Belle Ile to River Vilaine
25 June 2016
The sun was up and there was a strong wind blowing on Saturday morning. We went ashore in the dinghy to the local market to take on supplies.
Once back on the boat we stowed away and left. We had a really good sail away from Belle Ile, past the northern tip of Houat, which is a small island with an amazing sandy beach and on to the River Vilaine. We would have liked to have anchored off Houat but it was not the right conditions.
As you enter the River Vilaine, the very wide channel narrows to a small river. At the top of the seaward section is a lock. Being a Saturday evening the lock was very busy. The first lock at 6pm was full, so we waited for the second at 8pm. The lock keeper is a real character and enjoys telling everyone EXACTLY what to do.
Once through the lock, you enter an amazing river. There is no tide, no commercial traffic and you can anchor almost anywhere. We plan to spend just over a week in the river slowly moving inland each day. Later in the week as we get towards the top of the river we are meeting some friends that live in this part of France.
Time: 6:00 hours Miles: 34nm Total Time: 100:15 hours Total Miles: 633nm
Ile de Groix to Belle Ile
24 June 2016
Port Tudy on Ile de Groix is always an interesting location. It's very small with a marina, mooring buoys and a small ferry from the mainland.
We had taken a mooring for two nights. The second night we had a Fruit De Mer from the shellfish shed at the port. You order the Fruit De Mer from a shed on the quay and pick it up in the evening from the local cafe then back out to the boat in the dinghy. It's great to eat the Fruit De Mer while watching the comings and goings of the port. See photo above.
There was a large catamaran moored beside us. On Friday morning, we saw a Japanese chap with one arm go up the mast. Once he arrived at the top a bag was hauled up the mast with us thinking there were urgent repairs to be made. No... out comes a camera and he starts taking pictures of the boat from the top of the mast. He then puts the camera away and gets out an iPhone on a selfie stick and takes pictures of himself.
Anyway, after this we took Bella for a walk and got underway to Belle Ile.
There was no wind, so we motored all of the way. We have been to Belle Ile once before but at Port Suzan. This time, we were going to the main port of Le Palais. Mooring here is not easy. You attach the bow to a normal mooring, ease out the line while motoring backwards to the quay and then attach a rope to chains on the quay. Luckily, someone from the port was on hand in a dingy to help.
We stayed one night in Belle Ile and were off to the River Vilaine on Saturday.
Time: 5:00 hours Miles: 22nm Total Time: 94:15 hours Total Miles: 599n
Benodet to Ile de Groix
22 June 2016
There was thick fog on Wednesday morning. We left the mooring buoy and motored around to the fuel berth. Unfortunately they had an electrical fault yesterday and it was out of order. We still had quite a bit of fuel so decided to carry on. We were heading to the Ile de Groix.
There was little wind so we motored all of the way. Eventually the fog lifted and the island came into view.
The only port on Ile de Groix is Port Tudy. There is a very small marina and a number of buoys in Port Tudy. We decided to go on the buoys which is always interesting. Port Tudy is very popular and after 3pm, yachts just keep on coming in and filling every available space within the port. It was extremely hot and there was a real party atmosphere.
They do great Fruit de Mer here but we were too late to order it. Hopefully we can order one for tomorrow night's dinner!
We have also added two new videos. Fast sail to Dieppe: Click Here...
and sailing with the Gennaker: Click Here...
Time: 5:30 hours Miles: 31nm Total Time: 89:15 hours Total Miles: 577nm
Audierne to Benodet
21 June 2016
We restocked the boat at the market on Saturday. It was wet on Monday so we delayed leaving until Tuesday.
There had been thick fog in the morning but by the afternoon it was clear. The trip around to Benodet meant we had crossed into Southern Brittany. We had now covered Normandy, North Brittany and were in South Brittany. It is also getting warmer now we are getting further south.
Benodet is a great place at the entrance to the River Odet. This is one of the best rivers in this part Southern Brittany. However, it was foggy, so we decided to leave early tomorrow. I am sure we will return here on the way back.
Time: 5:00 hours Miles: 33nm Total Time: 83:45 hours Total Miles: 546nm
Ile d'Ouissant to Audierne
17 June 2016
We had a walk on Thursday from one end of Ile d'Ouissant where we were staying up to Lampaul at the other end of the island. It's funny, when we saw the moorings at in Lampaul which is where we were heading before we turned back, we liked where we ended up better.
The plan today was going to be sailing to Ile de Sein. However, with the large swell coming in off the Atlantic, that was not going to be possible. We decided to aim for Audierne.
We left just after 6am in the morning to get the tide out through the Passage du Fromveur. Looking at the charts and reading the pilot book this did not read well. The pilot book talked of fast running tides of up to 9 knots and large overfalls in any wind over tide. We left under leaden sky, still not fully light. We needed to get through the Passage du Fromveur as quickly as possible.
Although there was a big swell running, we seemed to miss the worst of the overfalls. Our heading took us east of the worst of them.
We went past the Ile de Sein and it was clear we would not even enter the channel to the island and it would be too rough to anchor there. We sailed on, through the Raz de Sein and onto Audierne.
We have not been to Audierne before, so we will be here for a few days.
Time: 7:45 hours Miles: 44nm Total Time: 78:45 hours Total Miles: 543nm
Roscoff to Ile d'Ouissant
15 June 2016
Due to some stronger winds we have been in Roscoff for a few days.
