Sugar 'n' Spice – Weblog 10

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Lampaul, Ile d’Ouessant, France


48º 27’06 N

5º 05’84 W

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Lampaul, Ile d’Ouessant, France

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Monday 4th July. An early start. Mist on the water, & an immediate ‘bucket’ overboard drill as its line broke. (successfully retrieved).



Heading downstream we encountered a very large dredger coming up at Roche Bernard. At 8.30 am we were waiting for the next lock at Arzal & an hour later we were through & heading down the Vilaine estuary. The lock itself had been much busier than when we came in. By 10.50 am we had deeper water (8 M) under the keel, quite a relief as we were coming out on a falling tide. We were heading to the tiny Ile Houat, where we anchored off Port St Gildas, the main town, in the early afternoon. After diving on the anchor Doug decided we should reset it as it was round a rock. I swam to the beach & back, but we both found the water cold.

Tuesday 5th July. A 9 am start from Houat, sailing as soon as we cleared the anchorage, we even had a fishing boat give way!



Mid morning as the sailing was good we changed our destination from Lorient to Le Foret. Soon we were crossing lots of yachts inbound from Belle Ile, then rain arrived & the vis was bad as we left Ile Groix to the north. The wind was gradually increasing & at 1.30 pm we reefed both main & genny. An hour later the wind was heading & our genoa sheet parted (one broke last year)  so we furled the genny & put the engine on for about an hour, until we could bear away for Le Foret Fouesnant with a spinnaker sheet as substitute. We arrived too early for the tide & had to ‘gill’ for ½ an hour before we could go in. 50.9 nm.

We took a ‘reminder’ walk across the causeway to the town & round the tidal anse that evening.



Wednesday (6th July) was a jobs day – laundry, buy new genoa sheet, take bikes to town & load with shopping, & all the while the (forecast) wind was howling & we were dodging rain showers. In the evening there was a free Celtic music night at an outdoor theatre in Le Foret. Because of the weather we dithered for ages about going, but as 9 pm approached we found the bike lights & headed in to town. There was a large crowd, it was a very big band (Bagad Kemper) with groups of horns, drums & bagpipes & was very enjoyable. What’s more we got back just as more rain started & it lasted most of the night!

Thursday (7th) – still blowing & showering – we managed miss the rain again on a circular walk along the coast, inland along the next pretty wooded estuary (Anse St Laurent), then via country lanes & a Neolithic stele (standing stone) back to base. About 11 km.



Friday 8th July. We were amused to find a powerboat family who had come in soon after us at the other end of our hammerhead had been so taken with our bikes & biking that they had gone off to a Carrefour supermarket & bought cheap bikes for their 4 week holiday! Probably very cost effective compared to hiring for that length of time.

We checked the weather, did another run to the shops & generally readied for departure. So just before 1 pm we threaded our way out of the shallow estuary. A lurking black cloud turned into serious rain, but no wind, equals more motoring, which continued until we rounded the buoy into the river Odet, & unfurled the genny to sail up the river. It was very busy with youngsters sailing dinghies & windsurfers – they cold have done with more wind & less rain too. Past Benodet we found our previous anchorage full of moorings, an increasingly common problem these days, but found a pleasant place a little further up at the Anse de Kerautret. 15.9 nm.



The wooded river is reminiscent of the Dart, the birds did not seem to mind the wet &, hardly surprising, there was not much traffic about.

Saturday 9th July. An 8 am start, very quiet down the river. Heading along the coast the wind was on the nose, so motoring. There were quite a few fishing boats & ‘pot’ marker buoys. About 11 am we were able to bear away to round Pointe Penmarche, a significant cape along this coast, & it was enough to let us unfurl the genny to aid the main & sail close hauled. At midday we were round Penmarche with its multiple lighthouses & we started seeing lots of yachts from the opposite direction & our next significant point, the Raz du Sein. There was quite a swell & the wind (& therefore our speed) was up & later down, Doug tried fishing (no fish, but it didn’t bring the wind back either) so we had a spell motoring very slow.



We still arrived at the Raz, the channel between the mainland & the offlying rocks & island of Sein, about 4 pm, & an hour ahead of slack tide, the favoured time to go through. With the day’s calm conditions we didn’t wait & carried on through so by 7.30 pm we were anchored in the Anse de Penhir. 56.7 nm.

This sheltered bay is across the peninsular from the town of Camaret & we were surprised on a saturday night to be one of only 2 boats anchored there.



Sunday 10th July. A relaxed departure from Anse de Penhir, out past the Tasse de Pois (cup of peas), a spectacular group of rocky islets tumbling out from the coastal cliffs.

We couldn’t quite lay the course, so we started beating, but finally the wind died to nothing, Doug tried fishing, no change, so more motoring. We skirted the rocky shallows guarded by numerous lighthouses & arrived at Lampaul, on the south side of Ile d’Ouessant (Ushant) in the early afternoon where we picked up a visitors mooring buoy. 26.2 nm.



Once sorted we went for a stroll & recce of the little town & an early supper.

Monday 11th July. Some shopping in the town, then we changed our plans to cycle round the island (which we had done on a previous visit) to walking a length of the coast path round Pern, the westernmost peninsular. We had not seen this bit before & it is much more accessible on foot as the paths adjacent to the rocky coastline are officially out of bounds to bikes. It included 2 lighthouses, Nividic & the very well known Creac’h, which lights the path of ships rounding this western outpost of France. Like all coast paths it turned out to be longer than it looked on the map because of all the twists & turns & ups & downs. It was a 3 hr walk, but as we stopped to look/take photos we guess about 6 miles.



Tuesday 12th July. It had rained overnight & carried on spasmodically during the day. Walking or cycling did not seem so appealing in the grey day. We dodged the rain while Doug nobly walked up the hill to the garage to fill our reserve diesel can, & I guarded the dinghy so we did not have to heave it up the slipway.

Later a large Customs boat arrived in the bay, & its launch duly appeared in the afternoon checking all the foreign yachts. They said “welcome to summer! It was nice in April”. 


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