpol. This number 7 bus to Lannion was in fact the bus we needed to catch :-(. By the time it had occurred to us, the bus was well gone. We checked to see what time the next bus would be, however it wasn't until early afternoon. Still convinced that we hadn't missed it we waited for another 15 minutes in the cold (3 deg c) just in case the bus was running late as they sometimes do back home, however no other buses appeared. As the excitement of going to Lezardrieux slowly dissipated and with neither of us saying anything to one another we walked back slowly to the boat, still occasionally looking behind at the road to see if by magic our bus would arrive.
Once back on the boat we shrugged off our disappointment and warmed up with a coffee saying that we will try again tomorrow but know exactly what to do now.
Decided to visit the local supermarket to get fresh milk, bread, cheese and pate which we sat and ate at lunchtime. The milk in fact was thin buttermilk which I can categorically report does not work well in tea or coffee but great for cereal - ops.
17/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)
Arrived safely at "Port de Plaisance" (aka Treguier Marina) at 10.45 GMT Friday 13th April 2012 absolutely cream crackered so spent the remainder of the day relaxing and getting into the French way of life - actually it took us two days to fully recover and before we felt the urge to do some sightseeing around the town (during the trip we had obviously found our sea legs which was great until we ventured back onto land feeling pretty wobbly - just like being drunk, but without the alcohol).
Treguier is an ancient market town located between two peaceful rivers - the Guindy and the Jaudy. The old town comprises of medieval timbered buildings, which lean together overhead as you wander the cobbled streets and alleys.
St Tugdual cathedral dominates the main square, it is an impressive gothic cathedral constructed from pink granite and the ringing of the bells from the cathedral drift across the river throughout the day otherwise it's a really peaceful unspoilt area.
Photos can be found in the photo gallery 'Treguier'.
A short video clip....
17/04/2012, Treguier (position 48 47.186'N 03 13.104'W)
Having finally left the marina we quickly settled down to the voyage ahead. Our passage plan estimated that it would take us between 18-22 hours to reach Treguier, depending on speed so leaving the marina was timed to allow us to cross the channel in darkness but arrive in Treguier in daylight hours to make navigation easier.
The winds predicted to be North West or West, force 3-4 occasionally 2 later with slight to moderate waves. However once we were in Start Bay we encountered no wind accompanied by torrential rain that looked set for the rest of the day. We did review our situation as neither of us wanted to run the engine for 18-22 hours and we certainly didn't want to be subjected to cold rain throughout the trip. However, within an hour the weather changed in our favour, the wind got up, the clouds disappeared and so we continued our voyage with the sails up sailing at approximately 5.5knts. Unfortunately the wind only lasted for a few hours and then we put the engine on after all.
The evening sky was crystal clear with hundreds of stars shining above, the sea gracefully moving underneath us and for several hours we were accompanied by a pod of dolphins glowing in the water as they disturbed the phosphorescence by coming up for air before diving under the sides of the boat. A really magical experience, certainly one that won't be forgotten.
As we crossed the shipping lanes, it was apparent that there was a significant amount of traffic (ships) but there were only a few that we needed to watch out for. These large cargo ships travel at around 15kts so it's really important that you keep an eye all around your vessel whilst navigating through this area as they can surprise you if your not keeping a good look out. For you land lubbers out there, think of the shipping lanes as a dual carriage way, traffic coming from one side, then the central reservation (the safe area) and then traffic coming from the other side and then imagine a human trying to cross this dual carriageway negotiating the speeding cars and you will kind of get what the shipping lanes are about.
Land was sighted in the early hours of Friday 13th April and as we approached the coast we were both on lookout for the relevant navigational markers that took us very close to numerous rocky outcrops and down the river to Treguier town 5 miles away. This was made pretty easy thanks to GPS technology and a chart plotter - but even then we still got the binoculars out to confirm the location of marks at times.
Overall, we could not have asked for a better crossing.
Photos can be found in the photo gallery 'Channel Crossing'.
Total distance this season: 96.5 nautical miles