|Vessel Make/Model:||Beneteau Oceanis 411|
|Crew:||John and Barbara Sumner|
We decided to go back down the river to La Roche Bernard, as we can only last for so long without the benefits of civilisation, such as shopping, electricity, water etc! It's another lovely sunny day and we had a gentle sail down the river with just the genoa, till we lost the wind and had to put the engine on. There were no free berths on the visitors' pontoon so we were allocated a hammerhead in the main marina. We found the town was dead, probably because of it being the day after the Bank holiday weekend, and the only place open was the Carrefour Supermarket (thankfully)! La Roche Bernard is a beautiful historic town, dating back 1000 years, and many buildings still survive from the 16th and 17th centuries, and are home to artists and craftspeople, as well as lots of attractive restaurants and shops. It used to be a port in the days when the Vilaine was still a river, and since the dam was built has become a large and busy marina. Tonic is the boat on the furthest right.
It was a warm night. I launched the kayak and went exploring the banks. There is masses of erosion from all the speeding boats which is sad. But the banks are beautiful with irises, reeds and weeping willows. At one point in the afternoon we were sitting peacefully in the cockpit and suddenly realised we were floating off past Epiphany (our friends' boat nearby)! The mud must be very soft and we didn't have much chain out because it was very shallow and the anchor must have pulled through the mud and when we got into deeper water it didn't reach the bottom! Fortunately we were able to quickly turn the engine on and re-anchor and let out more chain to make sure it didn't happen again! Then it was off to Epiphany for drinks which was lovely. It was a beautiful sunset and after dinner I sat in the cockpit looking for otters. Eventually spied one but by that time it was too dark to photograph! It's a shame they only come out at dusk but lovely to see they seem to be thriving here. We've christened this place Otter Anchorage (the previous one was Weeping Willow Creek).
I got my kayak out for the first time this season, and had a lovely time exploring the river bank. It was a beautiful temperature, warm sunshine and a gentle breeze. This is definitely my happy place! After lunch in the cockpit we settled down to enjoy the peace and quiet but it was soon disturbed by a series of motor boats coming past on the plane (the speed limit in the river is 5.5 knots). There was even someone water skiing! In the end we decided to go further up the river in the hope of finding somewhere quieter. We went through Foleux where there was some sort of festival going on, with some boats dressed overall, and a fair on the bank. I managed to get some photos of what I think is a Montagu's Harrier eating its lunch on the branch of a tree! See if you can spot it in the photo, it is remarkably well camouflaged, but I think it might be eating a fish. We finally found a place that was reasonably sheltered from the wind by some trees. A little bit later on our Brixham friends Janet & Graham on Epiphany came and anchored nearby and they came on board for G&Ts. It was absolutely delightful in the cockpit and we even saw some otters swimming across the river.
Left Piriac at 8.30am as we're aiming to get the 11 o'clock lock at Arzal. We started out motor-sailing with just the genoa but then got the mainsail up and were able to turn the engine off for a while. As we approached the entrance to the Vilaine there were dozens of boats coming out! It's the start [...]
We decided to stay another night in Piriac, so we got our bikes out and went for a ride up the coast towards Mesquer. We stopped at the Plage Port Au Loup to eat our sandwiches. We had it almost all to ourselves, and I had a paddle afterwards which was lovely but the water did feel cold! It was very hot out of the wind which was not as strong as yesterday. There was very little traffic on the roads so we were able to enjoy the beautiful Breton houses, some of which have thatched roofs which is quite unusual. We cycled up to the Plage de Sorlock where we stopped to watch all the people wind-surfing and wing foiling which looks great fun but I would imagine requires a lot of skill. We cycled to the end of the promontory where we saw a couple of policemen putting parking tickets on some cars, right outside a chapel which was full of people singing. I thought that was a dirty trick! We then went in search of an ice cream and found to our delight a little 3-wheeler van by the beach which had just opened up selling lovely ice creams! Back on the boat, we discovered a boat had come in which we have met up with on 3 previous occasions, in 2017, 2018 and 2019! Andrew and Caroline on Inka 2, so it was lovely to catch up with them. Finally the wind has dropped and it was very pleasant in the cockpit up till the sun went down.
Set off at 9am. We had a tight schedule to get to Piriac before the water level over the sill went down too far, and initially there wasn't enough wind to get a decent speed up, but quite soon we had more than enough at 18 knots and were quite close-hauled, so we put some rolls in the genoa and a reef [...]