Calypso Capers

Bawdy Belle Ile

We had originally intended to visit both Sauzon (small harbour with mooring balls) and Le Palais (main town with pontoons in the inner harbour behind a lock gate). However Paul’s back was still very slowly recovering and not up to launching dinghies!

Le Crouesty – Le sardine tin!

We entered Le Crouesty very easily – it is less than a mile outside the Port Navalo entrance to the Morbihan, and whilst there are shallows, the entrance is well buoyed and there is an easily followed leading line (red panel with white stripe in line with the lighthouse – not to be confused with the nearby white port entrance marker with a red stripe!!)

Vannes for Bastille Day

The marina in Vannes is a long narrow (for a marina) canal that runs right up to one of the gates of the Intra-Muros (walled medieval city with many of the ramparts still in good nick). This has many advantages – shops, bars, markets and summer sales; although one big disadvantage is the noise of drunken young folk leaving the nearby bars at 2 and 3am! Arriving on a Friday we assumed this would end after Saturday – but no such luck, this is obviously a party city!

Entering the Morbihan

Our Irish friends from L’Aber Wrac’h had said we should go to Vannes, especially for Bastille Day (14th July).
We were tempted but the Morbihan (“small sea” in Breton) covers 50 square miles of relatively shallow water which empties and fills through a gap that is less than half a mile wide – and as it enters the tide sluices and boils in narrow channels between the many pretty island in there. The tide runs at up to 9 knots through some of these channels……….

One night in Port Haliguen

We set off early (for us – 9.00am) from Port Tudy into a bit of a fog. We left the sails stowed initially but after a while raised the main to motor sail, adding a whole extra half a knot. The fog was patchy – at times quite dense and at times the view opened and the sun tried to break through.

We fired up the new radar in anger for the first time – and soon discovered that we need to RTFM………

Sore bottoms on Ile De Groix

We delayed our departure from Concarneau by a few days due to high winds, giving us less time to explore the Islands of Groix and Belle Ile than we would have liked, before entering the Morbihan and visiting Vannes for Bastille Day celebrations. We intended to stay 2 nights on each island, but enjoyed Groix so much that we stayed 4 nights and missed Belle Ile out altogether – hoping to return after Vannes.

A Week (or so) in Concarneau

The 12 nm trip to Concarneau was uneventful – we departed Loctudy, when the tide had risen sufficiently, into a flat calm day where the sails never saw the light of day. We set 2 waypoints along the leading line into Concarneau, but its daymarks were clearly visible from well off – confirming, if nothing else, that the waypoints had been set accurately as the autopilot steered us the last mile or so into Concarneau, keeping the daymarks bang in line.

Dolphins, Le Guilvinec & Loctudy

Dolphins come to play………..

Le Guilvinec was not on our radar until we chatted to a young French sailor in a bar – he said we shouldn’t miss it – a large harbour with little in the way of visitor moorings, but a very interesting working harbour, where fish can be purchased from the trawlers (so he said). Indeed we read that 17% of France’s fish is landed here.

Chenal du Four, Camaret, Raz de Seine & Audierne

Heading around the corner in benign conditions

We had waited 13 days in L’Aber Wrach waiting for the strong Westerlies to subside – and when they did they calmed down dramatically and went round to the East. There was not enough wind to sail and so we motorsailed the whole 36nm trip. The sea was calm as we passed the Four lighthouse……

L’Aber Wrac’h was better than we thought…

We had read that L’Aber Wrac’h (hereafter “L’AW” as it’s a bit of a finger-full) was a busy crossroads for yachts arriving from all points of the compass en route to/from Biscay, England and other parts of France – sitting as it does on the tip of Brittany and a good place to time a passage through the Chenal Du Four – but it is said that there is not much there. We had intended to stay for only a day or two before heading on to Camaret.