Our summer cruise to France 16 May - 22 October 2023 - 1172 nautical miles

The Adventure Begins - Our long awaited six month trip to Atlantic France

Monday 15 May 2023 Haslar to Yarmouth

Julia and I were up bright and early for a shower, coffee and final preparations. Then Gillian very kindly picked us up and dropped us down to Haslar. We quickly loaded up and were off on our adventure. It was sunny, but with a strong northerly wind, so we were able to hoist genoa and a tiny amount of mainsail at Gilkicker and sailed all the way to Yarmouth. It was lovely, blowing 15-27 knots. We got into Yarmouth and went on the inside of the blue hammerhead, port side to. Blown off, but we had two harbour folk come and help us. We then had lunch, and went for a nice long walk. Back for chilling and drinks, before dinner at the Terrace, which was excellent service and food. I had scallops to start, Julia a confit chicken croquette. I had sirloin steak, and Julia had cod dish. We drank Malbec. Back to the boat and watched the first episode of ten pound poms and had a little port.

Channel Crossing - Yarmouth to Cherbourg

Tuesday 16 May 2023

We were up at 0630 and made coffee. A lovely sunny morning, if a bit chilly. We set off at 0740 with hardly any wind, which by the time we turned at the Needles was aft, so very little apparent wind to play with, so we motored all the way. It stayed sunny all day. It was a bit rolly at first and Julia had a lie down for a while, but it settled and Julia was up and in the cockpit for most of the trip. We got into Cherbourg at 1740 – exactly 10 hours, 68. 3 nautical miles. We quickly got the boat sorted and went to the office where we paid, and charged into the town to the galette place Le Ty Billic, and had a lovely meal. We both had duck confit with an extra egg and shared a green salad. We then went back to the boat, had a couple of nice brandies, and I crashed. Julia watched some TV before bed.

A Day in Cherbourg

Wednesday 17 May 2023

We both slept well, and it was another beautiful sunny morning. We had coffee and then went to the marina reception to meet the Border Police, who stamped our passports. We then walked to the station and got a taxi up to the Auchan Hypermarket complex, where we went into the Free Telecoms shop, and with some expert advice, bought a data sim, which I tested there and then with my router and iPad. We then got a taxi down to Carrefour and did a shop there mainly of wine and a few other bits, and then pushed the trolley back to the marina. We then had showers, but discovered that the water pressure was low. I had been worried about this as I had noticed the inlet pipe to the pump being constricted. I got into the engine bay and made a few adjustments, and it seems fine now, After showers, we had brunch and chilled during the afternoon, as it was lovely and sunny. We cooked and ate aboard and watched a movie – Ticket to Paradise with George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Cherbourg to St Peter Port

Thursday 18 May 2023

It was a grey start to the day and a civilised departure time of 0915. There was little to no wind, and we motored with a spring tide under us round Cap de La Hague and into the Alderney Race. 11-12 knots over the ground. The day gradually brightened up and it was very sunny and warm. It was a pleasant trip. We arrived into St Peter Port after only 5 and a quarter hours for a distance of 44 nautical miles. We wanted to get fuel but ran aground approaching the fuel dock, so backed off for an hour, waiting on the floating pontoon opposite with the harbourmaster’s blessing. He warned us that it was going to be slow getting everyone in as there was a big rally arriving. The gates opened shortly after 1600, but he advised waiting until at least 1700. We nipped over for fuel just before a 90 foot motor boat docked for fuel and they were still topping up an hour or so later when we entered the marina. We got into the scrum at the entrance and had to hold station for a while. We then were guided into an alongside and deep into the rally rafts. We were quickly rafted on by more rally boats. The rally comes every year and this year totalled 72 French boats and been going 40 years apparently - it’s called the Tresco Trophee and is organised by the Yacht Club de Morlaix. We settled in and watched the mayhem, and then headed for the office to pay our bill and headed out to eat. We went to the Slaughterhouse, which was really lovely, both having rib-eye steaks and sharing onion rings, with a bottle of rioja. Back to the boat and we had a few more drinks and an early night.

St Peter Port

Friday 19 May May 2023

We were awake at 0700 and read the papers. Then showered and had coffee. The boats outside us swapped as the outer boat wasn’t racing on Saturday morning early. We went for a mooch around the shops, and then via a provisions shop in Marks and Spencer, back to the boat where I embarked on a long session of passage planning, Julia went back into town to look at some shops in more detail. When she got back we had lunch. It was all very busy on the pontoons with boat parties and people eating lunch in their cockpits. In the afternoon, we walked to the bus station to get information, and then to the chandlers. Then back to the boat for drinks taken outside, and then to the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club for a drink. It was very friendly there and they have made a super job of their new clubhouse. I even spoke with the commodore, Jules. We then came back and cooked on board and listened to music as the internet here just isn’t up to streaming.

Saturday 20 May 2023

We were awake shortly after 0500 as the entire French fleet was on the move, culminating in the huge committee catamaran reversing past us at about 0700. We drank tea and read the papers, and went back to bed for an extra lie in. Then up for showers and coffee. Julia produced an English breakfast, and then we went to the bus station and caught a 91 bus which goes clockwise around the island. (The 92 goes the other way) It had started bright and sunny but was now quite cloudy and cool with a keen breeze, so we were happy to be on the bus. It was a lovely trip and we got to see all the different shades of Guernsey. It brightened up as we got back into St Peter Port and we walked through the town and stopped at the Boathouse by our marina. We were just ordering drinks but saw their specials board had snails in garlic, so as well as our beer and prosecco, we decided to order those, and they were fantastic. We each had six snails, each with a tiny mushroom bathed in garlic. Simply divine. Then we went back to the boat for a sleep and then drinks out in the cockpit to watch boats arriving. We then went to the Nautique Restaurant, and got a lovely table overlooking the harbour, and I had six oysters for starters, sharing one with Julia. Then we both had the halibut special, which was lovely. Then back to the boat for a glass of port. Again, the internet was crap so streaming wasn’t possible. I did download Have I got News for You which took about half an hour, and we watched that, and then went to bed.

Sunday 21 May 2023

Another bright and sunny start but still with that North Wind. Quite a few boats left, so we were then clear ahead, and it was quiet in the marina. We had a lazy start, and then did an M&S shop. Then we went back to the front which was all shut off to traffic to see all the little market stalls. It was buzzing, but there was still a chill breeze. Lovely out of it in the sun though. We then popped into the Co-Op and bought a few more bits and came back to the boat for lunch. We then chilled in the sunshine, and around 1730 put the oven on, and sat outside with G&Ts to watch the boats come in, which was entertaining. We then had roast chicken, which was lovely, and then got talking to the crew of a 40 foot Hallberg called Henni – Ingo and Saskia, and we invited them aboard for drinks, which was convivial. Then bed.

St Peter Port to Treguier

Monday 22 May 2023

We were up at 0540 and away at 0645 over the sill showing 2 metres depth. We motored South, and as we rounded the corner and there was plenty of North / North East breeze, we were able to hoist all sails and head for Treguier. We did add some engine power later so as to maintain the correct speed as it’s vital to arrive at Treguier at slack water. It got quite rolly on the way and we found it hard to pick out the first mark for the tricky navigation into the river. Once we had that though, it was well buoyed and easy enough to follow. However it was low water on a spring tide, so we had to be careful to stay in the channel, and crept into the marina as previous experience showed us that the channel is very narrow. Anyway, we got in to be greeted by the harbourmaster or should I say harbour-mistress, who took our bow line. It was 51. 5 nautical miles and took just over 8 hours. We got all tidied up, and chilled. It was too windy to really sit out but hiding under the spray hood worked. We popped up to pay our bill, and quickly into a shop, but other than that we stayed aboard. We used yesterday’s chicken for a coronation chicken dish with salad and some wine, and now using the new French dongle streamed Amazon Prime video with ease.


Tuesday 23 May 2023

The electric toilet worked all through the night, and again at 0700 but at 0900, it started to make a very different noise and clicked when it stopped and is seriously not well. It is only on the outlet side. We decided to park that problem for later and got showered and ready as it was such a nice day, with little wind, and blue skies and sunshine. I had planned us a 4. 25 miles walking route going up one side of the River Guindy and back down the other into Treguier from the top. It was a lovely walk with little French cottages and old railway bridges, topped off by an old aqueduct. I wore shorts for the first time this year. We walked into town and booked the Bistro D’Ernest which we ate at a few years ago, and then back to the boat for lunch. After lunch, Julia set about cleaning the oven after the chicken had splattered, and I dismantled the electric toilet. Both tiring mucky jobs. I had a service kit for the toilet and replaced seals and the joker valve, but sadly when I put it all back together it still makes a more screeching sound and is not pumping the waste away as it should. It does however work, just not as well, so we will carry on for now, but consider asking one of our visitors to bring us some replacement parts in due course, I will speak with Jabsco tomorrow to see what we need. We then had drinks, and walked into town to the restaurant Le Bistrot d'Ernest which we had been to back in 2016, where we had a lovely meal. Julia had three sorts of beetroot and I had charcuterie for starters, and we both had merlu – a white fish, which translates as hake, with a butter sauce and vegetables. We had the local red wine. The restaurant was full and is clearly popular. The proprieter was turning people away. We came back to the boat and had drinks and watched TV.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

We both slept well and made tea and showered. After coffee, we headed for the market, which was smaller than we remember it, as it is out of season, so a lot of the tourist stalls were missing. But there was plenty of food, and we bought a few things. It was another sunny day, again with that cool breeze. We came back to the boat and had lunch which was all from the market. Then we had a lazy afternoon in the sunshine, reading and relaxing. In the evening, I cooked some lamb steaks we bought in St Peter Port with some new potatoes and veg, and we watched some TV.

Treguier to Roscoff

Thursday 25 May 2023

We both took ages to go to sleep last night. The morning was very sunny and quite warm for the first time. We made coffee and set off at 1030 down the river into the teeth of the North Easterly which was blowing 13-15 knots. At the entrance to the river, we were able to turn North East and eventually West with the wind on the starboard quarter. I was able to put the genoa out, but the boat was rolling badly and the sail flapping as the wind kept going aft, so I opted for less genoa and motor which steadied the boat. However, the wind kept increasing throughout the day, which was sunny and with blue skies, so that it was 15 – 22 knots. It was very rolly. I went down below and made bacon butties, and we got one big roll that took one of our unbreakable plates off the surface and down to the galley floor and well, it wasn’t unbreakable, as it shattered into pieces. After that I used kitchen roll! As we approached Roscoff it was getting windier and was quite a struggle getting into harbour. I wanted to top up the fuel, so we went onto the fuel berth, and while we were there, the marina guy came over and guided us to our berth after we had filled up, which ended up being fine as we were blown on, port side to – our favourite. I went up and paid, and then had a couple of beers. We saw Ingo and Saskia on Hennie (who we met in St Peter Port) as we came in, and we went along the pontoon to say hello. Saskia wasn’t too good, but we learned they had come in yesterday to avoid the wind. We came back to the boat and Julia served up a gesiers salad, and we watched TV and bed.


Friday 26 May 2023

It was a grey and windy start to the day, so we took it slowly - there were waves in the marina. We went up to the showers, which were fairly bog standard French marina, and back to the boat when Ingo and Saskia popped by to say hello. We then had coffee and did computer stuff. Then we walked into Roscoff, and after doing the length and breadth of the town, had lunch in the central café, called Ty Pierre, which was buzzing. We had moules frites in curry sauce as that was the sauce of the day and we wanted moules. Then we walked back along the front and booked a table for dinner at L’Ecume des Jours, which in previous years had been awarded Michelin stars. Then back to the boat and had a sleep, and then drinks, and then back into town for a marvellous dinner which we started with champagne, and a sort of nibbles course. Then I had oysters and Julia had baby clams in a filo parcel, and then we both had fillet of lieu (pollock) done beautifully in a butter sauce with many kinds of vegetables. This was followed by cheese and we drank Bordeaux red wine. Then back to the boat, and watched the last ever Mrs Maisel on Amazon and bed.

Saturday 27 May 2023

It was a sunny start to the day with less wind, although still there with that Northerly coolness. We were up and off at 0945 and walked to the ferry station right at the other end of Roscoff, which took us 40 minutes. We got on the 1030 ferry to Ile de Batz, and were pleasantly surprised to find it quite sheltered and warm out of the wind. We quickly checked out the two main restaurants, and booked the better one with a great sea view. In fact we then decided to chill and had rose wine there and shortly after midday, ordered galettes for lunch, which were lovely. I had boudiniere – which was black pudding, and Julia had goats cheese. The galettes were very light. I also had a honey and almonds crepe as dessert. We sat outside and it got very busy. We then went for a lovely walk to the west end of the island enjoying the quiet lanes and flowers everywhere. We then headed back to the centre and had a drink at the other place Penn ar Batz (PAB) sat out in the sunshine – although no sea view. We then caught the 1500 ferry back and came home to the boat via Carrefour for some extra provisions. We then had a sleep and then read the Saturday papers in the sunshine in our saloon, as it continues to be too windy to sit outside in the harbour which is exposed to the wind. We had dinner aboard, and watched TV and then bed.

Sunday 28 May 2023

Julia had a bad night, so we slept in until 0930. We read the papers and then both showered and had coffee. It was again very sunny but with that wind from the North East. We had a very lazy start to the day, and headed to the laundry where we did three loads over a period of a couple of hours. In the meantime, we had a drink at the bar overlooking the marina and chatted to a couple with a 43 foot Hallberg Rassey on their way back to Sweden after a year or so of cruising. We then finished the laundry, paid for a few more days as we were stuck in Roscoff with the strong winds forecast for at least until Wednesday and had a late lunch. Then we had a bit of a tidy up, and Julia did some painting, and I did some revised passage planning. We then met up with Gary and Sarah from Santosha who know Aly and Graham from Farringdon. They popped over to introduce themselves and invited us over for drinks at 1800. We went over and sat in their cockpit in the sunshine and the wind had abated a little. We retreated inside and chatted until 2100. We then came back to the boat and rustled up a tin of chilli con carni and some rice in the space of about 5 minutes. Watched some TV and then bed.

Monday 29 May 2023

What a bad night with the wind rattling the rigging! It was grey most of the day and the wind never abated. We had another lazy start, and then Gary and Sarah very kindly took us in their car to the bigger supermarket in St Pol up the road. We managed to stock up with a few things and were about to buy wine and beer when the lights went out as they were early closing as it as a bank holiday in France. Fortunately, Gary and Sarah knew of a wine and beer place which was still open and actually better than the supermarket and so we stocked up on beer and wine. We also got some more fizzy water for Julia at Carrefour in Roscoff on the way back. We then had lunch and had a quiet afternoon with Juilia painting and me at my computer. At 1800 we had drinks and went for dinner at the local restaurant at the marina, where we both had excellent fish and chips. The fish was eglefin (haddock). We then came back to the boat and watched a Midsomer Murders before bed.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Brighter this morning with slightly less wind, but still averaging 18-20 as read on the boat. Forecast is for similar or less tomorrow, so we still had plans to got to L’Aberach Wednesday, but as ever, it still depended on the weather forecast. We walked into town to get some bread and more stuff from Carrefour. Came back and had lunch, and then a lazy chilled afternoon. As seems to be the way, it was grey all day, and the sun came out late in the afternoon, which in our saloon was very warm. However, it was still windy. In the evening, Gary and Sarah came round for drinks, and I cooked us all a seafood paella, followed by nice French cheese.

Wednesday 31 May 2023

We were up early and left our berth in the hope of moving on, but we were first thwarted by having to wait for the ferry to come in and then we realised that the sea state wasn’t very good, and decided that we should leave it for a few more days. Whilst we didn’t like being stuck, the whole point of being retired is it shouldn’t matter. So we came back in, and went back to bed. We then had a very lazy day.

Thursday 01 June 2023

Another day stuck in Roscoff. The wind was up even more than yesterday, and as ever it was grey all day, with the sun only coming out at 1700. We were resigned to a lazy day, when we got a message from Gary and Sarah inviting us to join them walking into Roscoff. So we said yes, and walked the coastal path round, which we had not done before and was lovely. We then went into the main café Ty Pierre and had a nice lunch. Sarah and I having moules frites, Julia a nice fish salad, and Gary had frites. We had some beer and wine there, and then walked back. They invited us onto their boat and we had some more wine, and somehow the afternoon just disappeared. At 1900, Sarah suggested bread and cheese and so we carried on until about 2100! A nice time chatting about everything.

Friday 02 June 2023

Another lazy morning. Still windy again, as forecast but the next few days are looking better, and it was looking brighter. Gary and Sarah came round to see our moor and hook boathook, which they were impressed with, and we sat in the cockpit out of the wind for a while. Then they went back to their boat and we had lunch and later went for a walk. The wind continued all day despite it being sunny. It really does sound horrible in this marina as it is exposed to the North East. In the evening, I reheated the remainder of the seafood paella and cooked up some fresh cod pieces which we followed with strawberries. We watched a movie and bed.

Roscoff to L'Aber Iltud

Saturday 03 June 2023

We were up at 0545 and away at 0620. It was blowing 13-21 knots all morning from the North East. Leaving Roscoff was the worst as we were into the teeth of it for a mile and it funnels in there. Then it was nice and calm as we threaded through the passage between Ile de Batz and the mainland, and then hoisted sail as we cleared the island. It got very rolly and so I steadied with the motor and we had a spring tide under us. We achieved some 8 knots over the ground. We were more interested in getting there rather than sailing, as it was so rolly and quite grey and miserable. We managed to get around the corner but just shy of the Chanel du Four before the tide started to turn and called into a tiny little place called L’Aber Iltud (i l t u d) which we keep calling l’aber daba doo! It was a hidden secret that Gary and Sarah told us about and very useful. It was a tiny entrance and we had a lot of fun picking our way in. In total 45. 3 nautical miles. At last, the sun came out, although it was still blowing 11-16 knots and it was a bit exposed here. But it was not as noisy as Roscoff! I had my captain’s beer and we had lunch and then went for a walk into town. Paid our bill and then we finally chilled in the cockpit under the sprayhood out of the wind, but it felt like the first time we could sit out properly on the trip. I had a sleep to catch up, and then it was drinks o’clock and then Julia produced an amazing curry. We then sat and chilled in the sunshine in the saloon and then watched a movie and bed.

L’Aber Iltud to St. Evette

Sunday 04 June 2023

We were treated to a lovely sunny morning. The boat rafted outside left at 0615, and we slipped at 0710, taking the South going tide. We were straight into the Chanel du Four, with no wind, and flat calm, but getting faster and faster. Visibility was excellent, and we had a clear run into the Iroise Sea. A little more wind here but not enough to sail, so we motored on. As we came through the Raz very easily at HW Brest+4, we turned and got the wind on our side, and hoisted all sails, cut engine and had a lovely sunny sail. Welcome to South Brittany ! We dropped sails as we needed to go into the wind to get into St Evette, and the tide by now was foul. We rounded into St Evette, and I used our new Hook and Moor boathook for the first time, which was absolutely brilliant. One hook and the line was through and back and I tied off. So easy. We had a late brunch, and then sunbathed – yes sunbathed in 27 degrees outside on the back of the boat. Lovely afternoon. We both had naps. Julia cooked dinner which we ate in the saloon but were soon outside again to sit and watch the sun go down with a couple of glasses of wine. We then watched TV and bed

St Evette to Benodet

Monday 05 June 2023

Another early start, slipping the buoy at 0620, and being treated to a nice sunrise. Unfortunately, the wind was on the nose and it was wind over tide, so it created a short chop, not unlike the Solent, which made rounding the Penmarch headland south of St Evette quite a chore. During this chop we had a small hitchhiker as a small bird joined us and hopped around the boat clinging on as the spray came over the bow. As we came round the corner and into Benodet Bay, everything eased and the sun continued to shine. We got into the river and after some very tricky cross stream reversing, got onto the fuel pontoon tucked right in the corner, and topped up with diesel. I then moored along the jetty by that pontoon, but an English couple came by and warned us that the current swept round there and it would slap a lot on the side of the boat. So we re-moored on the outside of the visitors pontoon starboard side to. The inside being full. All quite an exercise! We were quite pinned to the pontoon which demonstrated the need to move, and it was tough getting off. The fenders did their job, but one wound so tight on the guard rail that it shredded the guard rail itself. We’re going to have to find a rigger! Fortunately, that bit is up to the stern and does nothing important, so I can replace it with a line for the time being. We then had lunch and after paying in the office, we walked along a lovely path to Carrefour. It was by now hot and sunny. The temperature gauge on the office wall showing 27 degrees. We walked back through the streets and admitted the path was better. Then we got the big camping chairs out on the stern and chilled with a beer. Then we went for a drink at the bar in the marina, and then back for dinner, which Julia prepared. Then we sat outside to watch more of the sun going down, and then watched some TV and bed.


Tuesday 06 June 2023

A lovely sunny day. Julia cleaned all the chrome and I prepared the electrics for the new pump and then stripped out the broken guard rail on the port side. Shortly after midday, Aly and Graham arrived by car, and we had lunch. Then I got Graham to drive me to a sailmaker in Benodet, who were able to replace the guard rail. We left it with them and they will have a new one tomorrow. Then back to the boat and we then went for a walk along the front, and had a drink on the way back. Then it was so warm, I put the bimini out for the first time. We all chilled and then I cooked confit with fried potatoes and mushrooms. We had a few more drinks and enjoyed the sunset, and all retired to bed.