We woke yesterday ready to go to the Wednesday market in Roscoff. When we had walked into town we realised that it was in fact Tuesday and not Wednesday. With a quick change of plan we decided to catch the ferry to the Ile de Batz. We had lunch on the island and went for a walk around the Western end.
Ile de Batz is a really lovely unspoilt island. We have added some great photos to the photo's section of the blog. We have been here a few times before, anchoring in the channel between the island and the mainland.
Wednesday we left for Ile d'Ouissant. This is the most westerly point of France and where the Ushant traffic separation zone is for shipping moving between the Bay of Biscay and the channel.
There was a 2m swell running. We were travelling directly into the swell, smaller waves and for part of the trip also the tide. So it was a slow trip. Eventually after about 8 hours the island came into view. Ile d'Ouissant is a barren island battered by big seas and weather from the Atlantic.
We were heading to Lampaul which is around the top of the island and into a bay. However, as we got closer, the swell started to build. Fiona thought it was a bad sign when Simon got the harnesses to clip us both on and finally clipped Bella on as well. It was evident that we were heading to some large overfalls. These are rough waters caused by tide running up an underwater cliff. In fact, looking at the chart the depth changed from 90m to 20m. Within a further 2 minutes after clipping on, we had aborted the mission. The boat was spun around and we were heading away from the island. It just looked too dangerous ahead.
However... where were we going to go now. L'aber Benoit was about 4 hours back and Camaret was about 5 hours away. We were also needed to get Bella ashore as well.
On studying the chart, we thought that the Baie du Stiff on the Ile d'Ouissant could be sheltered from the swell, so we decided to take a look.
As we got closer the swell abated and we motored into a lovely still bay with a few moorings in. However, the events of the day were not over. As we got close to the morning, a very large dolphin found it very amusing to hit the mooring buoy just as Fiona went to pick it up. The final time, Fiona hocked the mooring with the boat hook, only for the dolphin to hit it very hard from below. This completely knocked Fiona over and onto the deck. We quickly got tied up only to see the dolphin watching us from a few feet away.
In fact, each time a fishing boat came into the bay, the dolphin did the same thing!
Once we were tied up, Simon took Bella ashore and we had dinner on board.
We will stay here for a couple of nights and explore the island.
Time: 10:30 hours Miles: 52nm Total Time: 71:00 hours Total Miles: 499nm
Ile de Brehat to Roscoff
11 June 2016
We left Brehat early afternoon and were off to Roscoff. We passed the Sept Isles which are always interesting and down to Roscoff.
Roscoff is a new marina and has only been built for a couple of years. We needed to pick up some papers to sign which had been couriered to the marina. Luckily by the time we got to the office on Sunday they were already there.
There are some stronger winds coming and the next part of the trip requires very settled weather. We will wait in Roscoff for a few days for this to pass and then move on again.
We had lunch in a great restaurant on Sunday. It's called Chez Corinne and is in a backstreet of Roscoff. Unlike the larger restaurants along the waters edge, this is a small friendly locals place. Great food and a great atmosphere.
The photo above if of Roscoff town.
Time: 07:00 hours Miles: 45nm Total Time: 69:30 hours Total Miles: 447nm
St Cast to Ile de Brehat
10 June 2016
We spent two sunny days in St Cast. The town is a mile around from the port and is connected by a pleasant walkway along by the sea. It was a good port to restock and get the washing done.
Apart from the past few days, the weather has not been that brilliant. We need to get around Brest and keep pushing south to guarantee more sunshine. It is always noticeable how much warmer it gets once you are down to St Malo and then again once you are around Brest.
With a Westerly wind, we motored all of the way to Ile be Brehat.
We normally anchor to the south of Ile de Brehat but this year we decided to try the North West side at Port de La Corderie. Although the tide runs strong on the ebb, it's a great anchorage. Being early in the season, there were only two other yachts in the anchorage. I am sure that's different in the height of summer.
Bella made friends with a local dog with someone who had been fishing on a boat for the day. He said he had retired that last week and moved to live on Brehat. He was very proud to show off the lobster he had caught.
We had dinner on board Friday night and a good walk around the island on Saturday.
The photo above is of Ile de Brehat.
Time: 06:00 hours Miles: 36nm Total Time: 62:30 hours Total Miles: 402nm
Isles de Chausey to St Cast
08 June 2016
After spending the night anchored in dense fog under the Isles de Chausey light house with the fog horn going all night, we decided it was time to move on.
After taking Bella ashore in dense fog, we had breakfast, upped anchor and left for St Cast.
St Cast is was only 3 hours away. As we got to the land the fog finally lifted. We had been in the fog for 3 days. Finally, the sun was out!
Time: 03:15 hours Miles: 22nm Total Time: 56:30 hours Total Miles: 366nm
Dielette to Isles de Chausey
07 June 2016
It was very foggy when we left Dielette, bound for Isles de Chausey. In fact, we never saw land from leaving Dielette until arriving at the island.
After motoring for the first few hours, the wind built enough to get the gennaker out. This large sail is interesting to use, you only ever feel partially in control. It's also important to get the sail down if the wind starts to build. Normally by the time you think it is ready to get it down, it's too late!.
Anyway, we had a great sail down past Jersey and up to Isles de Chausey. When we arrived, it was still foggy. In fact, we anchored the boat and could still not see the beach. Taking Bella ashore in dense fog, not able to see the beach from the boat and more importantly not seeing the boat from the beach was difficult.
We spent an interesting night anchored under the light house with its fog horn going ALL night.
Time: 08:00 hours Miles: 46nm Total Time: 53:15 hours Total Miles: 344nm