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The far east trip (of Brittany)

This was a touristy trip sailing East along the Northern Brittany coastline.

We had been banned from sailing to Gurnsey by the very unfriendly harbour master who told us we would not be allowed entry with our 2 Jack Russells and the dock was fitted with CCTV cameras.(Just incase we tried it anyway!)  

Sailing to Tréguier with the Sept Iles hiding in the mist. Apparently very picturesque, may be more luck on the return.

We probably did the Yachtie tourist route east from Roscoff, first stop Tréguier, a wonderful cruise up river after a challenging entry. We had no problem at all picking out leading lines. However, there were many different lines leading through the rocks, depending on where you came from and where you wanted to end up. All that was needed was to make sure you picked the right one.

Amanda has a very non-offensive way of telling me that I am off course. I have binoculars and plotter at my disposal but will usually get a ‘by the way’ comment of “are we off course for a reason?” from the navigation desk, as she watches our progress on the laptop. This is followed by a flurry of activity as I switch on the auto-helm and grab the binoculars, frantically trying to find out what Amanda can see! This is frequently followed by me conceding and asking for a second opinion of the line I have identified! 

 

On the entrance to Tréguier, I had got it completely wrong. I had begun following a very obvious leading line in the form of two strategically positioned white boards with a vertical black line and lights either side of the boards. The Boards where positioned at different heights on a hill and visible for some miles. I was lined up perfectly. The trouble was, we had turned in to the estuary from the West and were already way further up the channel than the marks were intended for. I had turned at a very large red can buoy, which I blame for the confusion, but on careful scanning of the horizon and studying of the plotter, we eventually identified a red buoy the size of a football about half a mile further on, which was our actual turning point. As it happened, after that (being in the correct location) the rest of the approach was delightful, sailing up the river in late afternoon sunshine, perfect.

 

Tréguier was a most idyllic stopover on our trip. As you approach along the river you cannot miss a grand Church on a hill. As you make the last turn on the river before the harbour, the striking church sits high above you, watching like a sentry. It was early evening when we arrived, so we delayed the customary explore until morning. 

   

After a couple of days exploring, we headed out and turned East again visiting Saint Quay and then on to Saint Cast Le Guildo. Not much to report from there. Without wishing to sound as though we have high expectations of quaint French harbours, they did seem a little Blackpool/Brighton after Tréguier.

At St Cast, we were sandwiched between two £1m motor yachts, both of which were heading back to Guernsey, final destination of Lymmington. One of the guys happily told us he had put 1000lts of diesel in before leaving the UK. He had come over via Gurnsey and would be stopping on the way back, as he needed to refuel to make it back to the UK! 

Since leaving the UK in April, we have taken on 97lts of fuel, which includes having the Webasto heater on constantly whilst sailing and also each morning and evening in port.Hmmm? 

It did, however get me thinking. We had a pilot book for Guernsey which we had picked up along the way and I decided to ring the Harbour master, to see what the requirement was for us to arrive with pets on board. It was only about 40 miles to Guernsey from Ile De Brehat, our next destination. He told me, in very plain easy to understand language, that I needed permission from DEFRA at St Peter Port, who would then inform him of our arrival. The dogs were to remain below deck for the duration of our stay, in case they jumped ship and that under no circumstances, must they touch even the Pontoon during our stay and, lest we forget, the harbour and marina were monitored by CCTV cameras. So, we decided to give it a miss!

 We set sail for Ile de Brehat, an Island on the entrance to Lézardriuex. We had picked out an anchorage on the east of the island. Unfortunately, when we arrived, so had most of France! We had made good progress on our sail, managing to get the wind and tide going in the correct direction for once, or should I say, we were going in the correct direction for the wind and tide. We had arrived early afternoon and after much circling, eventually found our spot, only to find that around 20:00 hours, most of the other yachts left, as they had just gone across for the day. We decided to stay put.

Around midnight, I got up for a call of nature and did a customary glance outside to make sure we were roughly in the same place. I was surprised to find three British flagged yachts circling our location like Apache Indians, before opting to drop their hooks on our seaward side. Better to be safe than sorry I suppose.

 

We woke to a most beautiful morning. The boat was completely stationary as if we were screwed to the floor. It was difficult to believe that we were actually floating on the water. Our late arrival neighbours headed off again soon after 08:00 in the direction of Guernsey. I thought to myself “I hope they haven’t got any pets on board” .

After a dinghy trip ashore with the dogs and a quick wander around, we headed off to Lézardieux, arriving just after lunch. We tied up and headed in to town to replenish our supplies. It is a very charming market town a short walk up hill away from the river, set in to the hillside, just what we were hoping to find. It had all the shops one could hope for, including a small but well stocked Supermarket and a good selection of restaurants that seemed to cover most budgets.

Once back at the boat, we found we had a new neighbour. A gent in his late 70’s single handed sailing a Rival. He told us he would be leaving around 05:00 for Guernsey as his wife thought he should try and get back before some approaching weather!

We decided to set our alarm a little earlier to give the guy a hand, but in the end, we both sat in our respective cockpits drinking tea until around 05:45, eventually casting him off on the beginning of his homeward journey at 06:00.

We thought that seeing as though we were now wide awake, we may as well get moving. So we slipped our lines and motored out quietly behind him, watching the sunrise.

We chugged out along the River and after about one hour we hit the open sea. 

Due to our early departure, we were now against the tide, with no wind and ended up motoring most of the way back to Roscoff. 

Aptly named Navigation aid!

We did have an interlude as we approached the entrance to Tréguier. We noticed lots of local fishermen ahead of us, all fishing with rods and seeming to catch something. We were not making much headway, due to the strong tidal current, so I decided this would be a good time to try out my new rod.

 

So the new rod worked and we could eat for another day, well a few days in fact, as I managed to catch 7 really big Mackerel. What a result. Just need to learn how to catch this illusive Sea Bass next!.

Now back in Roscoff planning our next move.