Wednesday 07 June 2023

It was another lovely sunny day and hot. We got up and had coffee, and then Graham and I fitted the new pump that he kindly brought over from the UK for our electric toilet. And that fixed the problem. The old one worked after I serviced it, but was very noisy and clicky. Now it’s gone back to being fairly quiet. We then took the little ferry over to St Marine to see Gary and Sarah who had caught us up in Santosha, but they prefer the quieter side of the Odet river. We sat in their cockpit, and then had lunch in a creperie over there. We came back and while the girls went to Carrefour, Graham and I collected the new guard rail, and I fitted it. So all jobs done. We then sat in the cockpit, and Gary and Sarah arrived and we all went to dinner at the Le Transat restaurant on the front, and had a splendid meal. I had steak tartare, Julia and Graham had John Dory, Aly had tuna, and Gary and Sarah had gambas. We were sat outside looking right across the river. Then we said goodbye to Gary and Sarah and came back for final drinks outside, and then bed.

Benodet to Concarneau

Thursday 08 June 2023

Up and about at 0730 and moved all the stuff that we stowed in the engine bay on our bed, and as Aly and Graham packed up, put the storage containers and the fridge back into the focsle. Just after 0900, Santosha arrived and rafted outside, and Graham went aboard to crew and Sarah came ashore to go with Aly by car to La Foret, which was where they were all headed. Julia and I had decided we preferred to go to Concarneau, so we went our separate ways. We motored into the wind as Wyldwind cannot sail close and it was all on the nose – she needs about 50-60 degrees, which frankly isn’t worth it on passage. However, Santosha, which is a Hansa 385, sailed very close to the wind – I was guessing to 30 degrees and whilst we were held off by the rocks, we were on the same course and she kept us with us very well. However, once we rounded the rocks, we were able to genuinely motor into the wind and head for Concarneau. It was only 11 miles, so a couple of hours for us. We arrived at Concarneau, and the visitors section was full. I radioed in and they said that we would have to hold off on the outer pontoon whilst they worked something out, and that we couldn’t stay there overnight. Anyway, after about half an hour, the man in the rib came and told us we could go onto a 9m berth way down the D pontoon which we went into fairly easily. Getting out may be fun, but we got in. Julia then hosed and thoroughly cleaned the boat while I updated logs etc, and then we had brunch.

It then started raining – the first rain since leaving. We chilled for a while and went out when the rain eased and walked into the walled fort. Then it chucked it down, so we took refuge in a bar and had a beer and rose wine. Then back to the boat when the rain eased again, and Julia cooked a meal, and we watched TV and then went to bed.


Friday 09 June 2023

It was a rainy morning but sticky. I was making tea, and I went to change the water tanks over which involves lifting up the floorboards in the galley and saw that the bilge water was right up high, indicating that the automatic bilge pump switch had failed. I should have checked more regularly! It will have filled up due to the number of showers we have had on board. These switches are known to fail often as they live in a foul environment, so I carry a spare. It was black mucky water as the design of the boat is such that the showers drain into the engine bilge, so everything gets grubby. We put Bilgex down regularly but it does build up. I put the bilge pump onto manual and slowly emptied all the chambers. There are two that cascade and it had risen so high it had gone back under the engine too. Once emptied, we had tea decided to head out to the market as the rain had eased, and fix things later. We went to the lovely Concarneau market and bought loads of nice things, and then into the covered market, Les Halles, which has lots of fresh fish. We bought some eglefin (haddock) fillets, and then went back to the boat, just as it started to rain again. I then lifted up all the floorboards, got the bikes out so that I could gain full access and hopefully fix the problem. The first job was to clean all the black grime, which took ages, and then I was finally able to see what was wrong with the automatic bilge pump switch, and it turned out that a wire had come loose, so that was an easy repair. We can save the spare for another day. We then tidied up and Julia made a late brunch. We then had a lazy afternoon – Julia painting, and me reading and a little passage planning. It did start to brighten up a little, so much so that we were able to get the chairs out on the stern and sit out. I then cooked up the eglefin with green beans and some potatoes we got in the market. Today was a no drinking day, so no booze was consumed. We watched the sun go down and then watched some TV and bed.

Saturday 10 June 2023

It was bright but with cloud also today, and we had a nice lazy start. It brightened up more and more as the day went on. After coffee, we went into the fish market to buy some lotte (monkfish) and some cooking sauces. We also found a kitchen shop and bought a tin opener, as the existing one isn’t very good. We came back and put the fish in the fridge, and then walked back to the old town where we walked the walls of the enclosed city island, which was really interesting. We are moored right next to this medieval city, and it is a tourist trap, with coach loads coming throughout the day. We then had a drink in one of the bars and came back for lunch. I then had a snooze and Julia completed her painting by numbers. Then we went for a walk of just over two miles along the coast a bit and then back into town and out to the old harbour. Then back to the boat and had showers in the shower block and these were the most powerful of the trip so far. Then we changed, had drinks, and went back into the old town for a meal, at the Port aux Vins restaurant as recommended by Gary and Sarah. It was great. We both had entrecote and shared a bottle of Bordeaux – Cotes de Blaye. Back to the boat for some more wine and sitting out for the sunset, and then inside for TV and bed.

Sunday 11 June 2023

Another lovely day with sunshine. We had a lazy start, but then went into laundry mode, taking three bags to the local laverie and then we had a drink in the sunshine at a local bar while the wash loads took their time. Seems we need a fortnightly wash. Then back to the boat to hang it all out to dry, and then lunch. Then we popped into the old town to look for a watch for Julia, but none of the shops sold watches. We then sat out in the sun and chilled. At 1800, I served drinks and then cooked a lovely sausage we bought in the market with peas and fried potatoes, followed by strawberries and bananas and French cheese. Yes – we did it the English way !! Then we watched the sun go down, watched TV and bed. A nice quiet day.

Concarneau to Port Tudy - Ile de Groix

Monday 12 June 2023

It was another warm and sunny morning, and we extricated ourselves from our tight corner with inches to spare and motored out towards Port Tudy on the Ile de Groix leaving at 0755. There was absolutely no wind, so we motored and were soon in shorts and t-shirts as it warmed up. We arrived at Port Tudy at 1200, but had to wait while a big ferry came in. Then we went into the marina and were able to moor up only on the south side, which was lovely for the sun, but it had a very tiny pontoon, so much so that we have to get on and off at the shrouds! We had lunch and in the afternoon walked up to the main town, but everything was closed bar Carrefour where we bought a baguette – a very sleepy island. We came back and paid our mooring fees and enjoyed the lovely weather. We put up the bimini to give us some shade. In the evening, I cooked monkfish in a sauce with aubergines and mushrooms which we ate with the bread and it was very tasty. We retired to the cockpit to enjoy the sunset. No TV tonight, but straight to bed.

Ile de Groix

Tuesday 13 June 2023

I had been checking up on some friends we met down this way a few years ago via their blog, and saw they were in Port Louis opposite where we were in Ile de Groix, so I WhatsApp-d them out of the blue, and they said they would come over to Groix and see us. We were up and about on another sunny morning and went up to the main village to do a proper Carrefour shop. When we got back down the steep hill, our friends, Martin and Michele had arrived in their 40’ Bavaria, Filibuster. We had booked lunch on the quayside, and they joined us. It was a lovely location, but the service and food weren’t up to much. Julia ordered sardines and was delivered a tin of sardines on a plate – unopened!! Anyway, it mattered not as we had a lot to catch up on and we had a few drinks. In the afternoon, we all sunbathed, and they came over for drinks and dinner at 1800. We had a rotiserie chicken with salad and new potatoes. Michele brought over starters of melon and charcuterie, and we had cheese and port aftwerwards. It was another lovely sunset, so we all sat out in our cockpit until late.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

We had a lazy start and then along with Martin and Michele we rented electric bikes and set off for a complete tour of the island. There was a lot of off-roading which was bumpy and tricky but by and large it was a lovely cycle ride. We stopped for lunch at a designated picnic point where we ate our packed lunches and then cycled the last bit into Le Bourg the only main village on the island. We stopped at a bar and had drinks and then went to the Intermarche supermarket and then back to our boats. We then chilled and met again at 1800 after afternoon naps and book reading for a drink at a local bar overlooking the harbour. Then we went aboard Filibuster for our evening meal. Michele had cooked salmon, potatoes and ratatouille and we provided a fruit dessert. We then had cheese – again the English way and drank more red wine. It was windy in their cockpit but we all covered up and headed home not too late.

Port Tudy to Le Palais, Belle Ile

Thursday 15 June 2023

It was another hot and sunny morning, and we hung around until 1115, and then motored out towards Belle Ile. The web site showed we had to arrive at 1500 to get into the inner harbour(s) and so we had to go slowly for a change. We had enough wind for the genoa and a little engine to keep us on time. We arrived bang on time to be greeted by the capitainerie rib who told it was more like 1530 and we should wait on a buoy near the entrance. So we did this, using the super boat hook again with great success and some great steering from Julia. We later learned that what is published on the web site doesn’t match the schedule they use in the office! Anyway, we were well positioned and so were second in, even though there were a few boats waiting on buoys. As we went in they asked us our preference and we said inner harbour with a pontoon please, which they said was an extra 6 euros a night but we would be more comfortable, so we said yes, and went first through a lifting footbridge and then a lifting road bridge into the Bassin de la Saline which is mainly locals but they had a few empty pontoons, and it was very quiet there which was lovely after the noise and bustle of Port Tudy. Most boats raft in the middle basin – the Bassin a Flot, so we were lucky. And in the height of summer there’s mainly fore and aft mooring in the outer harbour. It was a very tight mooring but we managed and the pontoon wasn’t too short this time. We settled in and went for a walk to pay our dues and then some shopping and sat at a bar on the front and watched the ferry come in and offload and load, which was a sight to see. Then back to the boat where Julia made a tomato and red onion salad and I cooked up some mackerel with new potatoes. We then watched some TV and went to bed.

Belle Ile

Friday 16 June 2023

It was cloudy this morning. We had coffee and did some shopping which we took back to the boat. We then went back into town and found the little market where we bought some more veg. Then we went to the bar we sat in yesterday, and had a drink and watched the ferry come in. Then we went back to the boat for lunch, and it did keep trying to brighten up. After lunch we went to walk up to the citadel, but sadly it’s closed for remedial work and not open to the public which was a disappointment. We came back down and watched the fun of the boats going out, and then went over to a bar in the main bay – Chez Lucienne - and had a drink watching the boats coming in. It really is a bustling little place here. Then back to the boat for a chill time. Then showers and off out for dinner at Le Poisson Rouge where we sat outside watching the world go by. It was a bit cloudy but the sun did keep breaking through. We shared oysters to start and Julia had tuna and I had a beef kebab – very nice. I also had apple crumble. The meal was washed down with a bottle of Cotes du Rhone. We came back to the boat and sat out to admire the peace and serenity after the hustle and bustle of the town centre.

Saturday 17 June 2023

We were up shortly after 0800 and read the papers and had coffee. Shortly after 1000, we were at the bike rental place and rented 2 electric bikes and cycled very quickly to Sauzon which is a lovely harbour. We quickly researched a place for lunch with there being some dispute. We went with my choice which perhaps wasn’t the best. Anyway, we walked around all the sights of the place and had a drink in a bar before heading for lunch. We chose brandade de morue which we could see was cod, but couldn’t get a translation of brandade. Unfortunately it turned out to be an emulsion of salted cod, olive oil and potatoes – mashed, which neither of us is fond of, so it wasn’t a great success. We did eventually check with google and it told us what it was, so I will stop using my reverso translator and use google in future !!! Anyway, we had a nice bottle of Cote de Provence rose, which eased us through. We then cycled off to Bangor via some cycle tracks, and had to back out of one where both our bikes gave up on a hill. In Bangor we had a drink. By now it was cloudy having been quite sunny all morning, and we even felt a few drops of rain. Then we cycled back into Le Palais, where we could hear reggae music, so we followed it and found some kids in a park area with very big speakers - it was another walled area like the citadel so was really interesting. It looked like a bring you own beer kind of place, so we didn’t stop, but came back to the boat and put on our reggae playlist!! In all we cycled over 24 miles. The sun gave us a few more appearances, and we chilled. Then Julia made a vegetable bake in the oven, and I carved up some gammon and cooked up some rosti for dinner. We then sat outside for a while and then watched TV and bed.

Sunday 18 June 2023

It was grey and raining quite hard in the morning, so we had a lazy start to the day with showers and coffee. It cleared up about 1130, and we walked into town, bought some milk and went for a long lunch at a nice restaurant called Odysee, listening to Opera! We sat inside and I had goats cheese on toast and Julia had a prawn soup as starters, and then I had sea bream with rice and Julia had a veal dish with pasta. We then walked back and enjoyed a quiet afternoon. The sun came out about 1745, so we sat on the back of the boat for a while, and then had a Caesar salad and watched some TV. A quiet day.

Monday 19 June 2023

We both slept well. It was sunny at first but then went a bit grey. We had coffee and popped into the town for some tomatoes and for Julia to look at the few shops that were open – it being a Monday in France. We then came back and I cleaned the teak cockpit rails and Julia cleaned the rest of the boat. We then read for a while and had lunch – just rolls today. Then after a nap and Julia doing some jigsaw, we went for a walk around the outer walls which was fascinating, and ended up at the marina office by the lock where they have a bench seat outside. Here we were treated to a great afternoon’s entertainment. Two big cargo ships manoeuvring – one out and one into the tiny harbour and then a huge regatta’s worth of boats coming in and filling up the basin next to us. It was the Duo Cat Amania race – worth watching out for next year to avoid! We then went into town to get a pizza for dinner at L’Artimon. Julia had ham, egg, peppers and mushrooms, and I had salmon, prawns and capers. Then we walked back high up on the hill to get a clear view of the mass of boats below. We then watched some TV and went to bed.

Belle Ile to Pornichet

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Up at 0515 after a difficult night. The bridge went up just before 0600, so we quickly got going and headed up to where we had to carefully thread through the mass of boats. We only had a few to go, but alongside the big ship, one boat had it’s arse sticking out, and although I thought I could get through, I couldn’t and so we stopped and had to wake them up which was all jolly amusing and of course as we had nudged the raft which was six deep, they all appeared and there was a lot of "les anglais" and we’re going at seven why can’t you wait. At first he refused to move, but I persuaded him to motor back slightly to allow me out, and we then only had to clear another three boats which was also very tight and we scraped along the big green cargo ship. ( look closely at the pics below) We feel they should have left a channel but there you are. Anyway we got away about 0620 and with only 8-10 knots of wind had a pleasant motor sail with genoa to Pornichet, where I topped up with diesel and then we were led into a resident’s berth – M8 starboard side to. Which was very quiet. It took a while to get sorted, and then we both had showers and lunch. We then walked into town and had a look around and a drink in a bar, and then back to the boat to chill. The weather was nice but not totally sunny with a keen breeze, so we sat under the sprayhood. Julia then cooked up some gesiers (livers) and a lovely salad for dinner. We watched some TV and bed.

Pornichet - a perfect day

Wednesday 21 June 2023

We both slept well and stayed asleep until 0930. We had coffee and went into town for the market and the fish market in the halls. It was the biggest and largest market we have seen so far. We bought loads of fish and veg and a watch for Julia. Then we had a drink in our favourite bar – L’Express Café and they told us about some music later. We then went back and had lunch – Julia produced a nice tomato and onion salad and I pan-fried some mackerel in butter – lovely. Then we went for a long walk along the beach which was fascinating looking at the lovely old architecture blighted by some ugly modern blocks in between and then back into town where we again sat at our little bar and listened to some nice saxophone music. Then we went back to the boat and got changed for dinner and went to the restaurant in the marina that does food over a wood fire, as recommended by Gary and Sarah. Another great recommendation! There was a band playing blues in the marina too, at another bar, but really close, which gave the evening a special atmosphere and we shared a cote du beouf – side of beef – for two, which was superbly cooked and was just delightful. We also ordered a bottle of our favourite Cote du Rhone – Guigal, which was a nice touch. There was enough for 4, so we also got a doggie back – yes – they use the same term ! We also had a colonel sorbet each which was with vodka, and was lovely. We then headed back to the boat after what was a perfect day. We had a little more wine and some TV before bed.

Pornichet to L'Herbaudiere

Thursday 22 June 2023

Another sunny morning, with some breeze of around 13-16 knots NE. So we motored out of Pornichet, cleared the Passage des Troves, turned and hoisted sails on a nice three quarter reach. Just as soon as I had got the mainsail out and shaped it, the wind died completely and we were staring at flappy things. And that’s the way it stayed as it got warmer, so we took all the sails in and motored for 2. 5 hours, and came into L’Herbaudiere, where we were met by the Capitainerie boat and as there were no spare berths we had to go alongside on the visitors pontoon. We had lunch and then went into town for a quick look around and paid up. When we came back a Sweden Yachts 370 was behind us called Magnum and we had a nice chat with them. Then we popped around to see Gary and Sarah in Santosha who had decided to stay another day to see us, and I had offered to cook again. We then came back and chilled and got rafted by two boats as kind of expected. I then prepared the seafood, and Julia a nice salad. Gary and Sarah arrived and we had drinks, and then I cooked up a seafood fest – huge gambas, calamari, scallops, and some mackerel. They had brought cheese and dessert, so it was a lovely evening. We played them some music videos and we had a great time.


Friday 23 June 2023

We had arranged with the Capitainerie that we would take Santosha’s berth as they were heading off. I had to rouse the two boats outside and get them moved, and then we hovered to swoop into the vacant berth as they left, which all went smoothly, so we then had a pontoon and no more rafting. We then did some laundry, and while that was washing, we went to the local supermarket and got a few things and then settled into a nice bar on the waterfront for drinks and took in our surroundings. We are now in the Vendee and here in L’Herbaudiere there is an obvious difference, as the buildings have gone from grey slate rooves to orange terracotta – Mediterranean style. The place here is a very busy working fishing port and they take no prisoners – charging in and out creating a wash, and the boat is always gently moving. However, it does have a lovely charm. We collected the laundry and hung it all out, and had a nice lunch in the cockpit, and then an afternoon of chilling. At 1800, I served drinks after we got changed for dinner, and we had booked a nice restaurant called the Auberge de Cesar just one street up from the front, which turned out to be fantastic. (Editor’s added note: This also counts as a Gary and Sarah recommendation as Gary said they went there a few years ago and it was OK ) It was nearly all locals and completely full. Always a good sign. Julia had a camembert starter in pastry and I had a tartare of scallops and crab, although there was very little crab. I was slightly disappointed but as Julia had so much, she shared some of her starter with me. We both then had grilled rack of lamb, with a gorgonzola sauce, which was very nice indeed – exactly the right shade of pink. We washed all this down with a bottle of Buzet, which we like but don’t often see out. We both had colonel sorbets which were lovely to finish. Then we came back to the boat and watched some Glastonbury before bed.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Another sunny day but this was a hot one. We started the day with tea and coffee and then went to hire electric bikes in town. We then set off along the coast road and saw some fantastic beaches. We then cycled through camp site land with camping and chalets everywhere, and then emerged into salt farms as we came into the centre of the island. We were now quite hot and so stopped at a bar for a beer and then decided to do more of the island and went South hitting the coast and then stopping for lunch on a beautiful beach. Just sandwiches and a sausage we bought in the market. We then cycled further along the South West coast and went through a suburbia of terracotta bungalows and properties all on top of each other. The styles reminded me of my LA days but of course those bungalows in LA were laid out neatly, whereas these were all on top of each other. The path then opened out following the cycle trail into the actual salt farms and we rode along tracks right through them. We then hit the road back to L’Herbaudiere and finally got back into town and had a welcome drink at our little bar on the front. We had cycled 34 kilometres – some 21 miles today. Then back to the boat for some sunbathing and a snooze. It was very hot – early thirties today. Then we took the bikes back and then we went back to the boat for some drinks before dinner. We had bought a ready-made lasagne at the market in Pornichet, and Julia cooked that with a nice salad and it was lovely. We then watched the sun go down and watched some more Glastonbury on the TV.

Sunday 25 June 2023

We were up and about for chores this morning. Another bright, sunny and hot day. We first put two loads of washing on then after showering, a third which included towels. Then we went to the supermarket and also bought a rotisserie chicken from the shop that specialises in them. Then back to get the washing out of the machines and then hanging it all out over the front of the boat. Finally after all that, we treated ourselves to a lovely lunch at Le Pilier on the front. I had salade de canard and Julia a goats cheese salad, with a nice bottle of rose. We then came back and chilled for the rest of the day. In the evening, Julia made a masaman curry and we watched Glastonbury. We also spoke with our friends Paul and Gillian over facetime, and then rounded the evening off by watching Elton until midnight.

L'Herbaudiere to Ile d'Yeu

Monday 26 June 2023

We were up at 0700. It had been a windy night and the wind was still up around 13-17 knots. We slipped at 0750, and motored out, and already the wind was dying, so we motored with the genoa out as we had the wind on the beam as we rounded the top of the island. However as we rounded and turned south / south south east towards Ile d’Yeu, the wind died more and went aft, so we had to abandon the sails and motored on, gradually removing layers as the day warmed up. We got into Port Joinville just before 1100 and having radioed ahead and speaking in French, we were allocated a berth well into the marina, away from the main visitors area which was nice. Mooring was OK, although with some added pressure as Gary was video-ing from Santosha opposite and the man on the boat next to us was stood on guard to make sure my stern didn’t touch his boat. It all went smoothly, much to Gary’s disappointment! We settled in and went round to Santosha for tea, coffee and beer. We then came back for lunch and after a short nap, went for a wander into town. We then came back and changed and went over to Santosha for drinks where we also met Rupert and Rosie, friends of Gary and Sarah who come from Guernsey and have a 47’ Southerly. We enjoyed drinks in the cockpit, and then we all trooped off into town to a little place that served wine and charcuterie, which was nice. It wasn’t very filling though, so we moved on to a creperie and had some crepes and all staggered back. A nice evening out and good to meet Rupert and Rosie.

