Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie-La Rochelles

3 Jun, 2015 | 56.5 nm | position 46° 08.2437′ N 1° 11.8403′ W NW 1-4m/s  

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Still some swells from yesterday's gale at the lighthouse Les Barges d'Olonne

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The impressive towers of La Rochelle marks the entrance to the old harbour.

La Roche is a beautiful city and we enjoyed a stroll around, and, despite that it is no obvious with the picture full of clouds, we could wear t-shirts :-).

Before approaching the city harbour we filled up diesel in the outside harbour. The automat accepted the credit card, but the pump did not work. We tried it again, until the credit card was not accepted anymore, so we tried it with another one until that also was not accepted any more. Then we changed to another pump and another credit card.

When we returned to the boat and connected to internet, we received an email notification from the bank, that we have been charged 2x300€ on the rejected credit cards, which left the account next to empty!

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One of the gates to the old city had a big clock - La Grosse Horloge

By then, the harbour office, which was as far away from the guest quay as possible, was closed, at 19:00, when it should have been open until 22:00. We phoned the outside harbour and they told us, to stop by at their office then next morning at 09:00, which ruined our sailing plans for the next day.

In the main harbour office the next morning, they told us, there was nothing to worry about. The petrol station was only blocking/reserving 300€ on each credit card, which we put in the machine, and we should have full access to the money the same day again, latest the next day. So we left.

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Le View Port at sunset.

The harbour fee was 42€ and included electricity and water. The shower and toilet were situated in the harbour office, which was anything but near by the guest quay.

Harbour day in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie

2 Jun, 2015 | 0.0 nm | position 46° 41.4456′ N 1° 57.3379′ W SW 8-16m/s  

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The Captain at work - no, he is not resting...

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The culprit: a hole through the deck!

Harbour day=workday. Up in the mast to repair the running light, adjusting the hatch with an angle grinder - but most of the time was spent head down in our dry locker which, by the way, was not dry anymore! After taking out a bucket of water, the search for the leak was on. After loosening 6 through bolts and sealing and tightening them - the fix was tested with a water hose - still leaking. In the end it turned out to be one of Bavaria's production errors; when gluing the teak deck, the guide holes ( which was drilled through the deck) were sealed only with caulking!

The captain sealed the hole with epoxy and hopefully the dry locker will stay dry now.

La Turballe-Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie

1 Jun, 2015 | 56.9 nm | position 46° 41.4456′ N 1° 57.3379′ W Variable 1-2m/s  

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The harbour at low water - hope we calculated the tide correctly!

The sun came back and was shining the whole morning, but the air is still cold - even with no wind. Again, the weather forecast, which promised good sailing wind, was wrong. Boring to go on engine the whole day, but the captain at least got some polishing done!

We found a sheltered harbour in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie to protect us from the force 7 wind which is supposed to hit us around midnight. Let's see, if the forecast is right about that.

A stroll around the city was topped by ice-cream in the sun.

The harbour Port la Vie, charged 34.35€, everything included, but the internet was unbearably slow.

Welkin The rookie sailor's corner

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Going on engine - how boring! Wake me up when we are there.

Port-Tudy-La Turballe

31 May, 2015 | 46.5 nm | position 47° 20.6605′ N 2° 30.9196′ W SW 10-16 m/s  

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A bit rough today, waves up to 2.5-3m.

Rainy day with enough wind to sail fast, but the waves coming from the side made us roll a lot!

Getting into the harbour at high water, we had no problem with the swells over the 2m shallows.

Once in the harbour we found the last place and with help of the wind we 'parallel parked' between two rafts of boats with centimetres to spare. When we touched the quay, we were applauded by the French skippers around us! Again we were the only foreign boat.

The harbour master was fluent in Spanish, the same applied to some of the French skippers, so the first mate had no issues this time with the communication. It seems that in this part of France, the French speak a foreign language, even if it is not English.

Welkin The rookie sailor's corner

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When will it stop raining and get warm?

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The tiny guest section of the harbour, where boats are rafting up.

The harbour fee amounted to 17€, shower 2€, and the first mate was very fast out of the office, before someone could change his mind.

In the centre of Turballe there are plenty of cafés and restaurants and the patisseries were open on a Sunday :-). A large beach is at the side of the harbour and along it plenty of rental places. For sure, a German shepherd on board who needs to be taken on walks will ensure that one gets around.

