Friday 15th July After receiving the 19.00 weather forecast we decided to leave Poole to take advantage of the Northwest F3 wind forecast and head for Roscoff 135 miles away to the Southwest. We arrived in Roscoff at midnight on Saturday 16th and picked up a buoy outside the harbour after a poor sail, in fact we motored more than sailed. We also had the misfortune of getting something wrapped round our propeller 50 miles short of Roscoff. By running the engine in forward and reverse we managed to shake most of whatever it was loose but we still had a problem as our speed was down by a knot for the engine revs we were running. On Sunday we decided to take the boat into Roscoff harbour which dries out to examine the propeller. And yes when the tide dropped there it was, a large lump of fishing net wrapped around the propeller. The good news was, after removing the net we found no damage to the stern gear. The other memorable thing about our trip across, we spotted two basking sharks about 5m in length, this was a first for Anne. On Tuesday, we took the train to Morlaix and spent the day sight seeing. The weather remains very warm (in the mid 70s) and we were glad to get back to the boat where it is a bit cooler for we had walked miles (sorry kilometres) and our feet were killing us. I had visited Roscoff about 15 years ago and it had not changed much, still highly recommended, although they now charge for the harbour (28 euro for 2 nights), but then again they are now charging in Rothesay and Tarbert, so I suppose it goes with the times.
Wednesday 20th July Depart Roscoff after a very enjoyable stay and we are heading for Cameret (70 miles distant) with an overnight stop in L Aberwrach. This part of the world has some pretty strong tides and plenty of rocks so journeys close to the coast must be properly planned. We had an early start at 06.00am to catch the tide but again the wind gods have deserted us and the wind is on the nose F4. There is a pretty big sea running and we decide to sail rather than motor into it, but this means tacking (who said days of beating were over)? By the time we reach L Aberwrach the tide has turned against us and our speed over the ground reduced to about 3 knots, so it took a lot longer than planned. At L Aberwrach you are obliged to take a mooring (pontoons max length 12m and anchoring forbidden), they charged 25 Euros a night for a mooring and if you want a shower its another 2 Euros, (more expensive than back home). Thursday morning we had another early start and with the challenge of the Chanel Du Four (Northwest corner of France) to look forward to it would be an exciting day. However it was a very warm sunny day with no wind and we ended up motoring all the way (we actually sailed the last 3 miles) to Cameret. We also had a school of dolphins playing around the boat for about half an hour, which was a delight. We arrived in Cameret 14.00 and anchored in the bay feeling very relaxed. Time for a run ashore. Cameret is a holiday town with plenty of small shops, bars and restaurants and we spent three days relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere, and taking short walks into the countryside. On one of our walks we visited the WW2 German gun emplacements at the entrance to the Raz de Brest part of which has been preserved as a monument and museum, very impressive!
Tuesday 26th July Our next port of call was to be Benodet 65 miles down the coast and through Raz de Sein. The Raz de Sein is like the Dorus Mor and the Corryvreckan all wrapped up in one and about three miles long, so we tried to time our arrival for slack water. As it was our timing was out by about one hour and we shot through at over 8 knots experiencing over falls of 2 metres and very rough conditions, and this was in good weather. We arrived in Benodet at 19.00 picked up a mooring, had dinner and went to bed, it had been a long day. Next morning, we moved to the marina (33 Euros per night) where we were able to plug into electricity (first time since arriving in France), this meant we did not have to run the generator, which is a bit noisy. Benodet like Cameret is a holiday town with its bars and restaurants but here we noticed a lot more English speaking holidaymakers. The marina has a laundry, so Anne took full advantage to bring all our washing up to date, not that there was a huge pile, with the warmer weather the amount of clothes you wear is greatly reduced. We were by now getting more in to the French way of things, croissants, crepes, and plenty of wine, and at between 2 to 4 Euros a bottle who could say no. We also found we were eating later in the evening and making it a more social event.
Friday 29th July Lovely morning for a short hop down the coast to Lorient (35 miles) and the wind is Southwest F3, so that puts it on the quarter, this is what we came for! We arrive after a very leisurely sail and motor up the river towards the city of Lorient, there is a marina in the centre of the city, that is where we are headed. One of the reasons for coming here is to have a look at the German submarine pens from the Second World War. Ironically the city has not got much to offer by way of architecture, it was flattened during the war, the one thing that has survived is the thing they were trying to destroy, the submarine pens and these are now tourist attractions with guided tours on offer. The marina has a number of boutiques and bar/cafes attached and in the evening we were attracted by what we thought were an Irish duo playing in one of them. As it turned out, one of the lads was from Stirling, the other had lived in Helensburgh for two years, they now both live in France. Small world!
View of the submarine pens from the sea