Ile d'Yeu

Tuesday 27 June 2023

We slept in this morning, both being a little jaded from the night before. The weather was grey with sunny intervals all day, with a breeze in the marina, but not once ashore. We had coffee and did a supermarket shop, which as it involved water and bottles we brought straight back to the boat. We then had lunch and chilled for a time, before going back into town to mooch around the shops. We stopped at a bar for a beer and then back to the boat again. We had been invited round to Santosha for a seafood lasagne, and arrived at 1830 for drinks and Sarah served us a lovely meal. It was a nice evening. We didn’t stay late as we knew they were away in the morning, and we came back and did some Glastonbury catchup before bed.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

It was warm and sunny today, although it went hazy later in the afternoon. We had a lazy morning, and waved goodbye to Santosha as they headed off. We then set up our electric Brompton bikes and cycled the east of the island. This was yet another island with its own different landscapes. It had beaches but not perhaps as pretty as Noirmoutier but did have lovely trees. The houses also appeared a bit smaller as we got away from Port Joinville. We thought we would have lunch out in the centre of the island, but discovered it was a tiny hamlet with only one small bar / restaurant that was already full, so we decided to go back into Port Joinville. As we just had time, we went to the Super-U supermarket and got some lemon sole, and a few other bits before it closed. We then scoured the front and selected a creperie that did moules frites, and they also served Leffe Blonde, which has been hard to come by so far on the trip. The moules were lovely, and then we came back to the boat for some sunbathing and a snooze. I topped up the water and we have been having problems with our hozelock flexible hose, and it pretty much packed up - just not passing water through, so as it was hazy, we went back into town and into Mr Bricolage – which is basically B&Q French style, and they had Hozelock stuff (for which we have all the fittings) and so we bought a new hose. We then went into Casino supermarket for a few more things and then another beer on the front watching the world go by. We then came back to the boat and Julia and I had some more of the rotisserie chicken with new potatoes and some vegetables. We then watched the movie Extraction before bed.

Thursday 29 June 2023

It was a grey day. Neither of us slept well for some reason, which we couldn’t fathom. I had decided that I needed a haircut, and there was a place in town that did mixed, so I went out on the bike at 1000 and booked in with them for 1730. When I got back we went shopping to Casino, and then we had lunch. We had planned to go cycling, but it was very grey and miserable, so we canned the idea. Instead, I read and Julia painted. I then cooked lemon sole with new potatoes and green beans with a beurre blanc sauce, which was very nice, although lemon sole is fiddly. Tonight was a non drinking night so we were very good. We then watched 2 episodes of the new series of the Witcher on Netflix and then bed.

Ile d'Yeu to Sables D'Olonne

Friday 30 June 2023

We both were up and about at 0645 and away at 0720. It had blown all night long but was dying as the day dawned. It was a little cold, but there was no wind as we left. However, the sea wasn’t too rolly and it was a nice quick trip down to Sables D’Olonne under engine, with it gradually warming up and brightening up. I was in t-shirt and shorts by the time we got there, and we had decided to go into the first marina which is noisier and busier to see how we liked it - Port Quai Garnier. We were directed to A pontoon and it was quite empty, so mooring was the easiest we have had so far. There were lots of noisy fishing boats across the way, and the water was scummy, but it seemed to have a nice atmosphere. We had lunch and went ashore. It had gone grey and was drizzling by now. We went up and down the restaurants on the front, and selected one for dinner Saturday night, and also had a look around the many shops, but only briefly, as we planned to mooch them Saturday. We got back as the rain fell and it rained quite a bit. We had a quiet afternoon, and then Julia made a lovely jambalaya and we watched more of the Witcher.

Sables D'Olonne

Saturday 01 July 2023

It was grey and drizzling to begin with but the rain eased. We had a lazy start, and then we went shopping. I bought three t-shirts. It really is a buzzy shopping centre. The whole place was also alive as on Sunday this place hosts the Ironman competition where over 2000 people swim for 1. 2 miles, cycle for 56 miles and then run a half marathon of 13. 1 miles, and it’s all centred here. Amazing atmosphere. After shopping we sat outside at the Café L’Ocean and watched the buzz. Then we went back to the boat for lunch. After lunch we took the ferry over to La Chaume, and went up the Arundel Tower, saw the impressive vendee channel where all the vendee boats come back into, and then walked all the way around Port Olona marina, which is huge. On the far side was all the preparation for the Ironman, with folks dropping off their bikes ready for tomorrow. We then went back to the Ocean café and had another drink, and then via Carrefour back to the boat. In all we walked about three miles. It’s been lovely to be somewhere busy after the quietness of the islands, and the shopping was impressive, as is the number of restaurants and bars. We got ready and went for dinner at the Le 16 restaurant on the front. We had a fixed price menu at 27 euros. Julia had a goats cheese and gesiers salad starter and I had 3 oysters, 3 crevettes, 3 langoustines, and 3 bulots. I then had half a duck and Julia had tuna. It was lovely. I then had cheese and Julia had a coffee with three little extra desserts. When we were on our last course, a new couple sat next to us and we were pondering on what language they were speaking, and they told us it was Arabic. We then got chatting to them - Khaled Kasbah, who was about to compete in the Ironman the next day, and his wife Hiba Baytamouni. Khaled had asked for pasta, as they were offering a fixed price pasta menu, and with so many competitors, they had sold out. He had to have steak! We enjoyed chatting to them and we exchanged details. We then came back to the boat, and watched the last Witcher until 27 July, had a small brandy and went to bed.

Sunday 02 July 2023

We had a very lazy morning. It was sunny at first but went cloudy in the afternoon. We saw the swimmers in the Ironman competition from the pontoon, and then walked around to the beach and along the busy bustling front. We tried our usual Ocean Café, but weren’t allowed drinks outside – only eating, so we went inland and sat outside at La Fontaine, a bar next to the fountain, and they had Ciney beer, which was nice. Then back to the boat for lunch, and then following the Ironman tracker app we were watching our new acquaintance, Khaled as he approached the end of his cycle ride, and went up onto the jetty next to us as that’s where the first part of the half marathon was, and we saw him, cheered him on, and got some pictures, which we sent through to his wife on WhatsApp. We then came back for drinks and spoke with Malcolm on the phone and then also with James and Dani. I then cooked sea bream fillets, with sauteed potatoes, and Julia made a salad. After dinner, we watched some TV and Khaled and Hiba came round to see the boat and for us to say our goodbyes. We then went to bed and read for a while.

Les Sables D'Olonne to Île de Ré

Monday 03 July 2023

It rained overnight but was clearing up as we got up and ready. We left at 1015, and went into Port Olona and got some fuel which took us a while and we left at 1045 out into zero wind, and sunshine. We motored to Île de Ré and waited outside whilst all the boats came out, and then we went in and were ushered over to V1 where I was 7 years ago the last time I was here. We reversed in so that we are stern to alongside, but there is also a finger running behind us, so that we can get off the side or the back. It was wonderful to be back in Île de Ré, and the weather was a mixture of hot sunshine and cloud. We walked into the centre and had a drink at the Lever du Soleil bar and sat in lovely warm sunshine. We then returned to the boat and had drinks out on the chairs on the stern and then I cooked us some cod fillet with new potatoes and Julia made a salad. It was very tasty. We then sat out for a bit more, and then tried unsuccessfully to watch Wimbledon. My French sim card in dongle number 2 can’t get any signal here, and we had to fall back onto my UK EE dongle number 1 which functioned but not enough to stream BBC. However, we found that Netflix streamed fine, so we started a new Netflix series called Manifest before bed.

Île de Ré July 2023

Tuesday 04 July 2023

After coffee and showers, we went out to research restaurants planning to eat out on Wednesday evening. We were halfway around the tour, when it rained really hard very suddenly so we dived into the Lever du Soleil bar, and had a drink there – unplanned but nice. We then completed the tour noting down the ones we liked and didn’t so that we can work our way through them over the coming weeks. We selected one, and went in to book, and they said they were sorry but were closing for a week to go on holiday! We were restauranted out by now, so decided to leave it until Wednesday, and we could always get to them when they got back. We came back and invited the Santosha crowd round. They had now added another Sarah – a friend of Sarah’s to the crew. Gary came around first, and we sat out in the cockpit, even though it was windy. Then the two girls arrived. It then rained again, and we all had to move downstairs into the saloon. We had a nice time, and even did some dancing on our ‘ballroom’ floor. They departed and I cooked us up two more sea bream fillets with rosti and sweet corn. Lovely. We then watched Today at Wimbledon from Monday as we downloaded it slowly during the day as the internet here is not very good.

Wednesday 05 July 2023

In the morning, I had to make a few phone calls which involved long waits on hold in the usual queues, so that took quite a lot of time. Julia did boat jobs, and I also topped up the water and cleaned off some scuff marks on the stern that Julia couldn’t reach. We had lunch and chilled. Later we went to Carrefour to stock up on beer and wine, and then we had G&Ts outside, before Julia cooked up some chicken cordon bleu with ratatouille. We watched Wimbledon and then the Santosha crowd arrived after eating out. It was Sarah 2’s birthday, and we had drinks and I got a playlist going, which led to some more dancing in the saloon. A lovely time.

Thursday 06 July 2023

Thursday was a really hot and sunny day. We were up early to grab the washing machine, and whilst we were doing the laundry, the harbour staff cleared everyone out of the marina apart from us and Santosha, as later in the day a big regatta was coming in with 30-40 boats. We were amazed to see the marina so empty and could hang all our washing out easily as we weren’t rafted. We bought brochettes in the market and I bought some fish and crevettes to make Gary a seafood brochette. We had lunch and a chill afternoon mainly sunbathing. We had everything prepared and we were showered ready for the entertainment of seeing all the boats arrive around 1715, and in a short while we were buried in a raft six deep and it was virtually wall to wall boats. The Santosha crew arrived at 1800, and we had drinks whilst the baked potatoes were cooking in the oven. At 1900 I fired up our brand new Magma BBQ for the first time and cooked the brochettes while Julia made a salad, and we came down below to eat. Santosha had brought cheese and bread for our next course, and we then dissolved into my music playlists, which in turn led to some more dancing again in the saloon. A great time was had by all. It was very lively with all the boats doing their own things.

Friday 07 July 2023

It was another hot and sunny day, and around 0900, the fleet started to move off. We had coffee and a couple of boats arrived, so we were quickly rafted and one parked ahead. It got hotter as the day wore on and we recorded 34 degrees in the afternoon. We went for a mooch around the shops, and had a drink in the shade at the Lever du Soleil bar, and then came back for lunch. A chicken caesar salad. We then got on our Bromptons and cycled out to the Intermarche which we reached quickly by bike, but would be too far to walk, and bought a few things. We then came back and sunbathed, and watched the arrival of the next batch of boats at 1800 and the usual chaos as they all rafted. We then went for dinner sat outside at Le Belem. I had pulled confit of duck and Julia had a fish dish which had a pastry top. We had some Bordeaux and both had colonel sorbets (with vodka). We then came back to the boat and put the fans on as it was hot and sticky, but there was a risk of thunderstorms, so we couldn’t leave the hatches and side windows open! As it turned out, it didn’t rain, but the fans worked well.

Saturday 08 July 2023

It was cloudy but still warm and sticky. We had a lazy start, and then after coffee set off on our bikes again. Since they don’t like all the cobbles in the main town (my battery connection keeps disconnecting) we figured out a route that was all proper roads which was a bit longer but was no big deal on the electric bikes. We then had to hunt down the Leclerc supermarket, which we could see but it took us a while to work out how to actually get there! We then also went into Intermarche and then came back to the boat with heavily loaded bags. We had lunch and as it was now very hot again, had a chilled afternoon. We showered and organised drinks and sat back to watch the next influx of boats. Then I fired up the BBQ and cooked some filet mignon brochettes we bought at Intermarche, while Julia baked potatoes and made a veggie bake. We ate outside and it was lovely. We then had cheese and watched Today at Wimbledon, followed by bed.

Sunday 09 July 2023

We were up at 0800 and read the papers in the saloon, as we knew Gary and Sarah were coming round to bid us farewell before they headed out to La Rochelle, which they did about 0900. We then had coffee and did computer stuff, before heading out on our bikes again. This time we had a long ride of nearly 9 miles along cycle tracks and the stunning North Western coastline to Ars en Re, where we bagged a table outside at the Café du Commerce. The café was fascinating inside. We both had canard and goats cheese salads. We then had a cycle around and saw the lovely narrow streets in the town and saw that there was a daily market that was sadly packing up, but we will visit again. We then cycled back and had a siesta. Then chill time, drinks time, and Julia cooked another jambalaya of chicken and prawns, which was lovely and we watched Today at Wimbledon before bed.

Monday 10 July 2023

We were up at 0800 and read the papers. The gates were due to open at 0900, so we had showers and put a wash load on, before being around to supervise the departure of all the boats around us. Julia then rushed out while it was clear to clean the boat removing a few days worth of rafting folk walking over us. Also the cockpit was in need of a clean. Just in time as we were quickly rafted on. The weather has been in the same pattern for a few days now – cloudy first thing and then brightening up to blue skies and sunshine and around 29 degrees. It has been just lovely, but it does get hot in the afternoon. We did a quick supermarket shop at Carrefour, and then went shopping again. Julia bought a lovely dress and I for the first time in my life bought some proper deck shoes – Sebago. We had a drink at the Lever du Soleil and sat in the sun, which was a mistake as it was getting hot. We chilled in the afternoon sat out in the shade of our bimini. I served drinks and Julia served gesiers (chicken livers) and salad. We then watched more Wimbledon and a detective programme – We Hunt Together - downloaded on iPlayer.

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Lots of flashing lights in the small hours, which turned out to be a big fire at one of the restaurants on the front next to the indoor market. There were lots of fire engines and police by the time we were up and about. We later checked on the market and it looked ok, but was closed today. We will see if it can open, as it would be a shame to lose such an asset but it is right next door. The fire engines were there all day and were still hosing off the roof late into the afternoon. After coffee, I set about replacing the float switch as despite the earlier repair on the trip, it has now failed completely, and I managed to buy one with a detachable base, which will make fitting easier, as you have to lie on your stomach next to the engine and reach right down into the base of the bilge. So the first job was to sponge out the bilge and then take out the old one, and then I spent ages trying different stainless steel screws and washers to get just the right amount of bite. Time consuming and sweaty as it was warming up quickly. I got the base on after a while and then wired the new float switch in and it all worked. I then set about emptying the focsle as we have our first guests coming tomorrow. I moved a lot of stuff into and around the engine bay as there’s a lot of space where the Bromptons usually live, since they are now out on deck for the duration. I then moved the second fridge to the saloon, and all the storage boxes with our clothes there too. To make more space, the dinghy went out on deck too, so there was finally a load of space for guest bags etc.

We then had lunch and went for a cycle ride to La Flotte which was a nice short ride. We stopped at La Cible beach on the way and checked out the restaurant there, as recommended by the Mail on Sunday travel writer, and we plan to go there for lunch one day. (One of Julia’s friends saw an article on Ile de Re and sent us pictures of the article) La Flotte was quite small with cute little lanes and a bustling harbour, with lots of tourist shops, and like St Martin, lots of women’s clothes shops. Julia saw a lovely top which she bought, and we cycled back to the boat. I then had a snooze, and we both showered. Today was a non-drinking day, so we had apple juice in the cockpit, but the weather was getting cloudier and cooler so we came in, and I tidied up as rain was forecast overnight. Julia re-heated the remainder of the jambalaya she made the other day. We then read for a bit, watched Wimbledon and even managed to stream Today at Wimbledon live.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

It rained overnight and was grey again this morning. After tea and coffee, we were off on our bikes to Intermarche to do a big shop in advance of our guests arriving in the afternoon. We came back heavily laden! Then we had lunch and tidied the boat a bit, and Patrick and Blandine, our French friends from Dinan arrived shortly after 1500. We had tea in the cockpit and Blandine went for a whizz round the shops. At 1800, we opened the champagne and then Julia prepared baked potatoes and baked vegetables, and I cooked brochettes on the BBQ. Chicken this time. We served this down below and followed it up with cheese. We were all too full up for dessert. We went for a walk around St Martin watching a lovely sunset. Patrick and Blandine retired to bed, and Julia and I watched Today at Wimbledon quietly.

Thursday 13 July 2023

We were up about 0830, and I made tea. Our guests went to the showers and Blandine had some breakfast. It was a sunny morning. Patrick and Blandine went shopping and bought some bathing shorts for Patrick at Lacoste in the sales, so I went there with Julia and bought two pairs at a good price. We then drove to Ars en Re where we reserved a table at the Café du Commerce and then went to the market. We had a lovely three course fixed price lunch for Blandine Patrick and me, and Julia had a burger. I had oysters, entrecote and profiteroles. We then drove back and Patrick had a snooze whilst I went with the girls to Intermarche and we bought seafood for dinner, and Julia and I stocked up on beer and wine as we had a car at our disposal. We then chilled and had drinks, and then shared our seafood, followed by strawberries and nectarines. We then watched Wimbledon and all retired.

Friday 14 July 2023 Bastille Day

It was another sunny day, but windy. We had a lazy morning, and then took the car to Loix. We had a look at the tiny port, and then after a while found a place to park. The reason it took a while was because it was Bastille day in France – a public holiday – and so the centre of the village was closed and pedestrian only, and so parking was limited. Patrick booked a table at a lovely outdoor restaurant in the centre, and we had a look around the market before eating lunch. We all had salads – Patrick and I had Caesar salads, Blandine a fruit one, and Julia had a poke bowl with tuna. We then drove back and as the gates hadn’t been open long, and we were already rafted by a new neighbour, but there was plenty of entertainment as many boats came in and the wind added a new dimension! Siestas were taken and we chilled in the cockpit. Julia went into town and researched t-shirts for me and an outfit for her. When she came back, I went back with her and I bought the two t-shirts she had suggested and I liked the outfit she had chosen, so we bought that too. It continued to be warm but a bit windy. Champagne was taken at 1800 as it was the last night for Patrick and Blandine, and we then went to La Baleine Bleu restaurant that Patrick had previously booked and sat at a lovely table outside on the terrace overlooking the harbour. The wind eased and so it was comfortable. Oysters and crevettes for starters, and then Patrick, Julia and I had Rossini steaks and Blandine had fish – merlu. Julia and I had cheese and they had desserts. We then came back to the boat and after a while at 1100, the Bastille day fireworks commenced and we had a grandstand view from the boat as they were over the harbour. It was very crowded all around the marina.

Saturday 15 July 2023

It rained a bit overnight and was very grey and still windy. We all slept in and I made it to the toilets and back just before it absolutely chucked it down – quite a mini downpour. I made tea and Patrick and Blandine packed up, and left around 1100, by which time the rain had stopped and the sun was peeping through. However it was still a bit mixy and quite windy. We tidied up a bit and reclaimed some of the saloon back, did some food and event planning and then had lunch. We watched the ladies final at Wimbledon which was a shame for Jabeur and went for a walk in the afternoon and it was sunny but still quite windy. We had a drink at the Lever and then came back for G&Ts and Julia prepared chicken livers and salad. We then watched some TV and bed.

Sunday 16 July 2023

It was grey, windy and some showers first thing, but the rain cleared before we got up. We had a lazy start, but after coffee cycled to Intermarche. We got caught in a shower and sheltered under a tree on the way. We stocked up for meals until Paul and Gillian arrive on Friday, and came back for lunch. The weather was by now lovely with the sun out and the wind moderated. We had a chill afternoon in the sunshine and enjoyed the men’s Wimbledon final where Alacaraz won in 5 sets. We then sat out again and Julia prepared baked potatoes and a veg bake, and I fried up some cod fillet which was all lovely. We spoke with my mum, and James and Dani on the phone and did a facetime with Paul and Gillian. We then watched some TV and bed.

Île de Ré July 2023

Monday 17 July 2023

I had some phone calls to make with the usual wait times etc, and then set about seeing if I could fix Julia’s bike which lost one of its gears yesterday when we cycled to Intermarche. It has a Sturmey Archer in-hub thing which are very complicated. I looked at the Brompton videos and adjusted as per, but to no avail. I then cycled it to Decathlon (next to Intermarche) where they have a cycle workshop. The guy there did all the things I tried and could only suggest another bike shop on the other side of the island. I brought the bike back and looked more on the internet, and found another Brompton video that showed a bit more detail and a couple of common problems, one of which was that the chain that goes into the hub can get loose. So I disconnected the cable and indeed that chain was loose, so I tightened it up and then reconnected the cable, and Presto, it seemed to work. I took it for a test ride and confirmed it now had all gears. So I am now officially Bicycle Repair Man! I had a beer after that as it had been hot and sunny all morning. We then had lunch, and watched the next round of boats coming in and the changing of the guard. We then went for a walk around town and booked a restaurant (Serghi) for Thursday evening, and came back, got changed and went for drinks on Santosha where we were joined by the crew of Senior Moments – a 47 foot Moody – Ian and Norma. We had drinks and then we came back to Wyldwind and had seafood. Oysters followed by scallops and prawns sauteed in garlic butter, and we then had fruit – strawberries and nectarines. We then watched TV and went to bed.

Tuesday 18 July 2023

A grey start and a mainly cloudy day with some sunny intervals and quite a bit of wind. We hosted Santosha for coffee and then I spent more time on a phone call. After that we set off on our bikes to explore Sainte Marie de Re which was about 6 miles of cycling there. We stopped off in the village square and had a drink in a bar. Julia was convinced that her bike, which is a newer model than mine, as mine was a demonstrator, was lower geared, so we swapped bikes and that change is now permanent. We cycled back via La Flotte and went on into Intermarche where we bought a few things, and then laden with some bottles, we cycled back to the boat. We then had lunch and shortly afterwards, boats were on the move. Our raft emptied and it was a while before we got rafted but not without some great entertainment. We then had a snooze, changed and went aboard Santosha for drinks followed by Gary’s christening of their new hot plate upon which he cooked some massive gambas. Sarah had made salad and rice, and a very nice meal was consumed. It continued to be windy, so we eventually retired down below and drank a few more glasses. A lovely evening, and we are pleased that Gary has reached his level 1 BBQ grade, and we will be presenting him with his certificate later on in the week. We hope he goes on to level 2 – brochettes (kebabs) and finally level 3 – steaks, fish and burgers !!