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Nice beach next to the harbour, but the temperatures do not invite for a bath!

Le Guilvinec-Port-Tudy

30 May, 2015 | 44.1 nm | position 47° 38.7238′ N 3° 26.6939′ W S 2-3m/s  

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Ile de Groix is a green island protruding 40m above the Bay of Biscay.

Not much wind today, but we got to sail for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

The harbour was busy with boats coming and going, and all French. Actually we were the only foreign boat in the harbour today. When we arrived, a harbour master helped us to land

To the right you can see the inner harbour with a sill to keep the depth and also preventing boats from leaving when they want. We stayed in the outer section.

We had a walk to the supermarket  and enjoyed some of the old architecture on the island.

The harbour fee was 31€, everything included.

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It is a bit strange to see boats floating above sea level.

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Port-Tudy was very popular today and we assume it is packed in summer.

Aber-Wrac'h-Le Guilvinec

29 May, 2015 | 76.2 nm | position 47° 47.1986′ N 4° 17.6588′ W SW 5-14m/s  

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The harbour is mainly for fishing boats, the tiny guest (4 places) harbour is at the far end.

This harbour was pretty much the opposite of Bloscon. The book said, that it is mainly a fishing harbour and so it was. Because of ferries one cannot enter the harbour between 16:00-18:30.

The harbour fee was supposed to be 25€, however no harbour office was open and we could not get in contact with anyone on the phone numbers given, so we did not pay anything. There was electricity on the quay, but no internet access.

On both sides of the harbour are villages, however, we could not find a supermarket in any of them. The captain found a bakery in 3min walking distance, which, again, was selling lovely bread (not baguette!) and the first mate found a large beach and plenty of holiday rental places, beautiful houses and gardens, when taking the dogs on walks.

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Gray day, still cold though, but we had wind (and the waves which go with it) the whole day and did some proper sailing!

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The natural breakwaters outside the city

We left shortly passed 07:00 this morning in order to go with the current out of the channel back into the Atlantic. It did not work out; so much for the plan. It took us longer than estimated to get the the cap, and when we finally arrived, the current was not with, but against us: 3kn!

Because of this, we could not make it to our next harbour in time, Aurdierne, where we would have to arrive at high water. So we needed to find another harbour for the night and had a long sailing day, with plenty of wind and bumping around at the mercy of the waves.

Bloscon-Aber-Wrac'h

28 May, 2015 | 48.9 nm | position 48° 36.0092′ N 4° 33.7039′ W NW 5-12m/s  

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Tucked in between the fishing boats in Aber-Wrac'h

When arriving at Aber-Wrac'h, the local harbour master was approaching us in his dingy, asking if we want to lay on a buoy or prefer the quay in the harbour. Wow, what service! We opted for the quay in the harbour, and the harbour master was guiding the way to the last place along the quay.  There we were laying next to the local fishing boats. During the night we discovered, that this was not really optimal, as the fishermen were working and leaving in the middle of the night, having the start of the working day dictated by high water and not being exactly quite.

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Traditional stone houses in Landeda

Next to the harbour, which is not too large and lovely located, is a selection of restaurants and we have been told that one can buy fresh bread in the morning in the Cafe next to the harbour. However, when we left around 7:00 the next morning, the cafe was still closed.

The next supermarket is more than 1.5km away and on the way we collected and ate our first wild strawberries of this season. The harbour fee amounted to approx. 31 € and included everything.

We also had a visit by the French customs - four friendly armed guys entered the boat from an inflatable and check our papers.

Lezardrieux-Bloscon

27 May, 2015 | 58.7 nm | position 48° 43.1909′ N 3° 57.6892′ W WNW 5-10m/s  

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Bloscon harbour - huge and brand new - with a lot of facilities.

The harbour of Bloscon is huge - it takes seemingly an eternity to get from the visitors quay to land. They quays are wide, new, with electricity and water, and we had good and free internet connection here. The harbour buildings are gigantic cement, steel and glass constructions, which made us aware of the fact, that so far we have not been to a single cosy harbour on this coast, were one wishes to linger longer than necessary. Instead of a cosy harbour bar like in Norderney or a harbour cafe like in Amsterdam, the gigantic harbours here lack any type of atmosphere.

There is neither village, nor bakery nor supermarket close to the harbour.

The next morning, when walking the dogs, the first mate encountered again a botanical garden, which was situated nearby the harbour and looked promising. Unfortunately, that early in the morning it was closed.

