Family vacation; August 6th to 26th 2023
Port Louis! Sunday morning, early rise is announced, our French friend Yannik drives to Rennes for pick up Birte at the airport. Chlothilde, the daughter of Yannik and Nathalie, was in 2020 as a guest student five weeks with us in Kiel, we have made friends with her parents. This is the fourth time visiting each other in Germany or in France.
Of course, I'm happy that Yannik takes the three-hour drive on himself; it's much easier than travaling the way by bus. He does this with a twinkle in his eye, because it frees him from going to church this Sunday. To compensate, he is looking forward to be invited to a restaurant on the coming Sunday, when our daughters will also be there. The pickup goes well. For lunch we are back at Nathalie's at noon. There is seafood as entrée, baked Breton chicken as plate (main course) and as dessert cheese, cookies, cafe, all very tasty!
At 4:00pm Birte and I are then on the boat and first need rest. "Arrive" is the keyword for Monday. Nevertheless, we make an excursion to Lorient, opposite of Port Louis. I would like to look at the submarine bunker museum, Birte a stroll through the city.
On site I find out that the museum is fully booked. Next free date: Wednesday. Bad luck, on Wednesday we already want to be somewhere else... It is nevertheless very interesting, here is the base of four French and one German Vendee Globe, or Ocean Race Team. Boris Herrmann is not there right now, but the other boats are worth a look. There are also some really big two- and three-hull boats moored here.
Birte and I meet later in the city and go to eat Galette, plus fresh cider from the barrel. A successful start to the family vacation!
Belle Ile, Le Palais! It's Tuesday, a perfect day for sailing, we cast off at 3:30pm to sail the 25 nautical miles to Belle Ile with south setting current and 3 Bft. from the west, means half wind. "Belle Ile" means "Beautiful Island", one of the longing destinations of French sailors with legendary reputation and very popular. However, at 7:00pm in the entrance to the Port, the usual signpost awaits us with the message "Full". We luckily found a mooring outside the Port, which we are allowed to use until 10:00 the next morning. We pumped up the dinghy and then go ashore with the outboard. A wonderful trip, rewarded with a great meal in a restaurant. Another tour through the lively Le Palais and at midnight we are back on board. Next morning we first move to another mooring and then at 11:30am we enter the inner bassin. This part of the Port is only accessible at high tide because the area in front of it goes dry. It is quite narrow and therefore a challenge for the harbor staff to organize this. 1 hour exit, then 1.5 hours entry, in between always closing the pedestrian bridge over the gate. At the gate stands the harbor captain: How much draft? How long to stay? The information goes by radio to his two assistants in dinghies, who then assign a place accordingly and help with mooring. Fleetwood is not so easy to maneuver, but when a dinghy pushes the bow to turn, everything goes nice and easy.
We enjoy the atmosphere in this really beautiful place and organize a rental car for the next day. The rental car is an E-car and so at least we do not pollute the environment. The island is big and to see everything by feet or bike in one day is not possible. For an exploration by bike two days might be necessary, but we cannot stay that long. Our daughters come to Port Louis.
Surprising for us is the music festival on Wednesday evening, which offers everything from techno DJ to live music playing chanson groups. Quite disciplined this is finished at midnight and so we also come to our sleep.
Here is a real party going on, We had almost the impression that all the students, who come to work in the vacations on the island, are filling the city with party life during nights.
The round trip with the rental car leads us to beautiful places in the north and south of the island with opportunity to swim. Damn, the water is cold here. I estimate 61°F. Yannik tells me later that in the north of the island by a certain current there is always very cold water, but in the south it is different. All right. The beaches are incredibly beautiful, nevertheless for a second bath the time is not enough. At 5:55pm we return the rental car. And the next day we go back to:
Port Louis! Departure Friday morning, what a fog and then the drizzle in addition...not nice, but it's no use, we have to go back to Port Louis. Our daughters are approaching and we would like to have a day to clear up beforehand. After all, it should be comfortable when they arrive. Besides, the weekly market on Saturday is tempting.
The ride will be challenging, wind is none, but fog is enough. Now the radar comes into play. What a great help, it´s not the latest technology, but superior to the new devices at close range. And that's what interests me, if I can locate another vehicle safely at a distance of 1.5 nautical miles and then see how it's driving, it's perfect for me. We arrive well!
Sunday morning then Yannik comes again with the little chance to miss church! He drives to Lorient Flix bus stop. However, we are back in time, so that this time it is not enough to cancel the church. In the evening we all meet in the restaurant "La Grande Plage", ("on the big beach") and it is a perfect French dinner.
The next day is now for our daughters to "arrive" on the boat and to plan the next days together.
Les Glenans! The cruise planning leads us to the archipelago of the Glenans, in good weather a paradise with white sand and crystal clear turquoise water, in bad weather not recommended.