Wednesday 19 July 2023

We were up reasonably early so as to catch the ferry to La Rochelle which took us just over an hour. It was a cloudy morning. We arrived and took in the sights and checked out the restaurants as we planned lunch out. We settled on one and then walked along the wall which was full of tourists. We sat down to lunch at the Popote de le Mer and sat just inside as it was starting to rain. We had aperitifs and then ordered a fixed price menu for 24 euros. We both had calamari followed by monkfish, and I had apple tart and Julia ice cream. We then also had coffees, stretching our lunch to just over two hours. By now the rain had stopped and the sun was coming through, so we did some shopping and Julia bought another dress. We then sat in a bar overlooking one of the inner harbours and had a drink, and a flotilla of traditional wooden boats all dressed overall sailed out and paraded around, which was lovely to see. We then caught the ferry back and had a chat to our new neighbours in Celtica a 36 foot Moody – Roland and Karen who live in Truro but keep their boat in Mylor. We then had a very light supper of cheese and biscuits as we were still full from lunch and watched some TV and bed.

Thursday 20 July 2023

We had Gary and Sarah round for coffee at 1000, and we had the official presentation of Gary’s BBQ level 1 certificate. We then all got our bikes ready, and the four of us set off along the coastal cycle trail towards Ars / Loix. We were searching out a place called La Rhetraise which we knew from Ian and Norma on Senior Moments had cooked oysters which we wanted Gary to try, and Julia and I fancied them for lunch. My GPS got us there and we sat outside and Julia and I had 6 cooked oysters (huitres chaud) each. Gary and Sarah had three to try, and then Gary had moules, and Sarah a fish soup. They both liked the cooked oysters and although Gary only had one, it was the first oyster he has ever had that he didn’t spit out, so the trip was a success. We cycled back and had tea in Santosha’s cockpit and then came back for a snooze. We then chilled and watched the boats come in. As we did we got chatting to Celtica next door and Rowland offered me a beer while Julia was in the showers, whilst we then helped the new boats in. Some of the new arrivals were challenging. When Julia had finished her shower, we organsied G&Ts for us and Rowland and Karen in our cockpit which was very nice. Julia and I were changed and ready to go out and headed off to Serghi restaurant around the other side of the harbour. We changed from sitting outside to in as it was too windy, and both had battered aubergine first followed by the most gorgeous fillet of veal served with macaroni cheese. It was delightful.

Friday 21 July 2023

We were up and about promptly and did a batch of washing, and prepared the boat for the arrival of visitors later. Then cycled over to Intermarche to stock up for lunch and dinner. It was a lovely sunny day and we got regular travel updates from Gillian and Paul who arrived about 1330. We had drinks in the cockpit and then served lunch – a mix of salads we had purchased at the supermarket deli counter with French bread. We then went for a cursory walk around the town and had a drink in the Lever du Soleil. Then back to the boat for more drinks and Julia did baked potatoes and a veggie bake in the oven and I cooked filet mignon (pork) brochettes on the BBQ. A lovely meal. We then went for a wander back into town and had a couple of drinks at one of the bars along the front, and then back to the boat for some music before bed.

Saturday 22 July 2023

It was a day of sunny intervals and not as warm as Friday. After coffee, it was a shopping morning. The girls went one way and I steered Paul to St James where he bought a pair of Sebago deck shoes like mine. We then had a wander around and settled into the Belem with a couple of beers and a bagged table for lunch. The girls arrived about 1215, and we had lunch, and then we went up the hill and up the church tower for the amazing views. Then we sat in a little bar with a VW camper van as part of the bar. Then the girls did some more shopping and Paul and I chilled on the boat. Later Gary and Sarah joined us for drinks, before Paul, Gillian, Julia and I headed out for dinner at the Belaine Bleau. I had reserved the same lovely table that we had with Patrick and Blandine and the wind eased and the sun shone, so it was lovely. Three of us had oysters and Gillian had a tataki beef for starters. Then Julia had tuna and the three of us had Rossini which again was really nice. We had cheese afterwards. It was a celebration for Gillian’s birthday on Friday, so she and I made up a playlist which we listened to back on the boat accompanied by some port before bed.

Sunday 23 July 2023

It was a grey, cool and cloudy start, and we lazed in bed until 0900, when we went along the pontoon to say goodbye to Gary and Sarah before coffee. Our guests enjoyed a well deserved lie in, but we were up and away in the car at 1045 off to Ars en Re. We parked in the centre by the church and walked through to the port. I booked us a table at the Café du Commerce, and we all went to the market. It had been grey and cloudy, so I had booked inside, but by lunchtime the sun had come out and it was pleasant, so I changed us to an outside table. We had a lovely lunch sharing nachos to start and we all had galettes. We then came back via intermarche to stock up, and came back to the boat for drinks. I put together a seafood festival in the evening, which was oysters, prawns, scallops, crab and calamari. It wasn’t the most successful as we thought the crab was dressed but it wasn’t and the calamari didn’t cook too well. Anyway we were full from lunch so it didn’t matter too much and we had baguette and butter to help. We then went into town and sat at the Café de la Paix and had drinks. Julia and Gillian went for a stroll, and after nightcaps it was an early night as our guests had to leave at 0400.

Monday 24 July 2023

It rained in the night and we were up at 0400 to say our farewells to Paul and Gillian who were headed back to St Malo for the ferry. We went back to bed and slept in until 0900. I spotted that the washing machine was free so we decided to put a load on. Then we put the boat back together and had coffee and did computer stuff and read the papers. It was a quiet day and was grey and rained from time to time, so we stayed aboard. Julia did painting and I did more admin over the phone – over an hour as usual to get through to HMRC, and sorted my car insurance having to change provider as you do. We had a lunch of salads we bought at the deli counter and a chill afternoon. About 1820, Andrew Whitfield from Sarabanda came round for drinks just after a big downpour. Martin and Michel on Filibuster had suggested we talk to him and it was good to get to know him as he has been here 10 years and knows a few things and lots of people which will be helpful to us. Julia then made us a nice thai chicken curry and we watched some TV before bed.

Tuesday 25 July 2023

It was a sunny morning but still very windy. We lazed in bed and eventually took a wash load over to the block on the off chance the machine was free and were able to get a load on before our showers. Then we had coffee and didn’t do much for the morning. We had an early lunch and got another wash load on at 1400 and then went for a walk around the town. It was sunny but still windy though. We came back to get the washing and hang it all out. We then went back into town and had a drink in the sunshine at the Lever du Soleil. Later Rowland and Karen, our next door neighbours on Celtica, came round for drinks and nibbles. After that, I had already prepared and marinaded some filet mignon brochettes (rather than buy them) and I put those on the BBQ while we boiled up some new potatoes. It all tasted lovely. We then watched more of the World on Fire series on iPlayer and then bed

Wednesday 26 July 2023

It rained overnight and was grey and raining in the morning. We lazed in bed and when the rain eased we went to the local market which has re-opened after the fire next door. (They had to fumigate) We also booked a nice restaurant for dinner on Friday which is our 28th wedding anniversary and came back and had lunch. It rained on and off, so Julia painted and I started a book. It was a non drinking day, so it was quiet, and Julia did a simple dinner of chicken cordon bleu with carrots and beans we had bought at the market. We watched TV before bed. The weather is in a crap cycle at the moment.

Thursday 27 July 2023

Julia had a bad night unable to sleep and it rained in the early hours. We were up late as a result, and the boats leaving and arriving started at 0945 which was fun as always. The weather cheered up and when the sun was out it was hot, but it was often cloudy. We went to Intermarche on the bikes and stocked up, and then came back for lunch which today was smoked herring fried in butter with salad and French bread. After lunch we cycled over to the South-East of the Island to Le Blois Plage where the market was closing up but we saw the lovely long beach. We will go back to see the market another day. When we got back, we had showers and I cut Julia’s hair. Then we went round to Celtica for drinks and nibbles with Rowland and Karen, and Rowland also cooked us a starter course of scallops and chorizo which was lovely. We then came back and had some chicken but cut back on the other supporting food as we hadn’t expected starters next door. We had drunk a few bottles, so everyone was merry. We then watched some iPlayer before bed.

Friday 28 July 2023 - Our 28th wedding anniversary

It rained and continued to rain through the morning and most of the day. As a result we hunkered down. I read and finished a book, and Julia started a jigsaw. We had quiche and salad for lunch and later in the afternoon we had drinks as we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. We then went for dinner at Les Embruns, a really nice restaurant in the centre island behind the Lever du Soleil. They were expensive and had the most unusual menu. For starters we both had poached egg wrapped in trout on a crispy bed that looked like a birds nest with lots of different veg. For main I had ris de veau with homard – sweetbread veal and lobster and Julia had fish – brill all with lots of nice veg including fennel. I had shortbread and fruit for dessert which they brought out with sparklers singing happy anniversary! We had a bottle of Chateau de Rochemorin – Pessac-Leognan with the meal, It was fabulous, and we had a lovely table. We came back and watched the final part of the sixth commandment on iPlayer before bed.

Saturday 29 July 2023

It rained most of the night and gradually started to ease about 0900 when we went to the showers. The weather is very poor at the moment due to the jet stream being right over the middle of France, so it is disappointing. We went and did some shopping in the local market and bought some brochettes for later. The gates opened at 1200 and we helped Rowland and Karen in Celtica off and the French boat outside them back in. We then decided to have lunch out and went to the Marco Polo restaurant on the corner nearest the boat. Julia had a camembert salad and I had moules frites. We came back and had green tea. We sat out for a while in a rare sunny interval, but then it went cloudy so we came back inside. Julia did more jigsaw and I did some computer. At six we had drinks and Julia got the baked potatoes on and a veggie bake in the oven, and when they were nearly ready I cooked the lamb brochettes we had purchased in the morning which I had marinated during the afternoon on the BBQ, and we had a lovely meal. After that we watched more of the Witcher on Netflix as the last few episodes were finally available.

Sunday 30 July 2023

We were disturbed at 0400 by three very drunken youths who we could hear above us on the jetty and then they sat in the speedboat next to us drinking and smoking. (The boat was not theirs) so I had to appear in the companionway and keep an eye on them. Me appearing spooked one of them back up onto the jetty but two remained for a while. They eventually all went back up onto the top but still hung around there for a while until they walked off – or should I say staggered off. So we inevitably slept in after that and by the time we had done coffee and everything it was too late to pop out cycling as planned, since the gates opened at 1300. We then helped out the boat next to us and helped Anjou with Roger and Penny aboard alongside. Roger and Penny had been outside us a week or two ago, so we chatted like old friends. The weather gradually improved through the day at last to the point where after lunch we decided to sit out in the sun and chill for the afternoon. In the odd cooler moments Julia did some jigsaw, but it got better and better and come drinks o’clock it was really quite warm and sunny. Julia put together a curry of left-overs with thai rice which was lovely and we watched the last two Witcher episodes before bed.

Monday 31 July 2023

Roger and Penny needed to leave at 0630 so the entire raft outside them of three boats had to move. Two of them left and one French boat came back in alongside us. Before all that I whizzed down and put a wash load on and afterwards I showered up at the block and Julia showered aboard. After coffee we set off on the bikes to Blois Plage in good time to catch the market and bought some fish there. We then cycled to LeClerc and got the week’s food. It was very busy and the aisles are much smaller than Intermarche but we did get a few extra things that were exclusive to LeClerc – however we will stick with Intermarche in future! We then came back, parked the bikes and whizzed into our local market in St Martin and got some lasagne and beans and then as it was by now lovely and sunny and warm ,we sat at the Lever du Soleil and had drinks soaking up the atmosphere. It’s been days since we had sunshine like this. Sadly, though as the afternoon wore on it got cloudier and windier. We came back and had lunch and then the gates opened, and we helped our French boat off and waited for the next arrivals which didn’t take long. Once everyone was settled, we had a snooze and tried to sit out for a while with green tea, but the wind was up, and it was cloudy, so we came inside. I cooked pork chops with beans, carrots and fried potatoes, and we spoke to my mum on the phone and then watched two parts of Wolf on iPlayer

Île de Ré August 2023 week 1

Tuesday 01 August 2023

We were up and about sharpish and out the door at 0920 walking to the bus stop near Intermarche and caught the 0948 bus into La Rochelle. It was a sunny day but windy. We got off the bus in La Rochelle centre as we had plenty of time and saw some more of the town and also a small brocante. We then went to the train station and got our tickets to Rochefort and boarded the train which was quite busy. We alighted in Rochefort just before 1200 and headed off to where the marinas were close by. We selected a restaurant – a Mercure Hotel and had lunch. It was a bit up market, but the service was poor and the food not quite up to expectation. However, it was pleasant enough. We both had oysters and confit de canard. After lunch we walked into the centre of town, did some shopping in Monoprix, one of our favourite stores and then settled in a bar in the main square for a drink. We then came back by train and by bus and headed over to Impulse for a drinks session hosted by David and Jill Price where we also properly met David and Louise Lancaster from Peregrine. Andrew Whitfield was also there. We had a great time and the sun even came out. We then came back and just had cheese and biscuits as we had been fed so well and watched another episode of Wolf before bed.

David and Jill

Wednesday 02 August 2023

It rained hard and was very windy through the night. It was too miserable to go to the sanitaires so we showered on board and welcomed David and Louise round for coffee as David had expressed an interest in looking at our boat. We had a nice chat and showed them around and the rain eased and the sun came out, although it was still very windy. We stayed on board chilling as the weather was so bad. I fried some lovely sardine fillets in butter for lunch and later we ventured out to get some shopping. The sun kept appearing but the wind howled all day reaching 39 knots at times. We asked David and Jill Price round for drinks and they accepted and came around about 1830. We drank some pink, had some nibbles and had a lovely chat. When they were gone, I fried up some cod in butter along with some green beans and carrots which made a lovely meal We then watched a little TV and went to bed. The wind continued to howl.

Thursday 03 August 2023

It was very windy in the night again with frequent rain showers. We lazed in bed as it was raining hard first thing. It was a changeable day in that it would be sunny with blue skies and then rain, but all the time the wind was still strong but not as windy as yesterday. We hunkered down for the day with Julia doing painting, jigsaw and she cooked a ratatouille. I finished one book and started another. We had quiche and salad for lunch. Later whilst it was still very windy the sun did appear a bit, so we went for an hour’s walk right along to Le Cible Plage which was nice. Then when we came back Julia cooked up some lasagne we bought in the market with the ratatouille and watched the final two episodes of Wolf.

Friday 04 August 2023

We have had bad weather now for three weeks. The locals tell us this is not usual and it is the worst summer for years, but despite that we still love the place. It was windy again all night although it has eased sufficiently for boats to move again, and so at 0730 two of the three boats outside us left and the other one came back in. We then had showers and a couple more boats arrived. After coffee we cycled over to Intermarche and did a big shop which filled up my backpack as well as the two bike bags. I popped into the hairdresser and booked a haircut for Saturday as it needs doing, and we cycled back for lunch. We had a quiet afternoon and then as it brightened up and more boats were coming in, we sat outside with drinks and watched the action with a fantastic pirouette from one of the boats mooring to which we awarded best cockup. We then got changed and went to the Bistrot de Marin and sat inside on a high table next to the bar as although it was sunny it was too windy outside. We had drinks and then oysters and shared a side of beef washed down with a lovely bottle of Pessac Leognan – a Chateau Lamothe-Bouscaut (similar wine to the one we had in Rochefort) which was lovely. As ever we had too much and brought home another meal’s worth in a doggy bag. We came back and watched a little TV before bed.

Saturday 05 August 2023

Today we had a lie in and read the Saturday papers and then got up and made coffee. A very quiet morning as it was raining and still very windy. At 1215 I cycled over to Intermarche and got a few things before getting my hair cut by Warren at 1300 – the salon is next to Intermarche. Warren spoke good English which was helpful – he had a French father but an English mother. It was a good haircut and I was pleased. It rained more as I cycled back and I had to put waterproofs on. It rained most of the afternoon and it wasn’t nice enough to sit out for the arrival of boats so we walked round to the gate as a vantage point and I wore a jacket for the first time since May. Very few boats came in. We chatted to the Brits in Brit corner and I fixed an iPad problem for Andrew and we came back for drinks inside. I abandoned the idea of using the BBQ although it was by now sunny, it was still very windy and cool, and I used the griddle on the stove top for the brochettes which I accompanied with new potatoes. We then had cheese and biscuits and it was film night, so we watched Extraction 2 which was fun

Sunday 06 August 2023

We were up shortly after 0700 as all the boats outside were leaving. I put on a wash load – the first of three, and then we helped the boats leave. A boat on the raft ahead said he was going to come alongside, and the harbour staff forced him to reverse in which was much nicer for us. We helped him in and another boat came alongside him almost immediately. We read the papers and put another wash load on and then another boat came onto the raft. We had coffee and hung out the washing so far. We then managed to get a third load on before anyone else could claim the machine which was good as there is only one for the whole marina, and it has been very busy. The sun was out all morning and the wind started to ease and it got warmer. At last we were able to sit outside! We had eggs and bacon for brunch and went for a long walk right through town and out the long way to the Cible beach where we had drinks in the sunshine. It was still windy though but not as strong as it has been. When we got back to the boat we chilled and sat outside, and at 1815 lots of boats arrived and the marina filled up very quickly - we were a raft of six as was the one in front and the back part of the harbour was locked out – you could virtually walk across from one side to the other. Julia cooked up a lovely stir fry with the steak left over from the restaurant and we watched a Netflix movie – The Gray man.

Île de Ré August 2023 week 2

Monday 07 August 2023

We both slept well and tried to lie in but it was very noisy outside with boats and people coming and going, so we gave up and surfaced to see a much more empty marina. Although we were still rafted three deep. It was lovely warm and sunny and at last – no wind. We spent most of the morning clearing the focsle and tidying up for visitors later. We had coffee and went to the local market and bought a rotisserie chicken and some salad, and then got the bikes out and cycled to Intermarche to stock up for visitors arriving. Then back to the boat for lunch which we ate outside for the first time in ages. I cooked some herring in butter which we had with French bread and salad. In the afternoon we both did more boat jobs and then we chilled outside and had showers. We ate dinner early – cold chicken and new potatoes and then watched the boats leaving and arriving. Shortly after 2000, Gordon and Christine arrived after having travelled all day and we welcomed them aboard. We had drinks and later some bread chicken and cheese before bed.

Tuesday 08 August 2023

We were up around 0730 woken by the neighbour filling water bottles. It was a lovely sunny morning. Our guests appeared and I made tea for all. There was a lot of boat moving around 0930 – 1000 which was amusing and we got a new neighbour. Gordon wasn’t too good so we left him to rest and went for a walk around St Martin in the sunshine with Chris. Just before 1200 we all walked down to the Marco Polo restaurant for a lovely lunch. Julia, Gordon and Chris had moules frites and I had a calamari and chorizo salad. We came back to the boat and chilled all afternoon. We had drinks at 1800 and then Julia did new potatoes and a veggie bake and I put 4 filet mignon brochettes on the BBQ. We ate inside and had a nice evening.

Wednesday 09 August 2023

We were up at 0750 and I made tea and put the ensign out. It was sunny morning, and the decks were covered in dew. It was hot and sunny all day with wall to wall blue skies reaching 30 degrees in the cockpit during the afternoon. We walked out with Gordon and Chris and showed them the tower and left them to be tourists. We got some essentials at Carrefour and the market and came back to chill. We had a grazing lunch and in the afternoon walked over to Cible beach where we had drinks at the restaurant there and walked back. It was now very hot. We had showers and G&Ts and then went to Le Phare restaurant where three of us started with escargots and Chris had rilletes and then we all had pizzas. Julia and I had Louma the house speciality. Unusually our red wine came in water bags to cool it down – something we haven’t seen before. They said it was that the wine was getting too hot in storage, but I was reminded of Russ and Lisa! There was too much pizza so we brought a load back in a doggy bag and we then came back to the boat and had more drinks outside before bed.

Thursday 10 August 2023

There were some noisy kids outside at 0300 and at 0400 there was a thunderstorm and it rained hard, so we were all a bit tired first thing. At 1015 we headed off in Gordon’s car to Intermarche to fill up with fuel and then we headed to Ars on Re. It was very busy everywhere but we were successful in parking next to the church as few people spot that, but disaster booking the Café du Commerce as they were already fully booked at 1100 – lesson learned to book much earlier in these the busiest two weeks of the year! We went to the market and Julia and I bought more onion bhajis from Mr Malik, and then I went off and managed to book a table at L Oceane right by where we had parked the car. We went there and the food was Ok as it was a galette place, but the service was poor. I had some oysters to start and we all had different galettes. We then drove back and once again into Intermarche – this time for us to stock up with bulky items and for Gordon and Chris to stock up on wine. Then we came back to the boat and Gordon and I had a couple of beers and after a while it was G&T time and we were joined by Andrew from Sarabanda and a jolly time was had by all. We had nibbles while drinking including olives stuffed with anchovy brought by Andrew and lots of pizza from the night before. When Andrew had gone we had a grazing dinner of ham and cheese and some chicken with bread. Finally some whisky before bed.

