19 August 2015 | Treac’h er Gourhed, Ile Houat, France 47’22.99N 2’56.85W - Ile de Penfret, Iles de Glenan, France 47’43.05N 3’57.04W via Port Kerel, Belle Ile, France & Port Tudy, Groix, France
Everything on Ruffian is designed for a purpose. Our anchor is designed to attach us to the ground, our walking boots are designed to protect our feet, our bottoms have been designed with padding in mind and our sunglasses have done a great job at shielding our eyes from the radiant colours in the Glenan Islands. Our solar panels are designed to give us free energy, but they have not performed well in their latest task, that of being used as fenders.
Our anchor, as designed, did a great job at attaching us to the ground in Ile Houat and with great effort we finally pulled it up from the bottom. It seemed to be so deeply embedded that its point was being warmed by the earth's magma crust
On our agenda for the day was a tiny inlet, where there is space for about 3 boats, on the next island in the chain, Belle Ile.
Arriving in Belle Ile we found that we were the 3rd boat and being 3rd we considered the anchorage 'full'. It was now time to break out the walking boots and use them for what they were designed for. We romped around villages so sleepy that they would be better described as catatonic and the signs of summer were everywhere. Hay had been harvested, wild flowers were in bloom and the joyful screams of children from beaches could be heard everywhere.
Rounding the final corner to the now 'full' bay we were somewhat surprised to find that boats were everywhere. Another 14 had squeezed in, and then just as darkness fell, as we now expect from French Sailors, more boats entered. Amazingly disaster didn't befall this situation and everyone just swung around within inches of each other without a seeming care in the world.
Having escaped disaster in an anchorage we thought that luck was on our side and we thought we'd test it in the most bonkers port we have ever been to, Port Tudy. What makes Port Tudy truly bonkers is that boats tie up to huge mooring buoys in the harbour. Not much unusual about that, that is until you tie so many boats to all the buoys that they form one sold line of boats. Lines are linked everywhere, it takes military planning to leave and teams of people all working together.
As the day went on we felt we'd lucked out as we were only surrounded by boats on 3 sides and we went to bed for a night of restful slumber. Then disaster.
Someone in the raft behind had just left. They'd not used any planning or anybody they'd just untied everyone. Towering over our cockpit and finding little Ruffian a good place to stop, were all the boats that were behind us. Our solar panel designed to give power was proving to be a pretty rubbish fender and would now be a pretty rubbish solar panel too.
With the chaos of the harbour behind us we took to the saddles of some hire bikes to circumnavigate this little island with new friends Sandi & Colin. The island didn't prove to be quite so small when you've got to ride down every hill, out to every viewpoint, past every point of interest and where no road is either straight paved or flat. By the end of the day the padding on our bottoms had been tested to the max and proved to be just about fit for purpose.
Undoing all the 1000's of lines that held the raft of boats together proved more successful when some planning and people were deployed. We slipped out as if someone had designed a system and found ourselves at the fabled Glenan Isles. Our sunglasses, being designed to shade your eyes from brilliant colours worked as we hoped they would. The water was the bluest of blues and the sand the whitest of whites.
As everything is working as designed, apart from the poor solar panel, and after having sleepless nights because of wind, anchoring boats and free boats, we feel that it's time to test the design limits of our mattress by seeking some flat water and getting some proper sleep. We're going to be heading for some flat water of the Odet River with its chateau lined banks.
Phew. The calm after the storm.
Finally some lovely sailing.
Port Kerol, before the hordes arrived.
Signs of summer are everywhere.
Port Kerol, as the hordes start arriving.
Brrrrrrr. Chocolate Chaud is the only answer.
Groix. Monuments cover the place.
That lighthouse will have weathered some storms.
Crikey. That is one seriously drying harbour.
Just keep pedalling.
And you'll be rewarded by a great view.
Now THEY are wild flowers.
Great hire bikes, apart from the colour.
Lordy. That's a lot of boats attached to not a lot of buoys.
Someone has caught something.
Errr. Just where has the wind gone?
Brrrrrrr. Ignore the cold and it doesn't exist.
Wow. Beaches, boats and blue.
All very Cape Cod.
No Iain, you can't take that anchor as a spare.
Now that is what I call a bay full of blue water.