Well, we have good weather. There is no marina here, but there is a huge natural harbor with are two mooring fields on the main island and many anchorages. After searching for a while, we are lucky and reach a mooring fast enough after it was left free. With the dinghy we go ashore and also get a beer in the pub. On the second largest island of this archipelago is France's largest sailing school and everywhere are training groups. The next day is beach day, before we continue in the evening with the current in the right direction still fast to Loctudy.
Loctudy, a kind of Castine, is located in an estuary and to the beautiful beach you go by boat shuttle. It is again a beautiful place, my Brittany experienced friend Hubert comments via WhatsApp our cruise progress: "These are quite exquisite ports...à la bonheur". We enjoy a beautiful day on the beach. Afterwards, we can rent bikes for free from the port captain and do some shopping in the supermarket. It is also fun!
We leave in the evening, with the appropriate current to:
Camaret sur Mer! We arrive in the morning at 07:00 and lie in the old port in the village first of all alongside a boat from Finland. Later we move in view of a threatening strong wind in the afternoon to a larger boat, but also alongside.
Roscoff! Here we were already on the outward journey, but had taken us no time for the place. That happens this time. It is the last day of the vacation season and we use the free of cost Roscoff bus for a round tour to port, center of the town, camping sites and supermarket. The town center is impressively beautiful, here the second world war has apparently not left so terrible traces. We get a good seat in a restaurant at the port and are happy that it is nice and warm in here. Although August is just half over, the temperatures and also the weather are anything but high summer.
The food is delicious, but the impression is somewhat spoiled when Elisa discovers a cute crawling worm in her salad. The salad is immediately exchanged, but an apologetic compensation, e.g. a free ice cream for dessert, does not exist. Well, it's written on the door, all ingredients are "organic" .....
Next port is Saint Malo! Again calm, again a long day under engine. In the meantime I have routine in route calculation so well out that the current helps us beautifully. We arrive at 10:40pm in time to the perfect high tide in Saint Malo. Saint Malo is one of the places in the world with the most high tide of up to 40ft. It is already dark and the entrance is really exciting with the many lights on the countless rocks, but we find a super berth and celebrate our arrival until after midnight. The absolute highlight of the day is the encounter with a huge group of dolphins, which together with birds and tuna obviously found a "feast" of fish to eat. The dolphins come to us of course and accompany us for a while, we nevertheless turn around and sneak engineless to the feeding area. Here even some tunas jump out of the water. An unforgettable event to the soon end of the family cruise.
The highlight in Saint Malo is the meeting the second French family we are friends with. Sylvie and Stephan have actually been in contact with us for weeks and follow our trip with great interest. Their daughter Lili was an exchange student with us in Kiel for three months, our daughter Elisa was here for three months and was in Lili's class at the boarding school in Rennes during that time. Also Lili's parents have already visited us in Kiel! A very nice reunion, which we celebrate properly with a traditional galette meal in the restaurant around the corner. We are in the marina Les Bas Sablons and in the next bay, only five minutes away, are some really good, inexpensive French restaurants, away from the tourist crowds of Saint Malo! In general, this suburb Saint-Servan is worth seeing. A good choice, especially since we had lived in a vacation apartment directly in Saint Malo during our last visit and had already seen everything there. Here is, also just 5 minutes away, the 39-45 memorial; a bunker complex built by the Germans during the occupation of the old fortress. Visitation is guided and I'm lucky, just a five minute wait and off we go. What a madness, what was built here indestructible for all future in up to 14 meters depth into the earth....good that it has come differently!
The next day we meet Petra, Diethard and son Max who are on vacation in Saint Malo. Diethard will sail back to Kiel, Birte and Elisa will drive back by car. Lea will go to Spain by bus.
But before that, my birthday is celebrated together with everyone. There is "Le Point Zero" with the Bar Éphémère, a beer garden with life music and small gastronomy: beer, wine, Aperol, Moules et Frites and some self-brought tastes great. The end is then with gin and tonic on board.
The French give me a book about the bay of Saint Malo, dreamlike pictures; also here I would like to go again!
Unfortunately, it is not enough time, tomorrow begins the return trip with a detour to the Channel Island of Jersey and our third man is waiting for us on Tuesday in Cherbourg. We still want to sail to England. Of it then in the next report from board.
A bit of statistics :
297 nm on 7 sea days, mostly calm, 45 hrs. motor (minus harbor maneuvers) corresponding to approx. 200 nm under motor
Again some minor problems with the electrical system, this time 12 volts, and again the control lights of the switches, everything is now 27 years old. Of this, in the separate technology report.
Very positive: the engine, which was overhauled in 2017 and serviced again in the workshop in 2022, runs smoothly and without problems.