Friday 11 August 2023

We were up at 0700 and I made tea and put croissants in the oven. We had a quick breakfast and then Gordon and Chris left and Julia and I had showers. We then had a quick tidy up and coffee and both did some computer stuff for a while. It then started to rain and did so on and off most of the day, so we had a quiet stay at home day which included Julia doing a massive boat clean. Later in the afternoon it brightened up and after the gates shut with very few boat movements, we went for a walk and had a drink at the Lever du Soleil which was pleasant. It was quiet in the harbour as we and the row in front (V2) were only three deep rafts and V3 further along only two. We have been used to being five or six deep this week. We had bought some monkfish brochettes in Intermarche yesterday so I cooked those on the BBQ and Julia made a ratatouille which was lovely. We ate outside and a couple from the boat across the way – Jolyon and Val from Shining Light – a Halberg Rassy 36 - stopped to chat to us and we ended up inviting them down for a drink in the cockpit. It turns out they live in Four Marks just up the road from us – Lymington Bottom in fact, although they keep their boat in La Roche Bernard. Small world as they have several mutual acquaintances, and it turns out that their son in law, Daryl works at Treloars so of course I texted Alexia to check she knew him which she did. We had a pleasant time lubricated by red wine and retired to bed.

Andrew - Jolyon and Val

Saturday 12 August 2023

It rained again first thing and had me scrabbling around shutting windows, but the rain quickly eased and it soon got brighter and warmer and it was very hot and sunny in the afternoon. We had a chilled morning with me organising a lift and jet wash in Sables D’Olonne - our first port of call on our way home and then had lunch outside. We sunbathed in the afternoon and lots of boats came in which kept us amused. At 1730 we went round to Sarabanda at Andrew’s invitation for drinks and he had provided a huge array of nibbles so that it was more of a grazing supper than anything else. It was lovely and we had a good old chat. We were full up after than and didn’t bother with dinner. We chilled with a couple of small brandies and retired.

Sunday 13 August 2023

We were awake at 0800 and I made tea and we read the papers and I showered. It drizzled at first but soon the sun came out and it was yet another hot and sunny day. After coffee we cycled to St Mairie en Re to a brocante (flea market) which was huge. It was about half an hour cycling there and the same coming back. At lunchtime we went to Marco Polo and both had the calamari salad and sat in the shade as it was very hot and sunny. We had coup colonels for dessert (lemon sorbet with vodka) and came back in time for the gates opening at 1330. Our neighbours in an Oceanis 351 called Soir d’Avril finally left but he insisted on driving out forwards and so whilst being towed by the harbour staff at the bow he let the boat drift forward and so pivoted on Wyldwind on one of our sausage fenders and as the stern moved around the corner of his boat squished our fender so hard it broke. I had put ball fenders out for him to use but he had drifted forward so they didn’t come into play and a sausage fender took the full load. We were not amused as he was just heading off and other boats were leaving so he didn’t come back and exchange information nor offered to pay for damage. Still the fender did its job and there was no damage to the boat so for that I am grateful and that’s why I keep loads of fenders out! We later got his details from the office and I will email to see if he will pay. (we will see if he responds) We have to wait until Wednesday before the chandlers is open again (they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays – this is France) and hope they can supply a new one. The harbour staff then wanted to move a Najad 33 alongside us as the occupants had gone out, so we helped with that and I moored that up tidily, but it was all a bit much after a very relaxing lunch. Our raft soon grew to four out as it was quite busy. We then sunbathed and chilled during the afternoon, and I cooked an early dinner – cod in butter and beans as we headed out for drinks at 1900 aboard Shining Light with Jolyon and Val and we enjoyed a lovely sunset in their cockpit along with some nibbles they provided.

Île de Ré August 2023 week 3+

Monday 14 August 2023

We were up and off to Intermarche shortly after 0900 so as to get ahead of all the tourists and it was nice cycling with fewer other riders about. We stocked up and came back for coffee. It was a grey morning though and stayed grey right until the end of the day. A shame after the run of hot and sunny weather we have had. So as it was dull day and a Monday it was a do-very-little-day. Julia completed her painting and I read a book from cover to cover. We had a quiet lunch and it was also a non drinking day. We stayed on board all day! Julia made a lovely chicken satay with thai rice and the onion bhajis from the market at Ars en Re the other day. Finally during dinner the sun appeared, so we sat outside and enjoyed the sunset. We then washed up and watched a great Netflix movie – Heart of Stone.

Tuesday 15 August 2023 Assumption Day - Bank holiday in France

At 0650 the third boat out left and the outside (fourth) one came back alongside the raft so there was some noise, but our neighbour wasn’t moving so we were able to stay in bed and got back to sleep until 0900 – a nice lie in. We then put a wash load on and had showers. It was a nice morning and soon turned into another hot day with lots of sunshine with a little breeze - great for drying the washing. It was a bank holiday in France and the centrepiece of the festival was setup at the end of the marina with food stalls, drinks and music, and drew crowds all day. We popped to the market for bread and then had lunch outside with some rosé wine. The gates opened at 1430 and it got very busy and by the end of the day we were a six deep raft. We went for a walk to La Cible Beach and booked a table for Saturday – only a couple were left - and had a drink overlooking the beach. We came back and Julia cooked a lovely dinner of coronation chicken. We had invited Jolyon and Val and Andrew over for drinks and to see the fireworks at 1100 from our cockpit. They came over shortly before nine and we enjoyed drinks and watched the fireworks. The boys rounded the evening off with some Glenmorangie.

Wednesday 16 August 2023

It was a grey morning and there was some boat movement but at the edge of the raft so apart from some tramping over the boat, there wasn’t a need to get up. We lazed in and then I showered and made coffee. It kept trying to be sunny all day but never really made it but it was hot and sticky. We walked to a restaurant where they cook meat on a wood fire that we had noticed out cycling which was about half an hour’s walk and booked in for lunch tomorrow. We got hot on that walk. We had lunch and Julia cleaned the boat, as it was quiet. Then we watched all the boat movements which as ever was amusing. By 1700 the raft was 4 deep and the two outside boats were British and they were settled in having drinks and relaxing when our next door neighbour with the racy boat appeared and demanded that he leave which was not good for the two outside brit boats and he untied himself and so it was really hard for the two boats to get sorted. It was quite a nightmare for them. Anyway they both peeled off and Mr Racy slipped out and they came in again – A lovely wooden boat called Matambu with Steve and Shauneen aboard came alongside and Jenny Wren with Steve and Monica went outside them. Later another three boats came outside them and the outside boat was a Glenans rental with lots of people aboard so they tramped over us a lot. We then both read and chilled. Julia cooked a Coronation Chicken and then we sat in the cockpit and got talking to Steve and Monica and we invited them aboard for drinks for a while. Later we watched another Netflix movie – Mother - before bed.

Thursday 17 August 2023

There was a lot of thumping over our boat as the outside boats left and we were up and off to Intermarche for a big shop before the hordes of velos and shoppers were about. The cycle tracks were quiet, as was Intermarche, which was lovely. We came back for coffee and surveyed the mess that the outside boats had made where Julia cleaned yesterday. It was again hot and sticky with the odd sunny interval. We set off for lunch on the bikes towards L’Aile de Re for lunch but half way there my front tyre went flat. I think I should have pumped up the tyres more as they were getting soggy. So Julia carried on ahead, I walked the bike back and rented a bike to get to the restaurant. (it was a half hour walk) Lunch was superb. I had oysters and Julia cooked mussels (over the fire) and I had entrecote with the best frites of the trip so far and Julia had tuna seared over the flames. I dropped the rental bike back and then stripped out the front wheel and will head off to Decathlon in the morning to see if I can get a new inner tube. We sunbathed and enjoyed the heat and later invited Stephen and Seanine from Matumba next door round for some Prosecco and later Julia made egg mayo which we had with bread and a big tomato. We watched another Netflix movie – Lou – before bed.

Friday 18 August 2023

It was a grey morning, and I was up and about as I wanted to head off to Decathlon to see if I could get an inner tube. I cycled there on Julia’s bike and once again the cycle paths were clear. Decathlon only had a 16 inch inner tube which didn’t match the Brompton when the two were compared – the Brompton being larger. I had hoped to replace the inner tube, but having then tried another bike shop and LeClerc, I purchased some repair kits and came back to see if I could repair the existing one. However, because the trye had been run flat there were lots of holes which I duly patched but when I finally blew up the tyre it went bang loudly and on inspection the inner tube had split badly, so I had to give up on that one. We had lunch and it continued to be a grey day. After lunch I researched Brompton dealers and found there was one in La Rochelle and after ringing them, they said they could repair the wheel if I took it in, so we planned to go there on Saturday morning.

During the afternoon, as the car park next to us has been turned into a concert area, we heard two bands sound checking as we chilled and it turns out there’s a jazz festival over the next three days. I had just prepared the leg of lamb as a butterfly for the BBQ when Stephen and Seanine next door invited us in for bubbles, so we went aboard and had a drink. I then invited them to share our BBQ-d lamb with us, so they came aboard Wyldwind and we had a nice meal together. After that they wandered off to see the music close up. Julia and I had a walk around but decided we could hear things perfectly well from the back of the boat so we sat out and enjoyed it from there with a few drinks before bed when the music finished.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Julia and I were up early and caught the 0848 bus to La Rochelle which took an hour and we took the front wheel of the Brompton with us. It was raining hard first thing but eased a bit as we walked to the bus stop. We quickly found the bike shop and after inspection, they advised replacing the trye as well as fitting a new inner tube, so we got them to fit those to the front wheel and for the future bought a spare tyre and two spare inner tubes as Brompton dealers are few and far between. We then went to a small café around the corner and had croissants and coffee and then caught the bus back. It being a Saturday the bridge to the island was solid with crawling traffic and so we were very slow coming back. When we were on the island the traffic was backed up for miles with people leaving. Anyway we got back and I fitted the wheel back to the bike and took it for a test ride, and all is well again. We had a simple lunch of bread and paté and some fruit.

As the day wore on it got hotter and sunnier and we chilled and sunbathed. We both had showers and got changed and had drinks and walked to La Cible Beach and had a fabulous dinner there. I had beef tataki and Julia had makis – a kind of crispy sushi which was lush, and we both had octopus. We washed it down with some Brouilly and I had cheese. We walked back just after sunset into a lovely sky. We listened to some of the music festival and they ended with a blues band but it was a bit too bluesy and we were tired so retired to bed.

Sunday 20 August 2023

Lots of boat movements this morning around 0800 and the place emptied out quite a bit. Another grey start but changed into a hot and sunny day again especially in the afternoon. We got the bikes out and cycled to Couardes sur Mer and visited a super brocante in the town centre – all the way down the main street. It was much better than last Sunday’s one on a sports field and the quality of items was more varied. We found some wine glasses that are almost identical to the ones we bought in Granville ages ago that are quite strong – as in thicker glass - and they will mean we have much more of a matching set. We cycled back and after lunch just chilled in the sunshine reading and sunbathing. For dinner we had roast lamb which I did in the BBQ whilst Julia did roast potatoes in the oven and made a cauliflower cheese which was all lovely. We tried listening to the last night of the music festival but it wasn’t our kind of music so we hunkered down and turned on our own speakers and listened to our own playlist.

Monday 21 August 2023

Another grey start giving way to blue skies again. We were off on our bikes again – this time to Loix for lunch some 7 miles away. It was a nice ride. We had lunch in the restaurant in the square - Julia had the Caesar salad I had last time I was there (with Patrick and Blandine) and I had a burger. It was nice but we were surrounded by lots of young children. We cycled back along the coast track and there were very few other velos about, which made it a really nice ride. We chilled and sunbathed in the afternoon and I made up some filet mignon brochettes and marinated them and cooked them on the BBQ accompanied by some left over cauliflower cheese. We then spoke to James on the phone and watched Ghostbusters Afterlife on Netflix.

Tuesday 22 August 2023

We were up and about early as boats were due to move and it was a jobs morning. We showered and put a wash load on and I checked out the water system as it had been making funny noises but it was all ok and the noises were just the way the pipes were lying, so I adjusted those and the noise seems to have disappeared. To get to this I had to clear the engine bay of all the stuff around it so we also moved the fridge and got ourselves ready to move on Thursday. I lashed the dinghy to the front to make more space which worked well. We then cycled to the chandlers and bought a new fender to replace the one broken the other day and shopped at Lidl and Intermarche. By the time we got back it was very hot. I fixed up the port side fender basket and did a little more tidying up before it became too hot to do anything. We chilled and then had Andrew round for drinks before dinner and we went to the Bistrot du Marin and had a nice meal. We all had oysters and Andrew and I had veal and Julia rumsteak. It was lovely. We came back to the boat and drank some more wine and met a delightful couple from Dulwich with two kids Bruno and Mimi who we showed the boat to. We then finished drinks and retired.

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Another hot and sticky day – 36 degrees in the cockpit, and it had been a hot sticky night – we had the fans blowing all the time. We had a bit of a lie in and then discovered that one of our lovely outside chairs had been stolen in the night. Gut wrenching – it was my fault in that I left them out – I nearly always fold them away but we were relaxed after dinner with Andrew and - well you can’t let your guard go. So not sure if we could carry a cheap replacement on a bike, we set off on foot to Leclerc and Intermarche but no joy, so we walked back dejected. Later speaking to Andrew, he said that Decathlon did them – we thought they just did bikes! So I went by bike with a large backpack and yes – they had a great selection from which I selected one, not as good as ours but will do pro-tem, so we are OK for the rest of the trip and Amazon will deliver a new proper one in due course. It was by now impossibly hot – everything you did brought you out in a sweat. We are not that far from the major heatwave across France looking at the map. Anyway we did a few more jobs like putting the bikes away and waited for it to cool. Lots of fun with many boats coming in at 1815 including a lot of motor boats. Then Julia cooked up a nice dish with some of the left-over lamb and we sat outside and watched the sun go down on our last night this year in St Martin

Île de Ré to Les Sables D'Olonne

Thursday 24 August 2023

About 0430 a huge thunderstorm started and despite the fans running due to it being hot and sticky all night, I had to close all the windows as it chucked it down. By 0700 it had passed and it was bright again and still hot and sticky even at that time. There was a little breeze though. This was going to be a tough day as you will see. All the boats outside us moved by just before nine and as we were preparing to leave Andrew came round to bid us farewell. Julia quickly cleaned the decks and we easily got out of the tight berth by her pulling the stern and me using the bow thruster. It was still hot and sticky but there was an ominous black cloud over to the left. I was in a sleeveless t-shirt as it was that warm. However, no sooner had we got out of the harbour than the storm broke - totally not forecast and unexpected and it whipped the sea up and it started raining with thunder and lightening all around - scary. We quickly changed into waterproofs and clipped on as we were experiencing 40 knot gusts and the sea state was all over. However, the boat just soldiered on under motor and whilst I couldn’t maintain the course I wanted, it was close and soon after 15 minutes we were able to resume a proper course and the storm passed after an hour – all I can say is what a boat. The sea calmed quite quickly and the wind eventually moved onto the beam and we were able to sail for an hour just under genoa. Another storm moved across as we approached Les Sables D’Olonne but it just missed us but we could see the lightning just south of us. We motored into Sables and straight up to the Travelift for a quick lift and scrub as pre-arranged at 1400. We got there at 1405 and were very quickly lifted and the guy jet-washed the bottom which was remarkably clean but very slimy. It was quite an experience and a little stressy. We were back in shortly after three and went to the fuel pump for a quick splash and dash. By now it was really hot and sunny again and doing anything brought you out in a sweat. We then motored round to Quai Garnier and onto Pontoon A7 and settled in. I bled the volvo seal on the prop shaft as this has to be kept wet, and then we discovered I had forgotten to close the seacock for the main sink which meant that the jet wash had blasted all the grease and stuff back up to the main galley sink and both sinks were blocked. No amount of plunging worked and so we had to leave the sinks blocked. Julia cooked cordon bleu chicken and we had to wash up in the guest heads. All a bit depressing. We sat outside and watched the nightlife along the shore before bed.

Les Sables D'Olonne to Port Joinville, Ile d'Yeau

Friday 25 August 2023

We were up at 0645 and away at 0740 depressingly into a NW 15-18 knots straight on the nose and a nasty sea state, so we went slowly and slammed all the way, so instead of 4. 5 hours it was nearly 6 hours of motoring to get to Ile d’Yeu. It is a very constricted entrance so I had to prepare fenders and warps outside in a nasty sea state which is the worst I have had to do for years. Anyway we were told to go to B pontoon which is visitors fingers and chose B15 port side to. It had been grey to start but was brightening up but the wind persisted all day. One upside to the journey was that due to the vacuum effect of the water passing under the boat, the suction under the sink seacock had drained the sinks! They still aren’t draining properly but they at least are now not blocked, so usable but with a very slow drain. We had lunch and a beer and then after paying our harbour fees, went to Casino for a big shop. We bought some degreaser for the sink to see if that would ease things, and walked back with a heavy load. We sat outside in the sunshine for a while with G&Ts and then Julia made another lamb dish out of the lamb joint from the other day which was delicious. Then I had another go at the sink, but the degreaser didn’t work and we made no progress. We then watched another Netflix film – Copshop before bed.

Port Joinville, Ile d'Yeu

Saturday 26 August 2023

A nice lie in today, read the papers, and then showers. I had remembered overnight that we had previously cleared the sink with a vacuum cleaner in blow mode, and so I got the electric dinghy inflator out and blasted the sink and it appeared to clear a little. The sink design is very bad as just under the sink is where the waterline is, but it empties through a seacock right down by the keel which is odd, so the trap under the sink is about sea level so never really clears. When we are back home we are resolved to talk to a professional about what we can do – maybe we need a new seacock further up the hull like the other sinks or a pump arrangement. The weather was sunny, but it was windy all day, so we had to shelter under the sprayhood. We then went into town to buy a hoover that blows, so as to really try and clear the pipe and we also borrowed a long pipe cleaning rod from Filibuster – Martin and Michele, our friends from earlier on in the trip who arrived about 1500. We then tried to blow through the pipe and used the pipe rod which we could sense made it all the way to the seacock but not quite. But it was all to no avail and in fact the sink was then blocked whereas before it would drain slowly. It was all very baffling so we left the sinks blocked, changed, had drinks and went for dinner at the 09 Restaurant – as recommended by Gary and Sarah – and had a fabulous dinner. For starters, I had poached egg with toast and all kinds of extras and Julia had a tartare tuna dish. We both had the eglefin – haddock, followed by a nice lemon torte. It was all superb with lovely service. On the way back we said Hi to Martin and Michele who invited us in for drinks in their cockpit which was nice before bed and we all had a bit of a catch up.

Sunday 27 August 2023

It was windy in the night and one of our lines creaked so about 0200 I got up and reset the lines so we had no noise. We had a lie in and then thinking again about the sink, as our last resort we thought if we had pushed the blockage down the pipe maybe we could suck it back up, so I emptied the sinks and got the hoover in suck mode but again to no avail. So then I started to strip it all down and it appears that there were no blockages in the pipes although maybe it may be narrowed at the seacock due to the jet wash. Water comes in fast enough though, and the problem appears to be that the waterline is now just under the sink, and it seems that the left sink fills up slightly above the waterline, so neither drains now. We are baffled as it used to work – albeit a bit slowly. We have now disconnected it all and the sinks drain into a bucket which I chuck overboard whenever we do a washing-up load. It’s the best we can do for now. We will see if when we are moving again if the vacuum effect helps or else we will have to wait until we get back to the UK, get someone to come up with a new solution. We worked on it all morning, and after lunch I prepared and marinated some filet mignon kebabs and then we went for a walk and had a drink on the front. Today was sunny but very windy 18-21 knots. but when we walked into town and into shelter it made it feel much nicer. Julia then had a shower and then prepared a veggie bake to go in the oven with the BBQ.

Martin and Michele turned up for drinks at 1800 and as it was windy we sat inside. Julia put the veggie bake in the oven. It was now quite windy and as it turned out it was too much for the BBQ to build up enough heat, so I abandoned the idea of cooking outside and got out the griddle pan and did an inside BBQ on the stove top, which worked just as well. We all enjoyed our meal and afterwards we had all been invited aboard Smooth Torque by Simon and Lesley for after dinner drinks, so we all trooped over there and had a few more drinks and a lively time.

Monday 28 August 2023

Today was again warm and sunny but with a persistent North Westerly breeze blowing about 18-21 knots. Julia and I headed out in the morning to buy some fish but the queue at the fish place was far too long so we said we would buy fish later or tomorrow. We then popped into Bricolage as I wanted to have a look at their plumbing section to see if I could re-plumb under the sink but a little higher than before. It was getting near closing time and very busy so we took pictures for me to have a think about and then went to Casino for a quick shop and back for lunch. I did smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and muffins. After lunch we got the bikes out and Martin and Michele hired some electric bikes and we set off first to the old Castle which was lovely and scenic, and then to Port de La Meule which was a very pretty little harbour with a nice bar where we had beers and wine. Then we came back via the Citadelle and into town. Later we met up with Martin, Michele, Simon and Lesley to go to the popular creperie in town but it was a long queue and filled up very quickly, so we abandoned that idea and went along the front to La Plancha du Pecheur where we were lucky to get a table for six. Julia and I had BBQ-d prawns and the others all had rilletes and for mains, Julia and I had fish and chips (with merlu as the fish) and all the others had tuna kebabs. Julia wasn’t keen on the fish as she thought the coating too soggy but it was OK for me. We all drank a bottle of wine per couple and then we all went back to Filibuster for drinks hosted by Martin and Michele, which was held in their cockpit tent. Shortly after ten the neighbours complained we were making too much noise and as we were tired, we wrapped it up. A nice evening and a lovely day.