As the harbour office was closed during the time we were staying in the harbour, we did not pay any harbour fee.

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The city of Loguivy - the harbour is dry at low water!

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We just love the rock formation in this part of Brittany.

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Perhaps a castle on the coast would be nice? Along the river and coastline one can find beautiful estates.

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As we were getting out to open waters the fog rolled in and stayed with us the whole day.

As the fog engulfed us, the radar was turned on when the fog lifted we were surprised of all the boats around us - without radar reflectors!

Welkin The rookie sailor's corner

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Say old chap, as we are sailing the French waters, perhaps a 'Tête à tête' would be appropriate? 

Le Havre-Lezardrieux

26 May, 2015 | 87.0nm | position 48° 47.3493′ N 3° 05.9445′ W NW 0-8m/s  

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Sunrise over the English Channel at 06:30.

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The Channel Islands, in order of appearance Alderney, Sark, Jersey and Guernsey.

Off at 05:00 - cold and dark - had to reach Cap de Hague before the worst current started. We were doing 11.5kts over ground due to the 4kts current. Luckily we didn't have much wind and waves, because the current made a lot of strange waves and turbulence.

The ship's dogs are vaccinated and have all the papers ready to go to the Channel Islands, but we cannot land in a sailboat - one can only bring dogs on approved ferries and airplanes! What a pity, we would have liked to visit the islands!

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Rounding Cap de Hague - 4kts current and a lot of strange waves.

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Entering the river Drieux with it characteristic rock formations.

The harbour of Lezardrieux lies on a river a bit inland and from the harbour it is a short walk to the beautiful village. What they are lacking in pedestrian walking paths they are making up with beautiful stone houses and amazing gardens. The village has a fantastic bakery, which, besides the usual French baguette, also sells very good whole wheat bread and pastry, and the French seem not to share the Dutch and German anti-creditcard-attitude: here it is no problem to pay with credit card in shops and harbours.

Next to the harbour lies a botanic garden path with large description boards in French. In addition smaller signs at the plants were displaying their names in French, Latin and English. Someone made a great effort here and the first mate appreciated a stroll along the path.

The harbour fee was 37€ and included everything.

harbour day in Cherbourg

25 May, 2015 | 0.0 nm | position 49° 39.4788′ N 1° 36.7950′ W W 0-4m/s  

Next to the harbour in Cherbourg is a lovely green lawn and a picnic area under pine trees. It did not come as a surprise, that the picnic area was mainly used by dogs doing their business and also the lawn was frequented by dogs.

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We are getting further south; this is the first palm tree we have seen!

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In one of the café's the first mate had a milk shake and thought something was wrong with her order when the glass arrived more empty then full. The waiter explained, that it is completely correct and see here, the lowest mark is for cocktails. Thank god, I did not order a Mojito, the disappointment would have been unbearable.

Studying the French couple on the next table, we found out, how things are done here: They did not touch their drinks during the whole time we were there, to ensure they are lasting long.

The city of Cherbourg provides plenty of Döner-Shops and Take-Away Pizza. What happened with the French cuisine?

Le Havre-Cherbourg

24 May, 2015 | 82.3 nm | position 49° 39.4788′ N 1° 36.7950′ W W 1-8m/s  

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Gannet - The Captain's favourite sea bird.

It was a long journey today and we arrived late in the evening in Cherbourg.

When we approached the harbour we noticed that more than 3 boats were anchoring up just outside the harbour, without access to land, which could mean two things: the harbour was full, or the harbour was too expensive.

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Two of the many fortifications on the almost 5nm long outer breakwater of Cherbourg.

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Port Chantereyne with 1000 berths and only 10 of them can use the internet at any time!!!

Here, for the first time, we were confronted with a harbour guy who did not speak any English at all, and the first mate, who does not speak French, got quite frustrated. The harbour fee was 41.80€ and included everything. However, there were quite some boats preferring to anchor just outside the harbour, without without access to land and without any nice views, while the guest harbour was staying half empty.

The internet access was a disaster, and they assured us, that the will get a new provider NEXT year - for sure, having working internet is no priority here.

On the way back to the boat we got quite annoyed. France is not only the country of wine, cheese and pastry, but also of dog shit. Dog shit is just everywhere here and now it was on our quay. Someone had already stepped in and distributed it nicely all over the place.