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Today was a grey and quite cold day again with the same NW breeze – perhaps slightly less. We had originally planned to move on today but it would mean more wind on the nose and we had two days of that already, so we paid for another two nights as the wind is forecast to come from the South or South West on Thursday which will be much nicer for our Northward journey – hopefully Pornic next. I decided I would buy the plumbing kit at Bricolage and have a go at a remodelling of the under-sink plumbing and Julia set off to Super-U to check out whether it was better than Casino – which it is! We both got back, and I had already done some planning for the sink but we had lunch where I cooked up some herrings in butter and Julia made a salad. After lunch I started on re-modelling the under-sink area. I used all new French piping directly below the sink and moulded it onto an English base which was connected to the main waste outlet as I didn’t want to disturb that. It is much higher up than before (so more above the waterline) and neater as the French kit is tidier that the English one. After many attempts, sealing leaks and adjustments I finally got it all sealed and NOT leaking and then tried opening the seacock. Sadly it still was not draining out but I then got out the plunger again ( we wasted hours with that a couple of days ago but I thought I would give it a go ) and gently plunged and after a couple of minutes I heard a gurgle as the water went down the pipe. I guess the blockage after the jet wash had finally loosened and after that the sink was back to normal – YAY! I skipped and danced as we had been reduced to a bucket and chuck it system. I was so relieved. I chilled with a beer, and we then went for drinks aboard Filibuster and met Duncan and Elizabeth from Bimble a 43 foot R43 who joined us. A nice drinks session. We then came back and Julia cooked up a pork and bacon dish with peas which was lovely, and we watched a Netflix movie – Kate.

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Today was a lovely sunny day with a little NW wind which you needed to shelter from, but once you did it was lovely. We went on a shopping spree by bike – Bricolage for boat stuff, Casino for booze and then took that back to the boat and out again to Super-U for all the food. Then back and sat in the sunshine on the back of the boat. Then lunch and on our bikes with Martin and Michele to a nice beach which was sheltered where we sunbathed and paddled. Sadly the sand flies were too much of a nuisance so we weren’t there that long. We cycled some more and went right round the bottom of the Island and back to Port de La Meule and the lovely bar there where we had beer and rose wine. We then cycled back to the boats where we were invited for drinks aboard Bimble hosted by Duncan and Elisabeth, and then Julia and I joined Martin and Michele on board Filibuster where Michele cooked a dinner of escalopes of chicken with new potatoes and ratatoiuille. We drank plenty of red wine and had our last evening together for a while.

Ile d'Yeu to Pornic

Thursday 31 August 2023

It was a grey and wet morning. We had showers and coffee and Martin and Michele came round to say farewells. We then set off at 0930 and were soon sailing nicely with all sails up into a steady tight reach with 15-18 knots of wind. It increased to 18-21 and I shortened sail and the boat heeled less and sailed faster. It was still drizzling and trying to be sunny but never succeeded all day. However the wind started to die and I added some engine power and soon had to change direction so that the wind, which was dying even more, was directly aft, so after much flapping, we put the sails away and motored. We deliberately went slowly so as not to arrive too close to low water as it was a spring tide. We got to Pornic just after 1400 and had plenty of water going in. We were directed to a berth right over the far side of the marina for one night, which was quite a walk to the Capitainerie. We settled into B1 – 26 – East side and Julia cooked eggs benedict. We then walked out, paid our mooring fees and walked the 20 minutes into town along the coast path. It was very touristy with lots of expensive houses overlooking the coast. We only had one day and so we took Le Petit Train tour of the town which was fabulous and showed us everything. We then walked back with it continuing to drizzle. We got back and chilled. Just as we were preparing dinner, Simon and Lesley from Smooth Torque appeared – apparently they were here in the marina, so we invited them in for drinks and that was nice. After they left I cooked up some fish with some veg that Julia had prepared. It was quite late by now, so early bed.

Pornic to Piriac

Friday 01 September 2023

It was grey and then started to rain a lot as we got going. The forecast was for a south or south westerly but classically as we came out, it stayed in the nose – north westerly - and the sea state was worse than expected and then it rained and rained. It became torrential – the most rain I have ever seen aboard, so it was not pleasant for the first couple of hours. After about 2. 5 hours, it settled a little and we were able to sit out a bit, but then it got rolly again. I went back down below. After about 3. 5 hours, the wind died completely and the sun came out with blue skies! What a day. We deliberately went slower than usual as we needed the tide to rise sufficiently at Piriac for us to get in over the sill. We arrived and were the second boat in, and after radioing ahead were greeted by a boat boy and ushered to a port side to mooring on D pontoon. We got settled in and chilled and then went for a walk to select a restaurant for Saturday and had a drink overlooking the port. We then came back to the boat and Julia cooked gesiers with salad and we watched a Netflix movie – Last Night in Soho, which was different from recent movies which have tended to be bam, smash, wow. This one was not like that and we enjoyed it.


Saturday 02 September 2023

We slept in as I was especially tired. We had coffee and then went off to the market which was a good one. We bought provisions for the next few days and had a drink in a bar a bit closer to the boat. We then had lunch and then got the bikes out and cycled to Carrefour and loaded up with water bottles. It had been grey most of the day with the odd sunny interval, but it then brightened up and got warm. We did two wash loads and went into town to do some shopping. Julia bought a dress and a sparkly jumper, and I bought a new shirt. We then chilled on the back of the boat and I had a shower. Then we went into town to a restaurant Au 17 Bis, which was lovely. We both had smoked salmon for starters, and entrecote steak with frites, followed by ‘coup colonel’ – lemon sorbet with vodka. We came back and started to watch another Netflix movie – Stillwater, but were too tired to finish it so we’ll finish that tomorrow.

Sunday 03 September 2023

A bright sunny, blue skies start to the day, and it just got hotter and hotter reaching 31 degrees at lunchtime. We had a lazy morning and got on our bikes at 1130 and cycled to La Turballe where our friends Duncan and Elisabeth on Bimble (they were moored in La Turballe) had booked a lunch table at a restaurant called La Taverne des Pecheurs, where we sat upstairs in the shade. I had a camembert salad which was mainly cheese, Julia had a house tomato salad with Burrata and Duncan and Elisabeth had moules frites. All washed down with rose and red wine. It was lovely. We went back to Bimble for drinks and then we cycled back. It was hot. We sunbathed on the back of the boat and I marinaded some rumsteak we bought at the market yesterday and made that into brochettes with onions. Julia cooked up some mange tout and mushrooms and I BBQ-d the meat and we had a tasty dinner. We then sat out looking at the sunset and rang my mum, who was in good form, James – about to go back to school tomorrow ( he is a primary school teacher) and also Ed who we haven’t spoken to for a while, so we had some good catch-ups. When the sun went down we watched the end of the movie Stillwater and went to bed with the fans on and all hatches open.

Monday 04 September 2023

We both slept well and slept in. I went up and paid for another day and Julia did a big boat clean and I put the bikes way before it got too hot, as it was lining up to be another scorcher. I had some computer stuff to do and a few small boat jobs, so Julia went to Carrefour on her own, and also came back with a dress! We had lunch in the cockpit and sweltered. We then went for an hour’s walk along the coast and back inland, and then had G&Ts in the cockpit as it had gone hazy and so cooled down a bit – to comfortable. We then did a team effort dinner – Julia on one frying pan with onion bhaji and courgette balls and me with escalope of veal. It was very tasty. We then sat outside enjoying the scene and then watched a silly movie – well one more for kids – called the Witches on Netflix.

Piriac to Port Crouesty

Tuesday 05 September 2023

We were awoken by a noisy truck at 0630, and up around 0800. It was hazy but had the look of another scorcher – which it was – hot and sunny and blue skies. We had coffee and headed out into a flat calm – a very smooth sea. We left the bimini up which was a blessing as it got warmer. It took us just over three hours to get to Port Crouesty, which is a huge marina at the entrance to the Morbihan. We queued for fuel and topped up, and then were directed to F33 port side to, which was conveniently just next to the Capitainerie and the sanitaires. I had a captain’s beer and we had lunch. We then went up and paid and took a free ride over to the supermarket on the other side. A big Intermarche where we were at last able to find a few things that have eluded us so far. We then came back and chilled in the shade as it was very hot. We then prepped up some nibbles for Duncan and Elisabeth from Bimble who came over for drinks at 1800. We had a pleasant chat and then Julia heated up a lasagne we had purchased in the market which we had with salad. We had a phone call with Gina, Julia’s younger sister and then started to watch Lost Girls on Netflix but were too tired to finish it.

Port Crouesty to Vannes

Wednesday 06 September 2023

We were up at 0800 and left at 0900. It was clearly going to be another hot day, but it was still cool first thing. We motored out of Port Crouesty and round the corner into the entrance to the Morbihan within ten minutes. Having read so much about this inland sea both in semi-fictional books and pilot books it was very exciting. We did indeed get swept along by some extraordinary currents in different places, with 10. 8 knots over the ground being our top speed. It was half way between springs and neaps so not as aggressive as it could be on a spring tide. The Morbihan is vast and very beautiful. We had to concentrate on navigation but it was probably the most exciting couple of hours I have ever had in Wyldwind. It was magical. Obviously some sloe gin was consumed as is required! We overtook a few boats and must have been the first boat up the canal to Vannes and were met by a boat boy who directed us to the starboard side, which is convenient for the Capitainerie and beyond the pedestrian footbridge (open for us) into berth 66 starboard side to. By now it was getting very hot. I had a captain’s beer and we had lunch and went to the Capitainerie and had a drink in a café above there. Then we had a sleep and then walked to the tourist office. In the evening, Julia cooked sausages with a veggie bake. We had drinks outside and watched the final part of Lost Girls on Netflix.

Navigation notes: HW Navalo 0940, HW Vannes is 2 hours later: 1150.

So we aimed for the entrance at just before HW Navalo - Arrived Vannes 1045 - only takes an hour


Thursday 07 September 2023

Another hot scorching day after a hot sweaty night where it didn’t cool down until about 0300. We went to the local halls and a Casino supermarket and got a few items including bulky stuff like kitchen rolls and toilet rolls, and then walked a half hour walk up to a big Intermarche for some more stuff with a better selection. The air conditioning there was greatly appreciated. We then came back and had lunch and then took the Petit Train – the tourist train - through the town which was brilliant as it threaded its way through the tiny cobbled streets. Vannes is really ancient and has some fabulous architecture dating back centuries. We then had a drink in a bar and booked ourselves onto a ferry round the Morbihan stopping at Ile Aux Moines for tomorrow. We then came back and changed and went for a lovely dinner at a restaurant called Petit Souris – as recommended by a number of people. I had a pulled pork dish in puff pastry to start and Julia had a goats cheese mousse. I had a lamb shank for main and Julia had salmon. She had the café gourmand ( a coffee with some very small desserts ) and I had rhubarb crumble. We washed it down with a bottle of Graves. It was good service and great food with a nice ambience. We came back and sat outside for a bit and then to bed.

Friday 08 September 2023

Again another hot night not turning the fans off until 0300. We had a bit of a lie in but were soon up and playing on our computers – lots of admin and planning. Then we made a packed lunch and walked for half an hour to catch a tourist boat trip around the Morbihan for the afternoon. We ate our lunch while waiting and then it took us briefly to Ile d’Arz and then right out to the entrance of the Morbihan and then we stopped at Ile aux Moines where we sat in a bar and had a few drinks, and we briefly saw and chatted to Roger and Penny from Anjou - a boat that was outside us in St Martin. We then returned to port and walked back. Julia cooked some corn on the cob and I BBQ-d some steak brochettes we bought at the local market. It was delicious. We then watched the French take on NZ at rugby via ITVX which was a shame as it doesn’t stream well (unlike Netflix) so we had lots of circles on the screen when we didn’t want them, but it was a great match and the French won.

Saturday 09 September 2023

Another hot night, and quite a bright morning. We showered and whizzed to the fish market and had a brief look at the Saturday market but were on an agenda as we had a train to catch. We had a half hour walk up to the train station and caught the train to Auray. It was very busy. It was then a 40 minute walk down to the centre of Auray and the lovely little port of St Goustan just below. As we walked into town the pharmacie thermometer read 35 degrees. It was another hot sticky day, but contrary to the last few overcast days, it was blue skies as well as hot. We checked into a creperie called Le Yac’h where we both drank local cider and had basically an egg and bacon galette with Emmental cheese. It was lovely. We then rented a little electric motor launch, which fortunately had a bimini and took an hour’s cruise down river and back. Beautiful countryside. We then took the tourist train which showed us all the parts of Auray we would never have found and then walked back up the hill and sat in a shaded bar for 45 minutes before walking onto the station. The train was on time and we were back in Vannes in 10 minutes. We were now so hot and so we took a taxi to avoid another half hour walk. We then chilled and I cooked us up a garlic, prawns, calamari, and scallops dish which we accompanied with french bread. We then sat out a bit more and had melon, and watched half a film on Netflix before bed.

Sunday 10 September 2023

Yet another hot and sticky night, but this time it rained in the night, so I had to close all the windows and we relied on the fans to cool us down all night. We had a long lie in and then we both showered and put a wash load on. It became a hot day but at last it started to lose the stickiness. We had a chill day and did very little other then read and sit out. Later, we went for at drink on the front at Ocean and then came back and Julia cooked two corn on the cobs and then I fried us some cod and scallops. We then sat outside some more and watched the end of the Netflix movie – The Little Things.

Monday 11 September 2023

At last, a night without a need for the fans on – the heatwave is waning. We both slept well and slept in. I made coffee and then had some admin to do. Julia went for a shower. It was grey and rained in the morning, so we stayed aboard – I had calls to make and Julia cleaned the boat when the rain eased. We had lunch and the weather improved with the sun coming out and it got warmer. Later in the afternoon we did some sight seeing – looking at the castle walls, and then I had my haircut at Le Patio, by a girl called Madison and Julia did some shopping at Monoprix. She met me at the hairdresser’s and we came and sat on the back of the boat in lovely sunshine for a while. Then Julia cooked a spicy chicken dish with rice and we watched a Netflix movie – The Old Guard.

Vannes to Port Haliguen

Tuesday 12 September 2023

We were up and ready to go just before 0800. There are three obstacles that must be cleared to leave Vannes – a footbridge, a gate and a road bridge. We had been told to be ready at the footbridge for 0800. We were there but the harbour guy only arrived then, and had to open up the footbridge by hand which he did at 0815. He then jumped in his boat and overtook us as we proceeded slowly and as we approached the gate, he opened that and then jumped in his boat again and raced off to the road bridge. We continued slowly and held off until he opened the road bridge and we were free finally at 0830. It had been cloudy to start but soon became a lovely sunny blue sky day. We raced through the Morbihan with the tide under us and were out after an hour and heading across Quiberon Bay to Port Haliguen, which we reached about 1115. The harbour guy there asked us to wait on a holding pontoon until 1200, which we did and we both read in the sunshine. He came back at 1200 and directed us to a nice berth close to the showers and the Capitainerie on J39 starboard side to. We moored up easily enough and I had a captains beer, and we had lunch. Then we went for an explore and to choose a restaurant for dinner on Wednesday. We chose a place and had a drink there too. We then came back to the boat and sat out under the sprayhood as the wind was up, but it was still sunny. We then had drinks and Julia cooked us a lovely chicken satay, and we started to watch a Netflix movie – AKA, but were too tired to finish it.

Navigation notes: LW Vannes 1220, Port Navalo 1040.

Had to wait to get out of Vannes but clear at 0830 and out of Morbihan at 0945 - took just over an hour to get out

Port Haliguen

Wednesday 13 September 2023

We had a bit of a lie in and it was grey to start but soon became another sunny blue skies day. More like normal September when it’s nice. We had coffee and headed to the market after I had negotiated out winter mooring at Haslar from November through to March 31. The market was a bit limited but we got a few things and put those back on the boat, before walking the half hour walk into Quiberon itself, which is really lovely. We had croques at a nice café with beer and wine, and then caught the tourist train, which was a wonderful ride around the whole of the end of the peninsula. Then we walked to the supermarket – a big Super-U and loaded up with shopping, walked to the station where we hoped to find a taxi, but there weren’t any. However there was a list of taxi numbers and so I called us up a ride and within 10 minutes we were on our way back to the port. We sat outside for a while enjoying the sun, had a nap, and then drinks before heading out to dinner. We had planned to eat at La Base but they gave us a terrible table and ignored us, so we walked out and went a couple of doors down to Bara Gwin where we immediately were looked after. We had the best cote du boeuf we have ever had in France – it was superb, and we had a doggy bag to bring back. The potatoes and veg were also superb. I had a nice dessert of figs and prunes. We came back to the boat and watched the end of AKA.

Port Haliguen to Loctudy

Thursday 14 September 2023

A glorious blue skies sunny day with a flat sea throughout. We set off at 0900 originally headed for Lorient to arrive at lunchtime. However, looking at the forecasts, I could see that bad weather and wind was arriving Saturday for a few days. Looking at our vague plans, I knew we had to get some miles under us, so I suggested we skip Lorient this year and push on hard over two days to Camaret where we could hole up if we wanted to and we would have miles under our belt. They looked like the last two days of summer with blue skies, sunshine and flat seas, so we decided it would be best to be on the water So we headed to Loctudy arriving after 8. 5 hours and 57 miles in lovely sunshine. . It was a lovely day with us sat out in the deck chairs on the stern most of the day and we saw some dolphins, although they didn’t come too close. We got fuel, tied up and paid and hung out at a lovely little bar overlooking the pontoons drinking rose wine. It was lovely. On arrival I had cut up some pork filet mignon and made brochettes with figs and red pepper and made a marinade. When we got back to the boat, I put this on the BBQ, and Julia rustled up some potato rosti and green beans, and we had a lovely meal. We then sat out for a bit on the back. We watched another Netflix movie Super Intelligence which was very American.

Loctudy to Camaret

Friday 15 September 2023

We were up at 0630 but waited until 0715 for enough light to get moving, although we started off with Nav lights on. We headed out and the wind which wasn’t more than 10 knots but was straight into the harbour had created a nasty chop which we bounced through. We soon started to turn and things eased. We kept turning as we went right round the Penmarch peninsula and then headed for the Raz de Sein. (Pronounced Rarh) It was sunny on and off and the sea wasn’t quite as smooth as yesterday, but still very kind. Absolutely no wind or very little, so it was motoring all the way. Today we had more dolphins, and this time they came to play and escorted us for quite a while. Always a lovely thrill to see them. We raced through the Raz at over ten knots and then things calmed down as we got into the Iroise Sea and headed for Camaret. In fact, the sun came out and the sea went flat calm. It seemed to take ages over the last few miles as it was a long day, and we had to go right round a headland and back in on ourselves. We were met by the harbour master who led us into Port Notic, which is the inner harbour, and we moored up. Quite difficult as the pontoon was up in the air and bouncy and the ring at the end was too fat for our clip. Anyway, there was no wind or tide so it was all OK. We had been on the water for just over eight hours and covered 55 nautical miles. We quickly settled in and went off to pay and wandered off to a lovely bar – AR Café – just along the front in the sunshine that served Leffe Blonde. We sat outside with Julia drinking rose and soaked up what we think is probably the last day of summer as the forecast for the next few days is wet and miserable and after that we are nearly into October. We came back to the boat and sat outside and then Julia cooked a fish crumble in the oven, that we had bought at Port Halguen market along with some green beans and corn on the cob. Very tasty. We then watched a soppy Netflix movie called Love at First Sight.


Saturday 16 September 2023

As expected it was grey and raining. We slept in and then I shaved and we both showered and had coffee and finished reading the papers. I looked at the forecasts and tides and Julia caught up on some admin too. Julia then cooked us a lovely eggs benedict, and as the weather was improving, we wandered off for a walk around the place. We found the supermarket and a lot of art galleries, but the place didn’t seem to have a centre and hardly any shops. It had the usual run of tourist restaurants and bars along the seafront, but beyond that it seemed a strange town. We went into the Super-U supermarket and got a few things and importantly some more fizzy water for Julia. We then came back and had drinks and changed for dinner. We then went along to the front to Le Captain restaurant which we had selected and reserved yesterday. I had an amazing mixed grill and Julia had a house seafood and salmon special salad. Very filling. Whilst we finished our main courses, a young couple with two young boys sat on the table next to us, and the boys were very well behaved. We got chatting a bit with the kids as they were looking at different animals, and we asked how you say lama in French, to which we were told – Lama!! Anyway, we got chatting to them, and they both spoke very good English and had worked in England, and it turned out that they had come to Camaret by motorboat from Brest for a trip out and would be returning this evening. So, we ended up all walking back to the boats together and we showed them around Wyldwind before waving them off into the night as it was now getting dark. We exchanged details and note that they are called Maxime and Margaux, and the boys: Briac and Armand. We then watched Strictly Come Dancing via iPlayer which streamed OK for a change.

Camaret to Roscoff

Sunday 17 September 2023

We had decided the night before to head for Roscoff provided the forecasts all stayed the same which they did, but we had to wait for the tide as it was a big spring one and we needed it to flow the right way through the Chenal du Four. The forecasts were all the same, so we had a lazy start until just before 1200 when we left Camaret. With the expected flow I roughly estimated our progress mile by mile as 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 6, and we achieved 6. 7, 7. 3, 7. 6, 7. 7, 8. 4, 8. 2, 8. 3, and 5. 3. At times we hit 10 knots over the ground. Useful information to keep for next year. We motored all the way. Despite the forecast for thunderstorms and wind along to Roscoff, we had no wind and lovely blue skies and sunshine apart from at the entrance to the Chenal, where we had fog for half an hour. Visibility down to a quarter of a mile. It was useful for us with boats showing their AIS position, not so nice for those who don’t – I hadn’t had time to put the radar on and we were very close to two boats coming the other way one with and one without AIS – the latter coming up on us without warning. This part of the world is famous for its fog, so it was no surprise though. The last time we came through seven years ago, it was thick fog all the way from the Raz – Julia didn’t see any of the scenery or towers and islands.

After a little while in the channel, the fog cleared and stayed nice all day. A slight swell along the way as this bit of land sticks out into the Atlantic, and so as a long headland, it will always have disturbed water. Again we saw dolphins, who came to play. These were smaller ones. We covered 60. 6 miles in under 8 hours – the same as a channel crossing although we could never maintain those speeds in the channel. We came into Roscoff still in sunshine and topped up at the fuel berth before slotting into B62 port side to. The same pontoon as Gary and Sarah on Santosha, who are still here for a few days. Part of the plan was also to see them again as a nice round off as we head back. They popped along and we had a quick chat and whilst we were doing that, a huge electrical storm started over in the distance, and it started to get dark. So they shot off for Gary to watch the rugby and Julia cooked a simple quick meal of rosti potato, chicken escalopes and corn on the cob, followed by fruit, which was welcome after the long day. We went to bed pretty much straight away after that. Later in the night it rained a lot.

Navigation Notes:BREST HW 0710 and 1920BREST LW 1321 & -6 was 1320So leaving at 1200, we arrived at the entrance to the Chenal at 1300 – HW Brest -6ROSCOFF HW 2050 and the tide turns at Roscoff HW -1, so we needed to arrive by 1950, which we did.


Monday 18 September 2023

Had a lie in and we were fairly slow this morning, and the day brightened up. After coffee we took up two large loads of washing and put them in the nice launderette which has many machines. The sun was out now, and the bar overlooking the marina was sheltered, so we sat in the sun and had a drink. Then we collected the washing and hung it all out on the boat to dry. It was quite windy and we did lose a peg on one of the sheets. We then had lunch and a chill afternoon. Julia painting and me looking at the weather and options over the coming few weeks. I also noted that on Amazon, that the chair which was stolen in St Martin, had come back into stock, so I ordered that online. Amazon then offered me a free trial of Prime, and as I had intended to start it again on our return, it gives us a free month! We got the washing in just before the rain that was forecast We then went over to Santosha for drinks and a great catch-up chat, before coming back and Julia re-heating the steak from our cote du beouf which we brought back in a doggy back and the remains of the chicken satay. We then watched an Amazon movie which was for Julia more than me – Wonder Woman 1984. I was still tired from all the travelling, and had to go to bed early. Julia finished the movie and joined me later.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

We had a bad night with both of us unable to sleep in the small hours. It was quite windy too. We were up and about for 1030 as Gary and Sarah were kindly taking us to the big supermarket. We did a huge shop at Super-U and we also went to the wine and beer store on the way back. We then packed all the wine and beer into the boat and had lunch. At 3pm, we met up again on the pontoon and all walked into town together as Sarah wanted to choose a restaurant for a farewell dinner on Thursday and her favourite restaurant wasn’t going to be open that day. It had been grey most of the day and it started to rain so we dived into the central Café Ty Pierre and had some drinks, and then went on and chose a restaurant further along the front and reserved a table with a sea view. We then walked back and Julia and I prepared dinner as we were entertaining Gary and Sarah by way of thanks. They duly turned up and Julia had made a ratatouille and cooked some rice and I fried up some prawns, calamari, and scallops in garlic. Sarah brought a nice tart which we had with Crème fraiche and fruit. It was a lovely evening.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

It was very windy in the night and although it was a lovely sunny morning the wind was blowing hard. I recorded 36. 3 knots at one point. It seems to have gone full circle as we are yet again stuck in Roscoff due to poor weather as we were at the beginning of the trip. But we were right to take the nice calm sunny days to cover some miles which makes the rest of our trip easier and it’s nice to see Gary and Sarah again before they head back Friday. We both showered and had coffee and headed into town as it was market day. It was hard to stand on the pontoon it was so windy, and the market was also blustery. It wasn’t a great market and we had missed the fish van as it was closing up. Indeed, a lot of stalls were closing due to the weather. We bought a few things including a really tasty tray of strawberries, but got most of what we needed in Carrefour. It started to rain on the way back and we got into our waterproofs. It eased a little and then shortly after we got back it chucked it down pretty much the rest of the day. So it was a hunker down kind of day. We both read books. In the evening we did a team meal, with me re-heating some of yesterday’s seafood and adding some new stuff we bought in Carrefour and Julia heating up rice and re-heating the ratatouille. It was a non-drinking day, so we had a bottle of non alcohol bubbles and some fruit afterwards, with me finishing the tart left over from the night before. We then watched a lovely romantic film – What’s Love Got To Do With It on Netflix.

Thursday 21 September 2023

The wind eased but it still rained. However, it gradually got sunny, but with more rain forecast. We had a lie in and I went up and paid for another day. We then both did computers for a while. The forecast said rain at 12, but at 1215 it was still sunny, so we went out for a walk around the headland to the little chapel we walked to months ago with Gary and Sarah, and back just in time, as it then started to rain. We had lunch - eggs and bacon, and after lunch Gary popped over for a beer, whilst Sarah was cleaning the boat and he was in the way. We had a couple of beers and a nice chat and then we got changed and joined them walking into town to the Hotel Des Arcades, where we sat in the veranda overlooking the sea, and had a lovely meal. I had oysters to start, the girls had crab profiteroles, and Gary had langoustines. Sarah and I then both had duck confit, Julia had a lovely rumsteak and Gary had sea bream. For dessert, Julia had cheese and Sarah and I had a wonderful apple crumble with a hint of coconut, and Gary had crème caramel. The crumble plates were big and neither of us could finish them, but they were lovely. We had walked to the marina, and we managed to get back without rain, despite it being a showery day. It genuinely felt like autumn though, walking back, as the equinox is due this Saturday and autumn properly starts. We all had a final drink together on Wyldwind as in the morning we depart for Trebeurden, and Gary and Sarah head home.

Roscoff to Trebeurden

Friday 22 September 2023

We were up at 0745, had coffee and were preparing to leave at 0845, when we had the arrival of French customs officers who wanted to inspect our passports. This they did on the pontoon and were happy, but it meant we didn’t get away until 0855. In 20 years of sailing, we have never had that. We motored out into a rolling sea with enough wind for us to assist with the genoa, but not enough to sail with. It was a short 2 and a half hour trip to Trebeurden. However, the entrance to Trebeurden is narrow and between rocks and it was very rolly, so it was hard to steer, and a little unnerving as you could see the waves breaking on the rocks only yards away on either side. The channel was tricky to follow too! Anyway, we managed it all and moored onto an almost empty visitors pontoon port side to G28. Apart from a few spots of rain as we were getting ready, the sun had been shining all the way. We quickly went up and paid as we were there before the midday lunchtime cut off for once, and then put a wash load on as they had machines within easy reach. We then hung that out and had lunch. It then rained briefly just after 1400, so we had to bring the washing in quickly, but the rain cleared through swiftly and we put it out again. That all dried quickly in the wind and so once that was away we went for a lovely walk around the rock next to the marina and then onto an idyllic beach and stopped at a lovely bar for drinks, out of the wind but in the sunshine. Lovely. We then checked out a restaurant for tomorrow night and booked a table. They were already full for Friday. We then came back to the boat and had drinks. It wasn’t sitting out weather but lovely in the deck saloon. Julia cooked a simple dinner of chicken cordon bleu with green beans and fruit afterwards. We started and abandoned two Netflix movies that were just well – too American for us, and turned to Amazon, and watched half of a Bill Nighy movie called Living, but we were by now too tired to watch the end.


Saturday 23 September 2023

We slept well, and had a nice lie in. We both showered and had coffee and then went to collect our electric bikes from the Capitainerie. They have four bikes they loan out for free. It was a lovely sunny day. We then cycled up the hill to the large Intermarche, and did a fairly big shop. The place was being renovated so some parts were missing and it wasn’t as well stocked as a normal Intermarche. Anyway we got nearly all of what we went for. We cycled back and had lunch – I fried up some herrings with a salad that Julia made, and then we went out again on the bikes – this time heading North across the lanes to the Île-Grande which is a small island connected by a bridge about 20 minutes cycle ride away. On the ride up there we saw some lovely Breton style houses and it was lovely countryside. Just before we got there we checked out a pizza place for lunch (which I later booked over the phone for tomorrow’s lunch) and then went onto the island. It had lovely beaches and a tiny little fishing port. The sun shone all day although there was a breeze. We cycled back a more direct route and parked up at the same bar as yesterday - La Cabane Bambou’s and sat at the back out of the wind, but in the sunshine and had a couple of glasses of wine. It was quite the buzzy place with a great view of the beach. We then came back and changed and went over the road to a lovely upstairs restaurant called La Tourelle and were given a great table with a really good view. For starters, Julia had foie gras and I had a new dish for me – Praires farcies aux algues (dulce) which were Clams stuffed with seaweed (dulce means sweet) which were lovely although Julia thought they were a bit gritty. We both then had Filet de Turbot, coulis de crabe, risotto aux petits legumes – which was a turbot filet on a crab sauce with a creamy risotto with small vegetables. It was delicious. We then both had our favourite dessert – coup colonel – lemon sorbet with vodka. It was a thoroughly good meal with great service – a husband and wife team – him as chef and her out front. We came back in a happy mood as it was just getting dark. A school sailing boat came in and I helped them with their lines and we then watched the end of the movie Living with Bill Nighy and Tom Burke. It was a bit melancholy which didn’t suit our moods but a nice film.

Sunday 24 September 2023

It started grey but brightened up – again with a breeze. We had a lazy morning, but were up at the Capitainerie just after 11 to pick up the free electric bikes again. This time we set off through the same lanes but then went off a bit further before ending up at the Pizza place – Al Dente, that we had selected for lunch and reserved. We got a nice table and I had three charcuterie (three hams) and Julia had Montagnarde which had egg, ham and mushrooms. It was lovely and restored our faith in French pizzas as our previous experiences weren’t very good. Julia had coffee and I had Irish coffee. We then cycled back a different way across country but the wind was quite strong despite it being very sunny, so it made it a bit harder. We got back into Trebeurden only to discover that our favourite little bar was shut on Sundays, so we gave the bikes back and hunkered down aboard. It was too windy to sit out, but lovely and sunny in our deck saloon. I finished the book I was reading and Julia painted. We then spoke to my mum, and had a light dinner of sausage rolls, and then started watching Strictly. We stopped for a while for a facetime with Paul and Gillian and it was great to catch up with them. Then we watched the last of strictly, and Match of the Day 2 before bed.

Trebeurden to Perros Guirec

Monday 25 September 202

A glorious sunny morning, and the wind had eased. Also the forecast which had promised rain all week from tomorrow had changed to hardly any rain! So it was a lovely morning but we had to sit around and wait for the tide as Perros Guirec, our destination, had their gates only open for 50 minutes at 1500. Julia made eggs benedict at around 1130, which was delicious and we left at 1245 and coming out of the entrance was a easy compared with coming in. There was a swell outside and we made very fast progress as the tide carried us along faster than I had anticipated, so for the last 4 miles, we slowed to a crawl, and went very slowly up to the entrance and followed a Brit boat in at 1515, as we had to wait for some boats to come out. It had become so hot, we had to change into shorts and T-shirts. We picked out a port side to, 25, but were caught out by a weird current that pushed me off the pontoon, so I had to go at it a second time despite there being no wind! We settled in and I had a Captain’s beer. We then went up to the Capitainerie and paid, and reserved velos for tomorrow (19 euros to rent, so cheap compared to commercial at 25-35 euros. ) We then went for a wander and sussed out the local restaurants and bars, and settled into L’Escale, a nice bar overlooking the marina and had beer and rose wine. It had a nice atmosphere and a friendly barman. We then came back to the boat and Julia prepared a veggie bake, and when that was ready, I fried two pork chops. Nice meal which we followed with fruit and crème fraiche. We then watched a new series on iPlayer – Woman In the Wall, but I started to fall asleep so we retired.

A note on Perros marina - the electricity is reverse polarity. I was warned by the digimap site, so checked before I plugged in, and had to use a crossover connector which I carry for those occasions

Perros Guirec

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Another glorious morning. We showered and I went to pay for the bikes but left them locked outside the Capitainerie as Julia was still drying her hair. We then cycled all around the coastline of Perros Guirec and looked at the fabulous expensive houses overlooking the sea. A lovely cycle ride but lots of very steep hills and my bike did not provide much help to the point where Julia would overtake me as she had more electric assistance than mine and I was struggling. Anyway it was a lovely cycle ride. We then parked our bikes and walked most of the coastal path around the Ploumenach headland, and then circled back and we ate our packed lunch by the bikes. We then cycled back into town and had a mooch about and then returned the bikes and chilled in the afternoon. We then walked to our favourite little bar, the L’Escale and had drinks and were even bought drinks by a nice French guy who said it was French hospitality. We then booked a restaurant for tomorrow evening, and came back to the boat where Julia cooked us a lovely chicken dinner with a nice sauce, potatoes and green beans followed by fruit and crème fraiche. It was too late for TV, so Julia read and I pondered the world over a glass of wine!

Wednesday 27 September 2023

A grey day today. We had a lie in and then after coffee, we headed out to the local market and got a couple of items, but it was a small affair with a lot of clothing. We got a couple more bits at the local corner shop, and came back to the boat as it was due to rain. Julia did painting and I started a new book. We had lunch, with me cooking mackerel and Julia making a salad. Julia finished her painting and started a jigsaw. I then went up to the office and booked bikes for tomorrow. (Saves getting our Bromptons out, and the hills are fierce round here, so full size electric bikes are a better option) Then it rained and the wind blew as Storm Agnes far to the North passed us by. When it cleared, we changed and headed for our favourite little bar again – run by Lionel, as we discovered, and then onto dinner at Le Bosphore, which was a sort of Turkish grill restaurant. I had calamari in batter and Julia had feta in batter to start, and we both had mixed grill – lamb, chicken, and kofta. Very filling and tasty. We couldn’t finish the chicken, so we brought it back in a doggy bag. Back at the boat we watched a couple of episodes of an Amazon Prime series called Wilderness with Jenna Coleman and then bed.

Thursday 28 September 2023

Another grey start. Today we needed to get going so I made tea early and we both had showers. We then picked up our hire bikes at 1030 and set off to Ploumanach. It was a lovely cycle through the lanes. We parked the bikes near where we planned to have lunch and booked a table at the same restaurant we ate at some 10 years ago when we celebrated our wedding anniversary there. That was the first year we had Wyldwind. We then walked around the headland past the amazingly tight Ploumanach entrance to the lighthouse which is as far as we reached from the other side a couple of days ago. We than walked back inland into the village itself and the sun was by now peeping through, so we sat outside at a small café in the centre and had a glass of wine, and then moved on to the restaurant - the Restaurant des Rochers. We got the same table as ten years ago by the window overlooking the harbour and had a lovely meal. Julia had octopus to start and I had oysters, and we both had a large pork chop with potatoes. Julia had cheese and I had a tartelette for dessert. It had now gone grey again, but it did not rain. We then cycled back – this time along the main road and stopped at Carrefour for a few items and then cycled back down the hill and handed the bikes back. We then chilled on board. At times the sun shone, but it was too windy to sit out. I finished my book and Julia also read. We had a light dinner of crispy cheese things in the oven with salad and then spoke over Facetime to Gordon and Christine. It was great to catch up with them. We then watched two more episodes of the Wilderness and went to bed. A lovely day !

Friday 29 September 2023

We were up again fairly smartly as we wanted to get a wash load on and get some fish. The laundry in Perros is run by a lady who takes it all in and takes care of the washing and drying, and not much more expensive than self service, so it was nice to have it done for a change. It was another beautiful day with very light winds and lots of sunshine. We bought a whole sea bass and had it fileted in front of our eyes at a whopping 30 euros which we then brought back to the boat. It was so nice we decided to walk up into the town, and there we naughtily had a galette with sausage and onions, and a drink in a nice bar on the main junction. We then walked back down and chilled for the afternoon with us sitting out in the sunshine. We then walked to our local bar – the Escale (which means stopover) and had a final drink there although it was the quietest we have seen it – considering it was a Friday night. We then came back to the boat and I did boiled new potatoes, peas and fried the sea bass in butter. It was delicious and worth every penny. We then watched the final two parts of Wilderness and went to bed.

Perros Guirec to Lezardrieux

Saturday 30 September 2023

I was up at 0730, did a rubbish run and bought some bread for us to have with egg mayonnaise on arrival at Lezardrieux later. It was a beautiful sunny morning. We set off directly into the sun and I couldn’t see the narrow entrance, so Julia had to call it out for me until I got my bearings! We knew it was a big spring tide and we knew we would go slowly, but we really did go slow against the current today. We had no choice as you have to get out of Perros at the top of the tide and at that point it goes West when we wanted to go East. We averaged only 4. 76 nautical miles per hour when we budget for 6 – 6. 5, so it took us 6 hours to do something that would normally take 4. 5. Never mind though as it was sunny and a lovely sea state. Enough wind to sail, but we also used the engine with the sails as we needed every ounce of speed. We left at 0900 and arrived at 1500 into Lezardrieux at slack water and moored on the Northern side with longer pontoons. The harbourmaster thought we might have to move but it turned out he had confused a resident’s berth with where we had moored. It was by now warm and sunny and the wind had died off. We went to book the restaurant by the marina for a meal and they told us no food on Saturdays and Sundays! We have got used to France and its random days of being closed like Thursday Wednesday, as well as the usual Sunday afternoon and Monday, but this really took the biscuit! We went up to the village which was pretty but had only a creperie and a takeaway pizza, so we decided to cook on board, I then set the deck chairs up on the bow and we had drinks in the sunshine. By now the current was running and lots of boats were arriving, and we got the best entertainment since St Martin, as the current was fierce and boats were being swept all over. To cap it off a huge work boat was trying to moor near us and took over half an hour to get lined up and get in. Another boat claiming its mooring spot was next to us was spinning all over and ended up sideways across a berth. We finally retired inside as the sun went down and Julia cooked a chicken dish, and we watched Strictly Come Dancing before bed.

Lezardrieux to St Quay Portrieux

Sunday 01 October 2023

We were up at 0715 with the intention of leaving at 0815, but this would depend on the tide going slack and it was still running hard when we got up. However, we got away at 0820 as we still had to wait a few minutes until the tide began to turn. It was another beautiful morning and we motored out in no wind. We threaded through the rocks south of the Ile de Brehat and motored down to St Quay Portrieux – again with the tide against us, but not as bad as yesterday. It took four hours and we got in at 1220. We moored port side to as directed by the marina guy on 7230 and I had a beer. Julia then cooked brunch which we ate outside in the cockpit in the sunshine. It was warm and sunny and we sat out on the deck chairs at the back of the boat and marvelled at the lovely weather. We then went for a walk to see where tomorrow’s market would be and as nearly everywhere was closed or had crap beer, we came back to the boat for drinks. Julia then cooked another chicken dish and we watched Strictly and the first episode of an Amazon series – The Continental.

St Quay Portrieux

Monday 02 October 2023

It was a foggy morning, with the fog getting thicker by about 0900. We went up to the Capitainerie and paid for three nights and then walked to the market where we got a few things and also went into the local corner shop where we got a couple more items and then back to the boat for a chill day. I sat on the phone for hours waiting to talk to HMRC and Civil Service Pensions and Julia did more jigsaw. We had lunch and the fog lifted to be a warm and sunny afternoon. However, it went cloudy and so we retreated inside until around 1745 when the sun came back out and we sat outside with drinks for a while. Then we came back inside for some music and Julia cooked up gesiers (duck livers) with a salad and fig jam. We then watched another episode of the Continental before bed. A quiet day.

Tuesday 03 October 2023

It was a lovely sunny morning and we had a lie in, and then went up for showers as the tide was high and therefore the pontoons were level with the shore. The showers are OK here. We then had coffee and set off on a walk along the coast and then back through the town. It was a really nice scenic walk which we enjoyed. We then sat outside at a nice little bar - Le Poisson Rouge, which was the place to be. It was full and buzzing and we sat in the sunshine and soaked up the atmosphere. We then went to the restaurant we had chosen for this evening – Quay 911 (yes as in the Porche) and reserved a table for later and came back to the boat. It was a bit windy but slightly sheltered, so we were able to sit outside and eat lunch in the cockpit. Wonderful! We then chilled with me having a snooze and Julia finishing her jigsaw. We then sat outside again and had G&Ts before heading off to dinner. We were given a lovely table and the place filled up quickly. We both had escargots to start with (snails in garlic) and I had a filet steak and Julia a Filet de St Pierre (John Dory). It was all delicious. We came back to the boat and watched a documentary on iPlayer – Union before bed.

St Quay Portrieux to St Cast

Wednesday 04 October 2023

Not a great night sleep-wise for either of us. I was up at 0630 and Julia just before 0700. I had hoped to leave at 0730, but we waited until 0750 for enough light to get going. We motored out and threaded through the rocks and then settled on a course for St Cast. The wind went aft and it got rolly. There wasn’t enough wind to sail so another motor. It took four hours, and we went straight onto the fuel pontoon and topped up when we got there. The sun was now out and it was quite the lovely day, having been cloudy all morning. We tied up on visitor D04 port side to and had lunch. We then went and paid and had a look around the shops and restaurants, and had a drink at the Face, where we also booked dinner for tomorrow night. We then came and sat out on the back of the boat and chilled. I cooked dinner – some escalopes of veal with cauliflower cheese which was very tasty. We then watched a couple of episodes of an iPlayer drama called Black Snow before bed.

St Cast

Thursday 05 October 2023

A bright start, clouding over but with bright spells all day and hardly any wind, so really nice October weather. We had a lie in and then went up to the showers as these are the best on the whole trip. I got the bikes out, and after coffee, we cycled into town to shop at Carrefour and had a wander around. It was very quiet with a lot of places closed or on holiday. We cycled back and had lunch sat outside in the cockpit. We chilled in the afternoon, alternating between sitting outside and inside as the sun shone or the clouds came over. Julia started a new book and some painting. We then had G&Ts outside on the deck and went to the Face for our evening meal. We had oysters to start, I had steak brochettes and Julia had a burger and we shared a coup colonel afterwards. It was a lovely evening. But just before we finished the main course, we got a call from Patrick who told us he had covid and so the planned weekend at Dinan was cancelled. He did not sound well which was sad for him. We thought a bit about how we might change our plans but decided to leave it and just enjoy the wonderful evening which we did. We came back to the boat had a few more drinks and watched two more episodes of the Black Snow drama.

Friday 06 October 2023

Another lovely day. Blue skies from the word go, and it hit 27 degrees at lunchtime. We had a lie in and showers, and after coffee, we headed off on the bikes to see a possible lunch place. But when we got there, it was in the shade and they didn’t have any decent beers, so we decided to cycle down to the town and after shopping around, we picked on the Square café which had the best menu and served Leffe. We had a table in the sunshine, and both had prawns in mayonnaise followed by fish and chips. Really nice chips and battered cod. It was delicious. We washed it down with a bottle of rose and I had an apple crumble and Julia a coffee afterwards. We then cycled the length of the lovely beach front and up onto the hill at the end and viewed all the nice houses up there and a stunning view of the bay from the headland. We then cycled back to the boat and had a snooze, and then chilled in the cockpit in the lovely sunshine. It was idyllic. We then rang my mum and as we were both so full up, we didn’t bother with an evening meal. We watched the final two episodes of Black Snow which was good, Ghosts and Have I got News for you. Sadly the evening was blighted as I got unwell with a number of unpleasant trips to the toilet. Not sure what caused it as we both ate the same but I got washed out.

Saturday 07 October 2023

A very bad night with me up many times going to the loo and taking more medicine, and Julia unable to sleep, so we slept in and got up very late – both jaded. I had a lazy morning while Julia spent over an hour cleaning the boat. We have some stubborn yellow stuff that won’t budge easily. We only had toast for lunch. In the afternoon we went for a lovely long cliff path walk and then back to chill and read on the back of the boat in gorgeous warm sunshine. Plenty of boats came in which was interesting to watch although not as entertaining as Lezardrieux or St Martin. Julia cooked a simple dinner of chicken, beans and new potatoes, and we watched Strictly and an episode of Ghosts before bed. I felt better by the end of the day.

Sunday 08 October 2023

Another glorious sunny day. We both had showers and then coffee and cycled down to the town. We got some stuff in Carrefour and had a walk around the town before sitting down to lunch outside at the Square again where we had reserved a table. We only had mains – Julia a lovely turbot and me a magret de canard. I had a strawberry sorbet as dessert. We then cycled back to the boat and chilled in the warm sunshine with our south facing aspect reading and generally soaking up the unusual October sunshine and warmth. There was absolutely no wind, and we were able to watch the sun go down. Julia then heated up some mozzarella sticks with fried potatoes and a ham and potato salad. We then watched Strictly and James rang for a chat which was lovely. After that we watched the last episode of The Continental before bed.

St Cast to Granville

Monday 09 October 2023

Another glorious day. We had a relaxed start and got away at 1005 heading for Granville. It was flat calm and no wind, so Julia was able to read all the way. We had lunch en-route and got into Granville about 1430. We tied up in the visitors’ section as usual but there were a number of fishing boats around us which we thought was strange. We went up to the Capitainerie and paid and had a wander into town getting some basics. When we came back more fishing boats were coming back in, so I went back to the Capitainerie and asked if we could move further into the marina away from the fishing boats. I asked about them and he said it was their right to moor there in the winter. Anyway, he said we could move, and I came back to the boat and we did move from G62 to G38, so closer to the shore. There was still one big fishing boat across from us, but we were out of the main visitors section which was now largely fishing boats. We had drinks and enjoyed the sun going down as there was no wind and it was very warm. I then cooked confit de canard with green beans and garlic mushrooms, and we had fruit afterwards, We then watched a couple of episodes of Lupin on Netflix.


Tuesday 10 October 2023

We were rudely awoken at 0400 by the big fishing boat opposite going out, and it took us a while to get back to sleep. We therefore had a lazy morning. It was glorious sunshine and blue skies again. We headed out and put a wash load on at the local laundry place and checked out the restaurants, deciding on the Parfum Poivre – the steak place we went to the last two times we were here. We then went to the Pirate restaurant and had Croque Madam for lunch and then back to the boat for a chill afternoon. I had been monitoring the weather forecasts and it was not looking good beyond Friday and what with the fishing boats and the forecast, we decided we would make a run for Cherbourg over the next two days, which look like the last two nice days of fine weather. We have Paul and Gillian coming for the weekend, but we have asked them now to meet us in Cherbourg. We chilled and had G&Ts and then got changed and went out for dinner and both had fantastic Chateaubriand filet steaks washed down with Lamothe Medoc. It was superb. We shared a coup colonel (lemon sorbet with vodka) and then walked back to the boat. We watched another Lupin before bed.

Granville to Dielette

Wednesday 11 October 2023

We were up at 0630 to leave 0730 ish but it was thick fog, so we had to wait for some actual light, and left at 0800 into the fog. Used radar for a while and it gradually cleared enough that we could see without it. The wind was up to 15-20 knots and dead aft, which was not comfortable. I managed to get some sail out later to steady us, but it was a rolly ride and some of the rolls were quite violent. It was a mainly cloudy day with only a few hazy sunshine moments – what a change compared to the past couple of weeks. It took 8 hours to get to Dielette and we managed to just get over the sill and into the upper harbour. We were tired. We paid up and found that nearly all the restaurants were closed on Wednesday evenings, but were able to book the Hotel de le Falaise, which we remembered from may years ago as a stuffy old hotel, but at least we could eat out. When we got there, we saw that they had completely revamped the place and it was light, airy and modern. We had a great meal there with great service. We both had maki ( a kind of sushi ) for starters and I had filet mignon and Julia merlu ( white fish – cod ) washed down with a Lamothe Bordeaux this time. It was lovely, although I was particularly tired. We came back to the boat and researched restaurants in Cherbourg but couldn’t watch any TV as the internet is terrible here. In any case I was too tired.

Dielette to Cherbourg

Thursday 12 October 2023

Up at 0645 today planning to leave at 0745 ish. Left at 0800 as it was just getting light. The wind was15 ish knots to start and from the SW, so motor and genoa bombed us along nicely. As we approached the Cap de Le Hague we had to head North and the wind went more aft and it got very choppy as we got into the race. We were being bounced but still doing 10-11 knots. Then we really hit the wall of water as we got level with the Cap, and really bounced all over. I then had to gybe the genoa which was fun, and we ran downwind then, and it became extremely rolly. Things went flying down below for a good half an hour before we cleared the next major headland and the Basse Brefort cardinal mark, and then things settled down. Because we didn’t fancy sailing until it was light (although I have to coming home cross channel) we left a bit late and so the tide that eddies towards the Cap de la Hague caught us, and for a while we were only doing 3 knots. And at the same time the wind hit over 20 knots. However, clearing that cardinal mark, things settled down and we crept up to 5 and then 6 knots and were soon into the outer harbour at Cherbourg. We went onto the fuel pontoon and topped up, and then round to the visitors berths and onto P28 starboard side to, which was hard, and we needed help from the land ( a couple from another boat ) as I was blown off, but I wanted to be as near to the shore and the toilets as possible and also facing east as the forecast is for strong easterlies for at least a week. Julia then had a shower and we had lunch – quiche and salad. We then went and paid and checked out restaurants on our way to the big Carrefour supermarket. There we stocked up on beer and wine and other items, which I then pushed back to the boat in a trolley along the cobbles! Then we went to the bar above the Capitainerie and had beer and wine there. Then back to the boat where Julia reheated the confit duck left over with new potatoes and cauliflower cheese and green beans. We then watched two more episodes of Lupin on Netflix before bed.


Friday 13 October 2023

Up at 0730 for me to shave and shower as today we have Paul and Gillian arriving and their boat docks at 0800. And they duly arrived just before 0900. We had coffee and chatted and then had some champagne and I then cooked us all scrambled eggs with toast and smoked salmon. It rained most of the morning but cleared at lunchtime, so we then headed out into town for some exploring and shopping. Julia bought a jacket and Gillian bought a t-shirt, a jumper and a jacket. Paul and I did some shopping and then sat down outside at the Boucaniers bar which I have frequented many times over the years. The girls joined us and we had a merry time. We then went into the shopping centre and Carrefour, and then walked back through town and sat in another bar near the Hotel de Ville and had more drinks. We then came back to the boat for a while and then back into town for pizza at the Moulin. Julia and I had the caniballe. It was a nice meal. We then came back to the boat for music before bed.

Saturday 14 October 2023

I was up at 0800 making tea, and then Julia and I showered, and Gillian went up to the shower block. We all had coffee and then Paul drove us out to St Vaast where it was market day. It was cooler but mainly sunny. It was a great market and of course, we bought a load of booze in Mr Gossellin’s emporium and spoke to Bertrand for a while. We then drove up the coast to Barfleur and had a fantastic lunch at the Café de France – we all had moules frites. Then we drove back to Cherbourg and sat in the bar above the Capitainerie for a while, and then back to the boat for some snoozing. We then had G&Ts and headed out to dinner at the Hotel de Regence along the harbour side and had a lovely dinner. Julia and I had escargots for starters and Paul and Gillian had foie gras, and then everyone had filet steak except me as I had lamb chops. For dessert, Paul and Julia had cheese and I had profiteroles and Gillian had tiramisu. It was a nice meal with good service and we had a great time. Then back to the boat for some nightcaps and a music session before bed.

Sunday 15 October 2023

It was a bright sunny day. We all lazed in bed and Julia went up to the shower block as she wanted to do her hair, and I showered aboard. Our guests slept in a little longer, and then showered. We all then walked around to the Equipage restaurant above the Capitainerie and had a lovely long Sunday lunch. We all had foie gras for starters, Julia and I had gammon, Paul had entrecote and Gillian gambas brochettes. We all had dessert and washed it all down with red and white wine. We then went for a walk around Cherbourg and had a drink in a tatty little bar as it was the only place open, and then walked back to the equipage and had a few more drinks in a more comfortable environment. We then came back to the boat for snoozes and then it was time to say goodbye, and Paul and Gillian headed for the ferry. We had an evening of Strictly and watched the amazing Rugby quarter final between France and South Africa which South Africa one by one point

Monday 16 October 2023

We slept well and had a lie in. Then after coffee, we went and put some laundry on and went to Carrefour for supplies. We picked up the washing on the way back and put another load on and had lunch of quiche and salad. Then Julia did some painting, and I had a snooze, and we headed out again to the Police Station (Police aux Frontiers) where we were able to get our passports stamped despite not knowing what actual day we were leaving, which was a relief. We then came back and chilled. I cooked a meal of cod, mange tout and rosti which was lovely followed by some juicy strawberries we had bought in St Vaast market. We then watched the final episode of Lupin, and a documentary on the Union part 2, and early bed.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

After showers and coffee, I cycled all the way up the very long hill to the Free Mobile shop, and with the help of the staff there, cancelled my contract for my French data sim, as I don’t need it after 01 November and I can always rent another next year. It was all downhill on the way back, so I hardly pedalled and as I came into town. I had to leave the footpath because it was cobbles and there was a large group of school children walking along it, so I went on the road which was narrow because of the road works. A queue of traffic built up behind me, and so I was keen to get off onto the cycle track on the corner, but I turned 2 metres too soon, and found that the kerb was very steep, so the front wheel went sideways and I went off to the right onto tarmac and gravel. It was quite a shock and I landed with a slide. Initially I couldn’t sit up and I then saw a lot of blood from the side of my head and my hands. The car behind stopped and before I could stop him, he had called an ambulance. I was reasonably recovered by the time it arrived and had rung Julia to come to me, as it was very close to the boat. The ambulance crew insisted I go to hospital as I had taken a blow to the head, so I had to go. They checked me out and x-rayed me and gave me the all-clear, by which time Julia had taken my bike back and made it to the hospital herself, only to be frustrated by the entry system. Anyway, I made the staff open the doors for her, and I was soon bandaged up and let go, and we walked back. I did have a lot of cuts all over – both knees, my right elbow, the right side of my head and a bruise on my cheek, and both hands, with my left hand being quite bad. Gravel is not a nice place to land. We headed back and had a drink in the bar above the Capitainerie and then went back to the boat for lunch. I rested in the afternoon as the various aches and pains kicked in. Julia did some painting and we had a quiet time. In the evening, Julia heated up our “doggy bag” gammon from Sunday with some green beans and potatoes. We then watched John Wick 4 on Amazon Prime.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

It was raining hard and very windy and the forecasted gap in the weather for Friday had vanished from the forecasts, so we were a bit depressed, being stuck in Cherbourg for quite a few days and all of them forecasted rain. It didn’t stop raining all day, so we had a quiet one. I started a new book and Julia did painting. Julia made us a chicken Caesar salad for lunch. In the evening, we donned our full waterproofs and walked to the Equipage restaurant above the Capitainerie and had dinner. We both had oysters followed by entrecote. It was lovely. I had a rum baba for dessert and Julia had a coffee. It had stopped raining, so we were able to walk back without waterproofs. We watched Have I got News for you and an episode of Ghosts before bed.

Thursday 19 October 2023

We slept in again and it was another rainy morning. I was beginning to get a cold, having a sore throat and the beginnings of a runny nose. We went into town and had a nice galette lunch at the Ty Billic – we both had campagnarde. We then went to Carrefour for some shopping and walked back in the rain. It was a bit miserable. We got back and had a quiet afternoon. Julia did painting and I finished my book. We then had drinks and Julia cooked us a coronation chicken dinner. We then watched an Amazon movie – 3000 years of years of longing and a Ghosts before bed.

Friday 20 October 2023

I slept badly with my cold, and we lazed in bed. We then showered and had coffee and walked into town to check out restaurants recommended by Gary and Sarah and to see if I could get a haircut. Sadly, the nice-looking restaurant they recommended was away on holidays and the other was closed and the building up for sale. After trying a few hairdressers, I got a haircut while Julia waited. It had been a sunny morning but clouded over every now and then, and whilst I was having my haircut it chucked it down outside. After my haircut, we sat for a short while for the rain to clear and then booked the Moulin again – the pizza place for Saturday night. Having looked at the weather, I reckoned Sunday is the best option so long as the forecast stays the same. We then came back and had lunch and Julia painted, I had a snooze and started a new book. We had drinks and spoke to our friend Malcolm back in the UK, and then Julia made a chicken satay which was nice followed by fruit. We then watched an Amazon movie – The Vault, and a Ghosts before bed.

Saturday 21 October 2023

I had a bad night with the cold and that meant Julia had a bad night too. It rained hard and the wind blew all night which didn’t help. We lazed in bed, and I cautiously opened the various weather forecasts to be cheered up by the news that they had stayed consistent and that a channel crossing tomorrow looks likely. We read the papers and then had coffee. The rain and wind eased a bit mid morning, but we stayed hunkered down. I finished my book, Julia finished her painting and started another and I got a few things ready on the boat so that we could get away quickly and cleanly in the morning early. I checked the forecasts again at teatime, and they all still said “ok to go”. We had G&Ts and went to the Moulin for pizza, although Julia had a burger! I had a pizza with escargots (snails) it was amazing – never had one like that and you cannot get them in England! It was lovely – washed down with a bottle of Cotes du Rhone. We came back and watched a movie and some TV before bed.

Cherbourg to Lymington

Sunday 22 October 2023

We were up at 0545 and were away in the dark at 0620. We had a fishing boat and another yacht to confuse us on the way out of Cherbourg and the fishing boat had very bright stern lights that affected our night vision. It was quite windy and bouncy as we got going and as light came it was clear the 4-5 forecast was actually a 5-6 so windier than hoped for. We settled into the cockpit and as the wind was from the side we sailed along nicely. Later in the morning it eased and so we used motor and sail, and then an alarm went off – the engine had stopped charging the battery. This was ok, in that the batteries were charged and new this year and only had to run navigation and autohelm, but unlike normal Yanmar control systems, the wiring was all Nauticat and there doesn’t appear to be a way of silencing the alarm. This drove us mad as whilst the buzz in the cockpit was drowned out by the engine and wind noise, down below it was unpleasant. Eventually in rolling seas I lay on my back and located the buzzer under the switches and discovered that if I put my finger on it, the noise stopped, so I applied a piece of gaffer tape, and the rest of the journey we only had the noise from the binnacle in the cockpit which we only really heard as we came into harbour. The skies had been grey, and they brightened a little and then a very dark cloud approached from the West, and the wind went on the nose and it chucked it down with rain for quite a while. I dropped sails and we were only on engine. Eventually, it cleared and for a long while we had lovely sunshine, but it began to get showery as we approached the Needles and we saw some lovely rainbows. The wind had now gone very light so it wasn’t worth rehoisting sails.

As we went down the Needles Channel not only did we see rainbows but we saw the coastguard helicopter apparently chasing down a motor boat. It was not like a practice run as the motor boat was flat out and the chopper was right over it trying to cause downdraft. Last we saw, they both carried on towards the Needles. As if that wasn’t enough drama, as we came into the Lymington river, there was a motor boat on fire attended by RNLI and firemen. We found out later it was one of those expensive Axopar boats. We came into E21 – the first in on the right – our first time on that pontoon, and as we slowed, we were assailed by the alarm going off in the binnacle. Once moored and settled, I called SeaStart – which is like the AA of the water, and they sent someone around to diagnose the problem. He concluded that it was the alternator and as it was originally designed to charge only one battery, he advised we looked into upgrading it as I now have 5 batteries on board. He also went into the binnacle and located the alarm buzzer there for me and we applied the same gaffer tape trick so that we don’t have any buzzing alarms on our way back to Haslar. Julia then cooked tuna pasta and we watched Strictly from Saturday and the results program and started to watch a movie, but we were both too tired, so went to bed.


Monday 23 October 2023

We slept in and both went up to the lovely showers at Lymington Yacht Haven, which you can stand under without constantly pushing a button and it has heated floors and a heated towel rail. Luxury compared to what we had in France. Mind you mooring costs are more than double now that we are back here in England – that was a shock! We had eggs and muffins for brunch and then walked into Lymington – on a mission to buy a new jacket for me, as (a) my old one was very old and had proved not to be at all waterproof on this holiday and (b) got badly ripped when I fell off my bike. We went into Force 4 Chandlery first and the guy in there was very helpful and knowledgeable. He could have sold me the expensive stuff, but listened to my needs and pointed me in the right direction, so I bought a nice Helly Hansen one right there and then, despite there being a load of other shops to try. We moved on and went to all the other shops and actually there wasn’t anything else. However, Julia spotted a lightweight jacket which really suited me and although it was for different occasions, I bought that too. Then when we were in Quba, I bought Julia a nice top with sailing boats on it. We then were finished with shopping and went into the Kings Head where I drank a proper pint of English Bitter (Ringwood) for the first time in ages, and Julia had a rose wine. We then came back to the boat where I worked out some tides and Julia painted. On the way back we ran into Nigel walking his dog Max, and we had a brief chat, but we kept it short as we were seeing them later for dinner. At drinks o’clock we had a beer and some wine and then headed up to the Haven restaurant at the marina where we met Nigel and Suzie for dinner and we had a lovely time. They just shared humous for starters, and Julia and I had whitebait followed by Dressed crab. Nigel had a steak and Suzie had hake. It was all washed down with some nice malbec. We were last in the restaurant and after fond farewells, Julia and I watched an episode of All Creatures Great and Small before bed.

Lymington to Haslar - the end of the trip - 1172 nautical miles

Tuesday 24 October 2023

We had a lazy start, and both went up to use the lovely showers again. It was a lovely sunny morning, so we decided to go early and eat a little tide – as it was neaps, there wasn’t much tide anyway. So, we set off at 1045, and there was absolutely no wind, but as soon as we were out, a big black cloud appeared, and it rained hard with hailstones as well. This however cleared very quickly, and we had sunshine again. We went into Cowes to top up with fuel and then motored into Portsmouth and onto our new winter berth A23. So, we are still on A pontoon, nice and near the car park, but just in a different place to our regular berth of 19 years, and at a different angle to the prevailing wind. We were finally home at 1430 after 1172 nautical miles (1 nautical mile = 1. 1 miles) over 5 months and a week. It has been amazing, and it has on the whole been wonderful. We had lunch and it continued to be sunny. We had a quiet afternoon, Julia painting and me reading. In the evening Julia re-heated some chicken satay with leftover ratatouille and fried potatoes which was very tasty. Then we watched the end of the movie The Pale Blue Eye and another All Creatures Great and Small before bed.


Wednesday 25 October 2023

We slept in again and it had rained heavily in the night. After coffee, the rain stopped and we went to Morrisons for shopping and stocked up for the next few days. We then had lunch and sorted out boxes for returning home tomorrow. We had a quiet afternoon and then got changed and had some champagne to celebrate our holidays and went up to the Creek for a meal. Terrible service - no drinks for ages then we were told it was half an hour for food, they didn’t show us the specials board until after we ordered, and worse although Julia’s steak was nice, mine was chewy to the point where I couldn’t eat it. Shame as it spoiled a nice day. The manager lady was kind etc, but it didn’t change anything. We came back to the boat and watched another All Creatures Great and Small before bed.

Thursday 26 October 2023

So at last our long trip ended and we headed for home and it was a nice sunny morning although it was wet and windy in the night. We showered and I got two trolleys and loaded all the boxes before coffee. After coffee I loaded the second trolley and had to get a third one for all our stuff. We were waiting in the car park when Paul and Gillian turned up to help us home. Paul had driven my car, and Gillian theirs, so we could load two cars. We then drove home and they left promptly as they had things to do. We then loaded everything into the house and sorted a lot of things out. Julia did a quick shop and cooked us chicken kyivs and we watched some TV before bed.